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Alma’s Lincoln excited about the first foray into Dyer Classic 12/3/21

Alma’s Lincoln excited about the first foray into Dyer Classic

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 

 

Charles B. Dyer loved nothing more than to sit on the front row of his new arena and watch his beloved Airedales. 

 

This weekend, the building named for the aforementioned longtime Alma superintendent will be home to eight games. 

 

The Lady Airedales face Paragould today at 7 p.m. First-year Alma boys coach Dominic Lincoln’s crew has an 8:30 p.m. date with Rogers.

 

“I’m really excited for the competition we’re going to play,” he said. “Rogers has been to the state tournament the last few years and I think it’s going to be a good test for us to see where we’re at.”

 

Alma finished 7-13 in 2020-21, coach Stan Flenor’s last season during a 31-year career that included a record 457 victories. 

 

But last season’s team lost seven games by six points or less. This season’s team, already 3-1, is averaging 62.3 points per game during its three wins. 

 

The team’s lone loss saw the Airedales muster just 13 second-half points in a matchup with Elkins. 

 

Rogers won 13 games in 2020-21 and held its own in the competitive 6A-West. 

 

“It’s a quality opponent with a lot of respect, and we’re going to have to play our best to beat them,” Lincoln said. “This is going to show us where we’re at as far as our conference. I’m excited to see some other teams play like Bryant and Subiaco, too.”

 

The Airedales play Subiaco Academy at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

 

Seniors Hunter McAlister (15.5 points per game) and Ben Bugaj and Stewart George have played well for the Airedales. 

 

This weekend’s two-day classic will be a reunion of sorts for Lincoln. He coached with longtime Bryant coach Mike Abrahamson before moving on to his hometown of Crosset prior to taking the Airedales job. 

 

“It means a lot to me because Mike helped me become who I am as a coach and a person,” Lincoln said. “I learned a lot of stuff from him. To see him out there and to hug and embrace him, it’s going to be a special night.”

 

Lady Airedales 

 

Codey Mann’s Lady Airedales are still trying to find their footing after going 2-1 last week at the Lincoln Tournament. 

 

“I’m definitely excited to play the teams we’re playing,” Mann said. “Paragould and Greene County Tech are comparable to our conference teams. It will be kind of good to see where we’re at early in the season. I like where we’re at, and I think we’re going to do well, but this gives no indication of where we’re going to be at the end of the season.”

 

Mann said he expects his daughter, Lydia, to play at least one of the games. The junior guard is battling back following a knee injury last year. 

 

“It’s hard playing back-to-back nights,” the coach said. “She was fresh against Shiloh (Christian), and we played really well. Then against Kingston, you could see the wear and tear on her. Right now, she’ll probably play Friday and take off Saturday.”

 

With Lydia Mann, Alma’s starting five would also include seniors Kenzie Rushing and Halyn Carmack, and juniors, Samantha Crook and Presli Taylor. 

 

Sophomores Lanie Moore and Anna Dunnaway and freshmen Jordan Gramlich and Kiara Owens have garnered significant playing time. 

 

“I’m really proud of them, but we just have a lot of unknowns — that’s why you play these early games,” Mann said. “We have some kids we think have a chance to be really good. But right now, we need to play.”