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From the ground up - Alma hoopsters compete at Hendrix Camp 6/7/22

From the ground up 

Alma hoopsters compete at Hendrix Camp 

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 


CONWAY — The heartbeat was the same. The intensity, in fact, might have been notched up a bit. 


But for senior Matthew Schlegel and the rest of his Alma basketball teammates, the competition far exceeded his expectations. 


And that’s a good thing. 


“We’re a young team, but this is really going to help us grow,” Schlegel said. “We’re playing a lot of good schools. Some of the best in the state, honestly. (But) we’re just getting better. Coach (Dominic) Lincoln wanted us to do this to grow.”


Lincoln didn’t back away from his first schedule last season. He didn’t this summer, either. 


The Airedales (6-19) last season matched Conway point for point Monday night in the first day of the Hendrix Team Camp, a two-day smorgasbord of top-notch programs. 


The Airedales played White Hall and Fayetteville Monday, too. 


“I feel like we’re still trying to build team chemistry throughout,” junior Branson Brogan said. “We’re seeing really good competition, and that’s going to make us better.”


Sophomore Israel Towns-Robinson was part of Alma’s first-ever (and last) River Valley Conference championship team this past season. This week, he got a taste of the big time while battling kids two and three years older than he is.


“This is going to help us move forward,” Towns-Robinson said. “We’re just now starting out. (But) I feel like we’re going to be really good.”


Towns-Robinson and fellow sophomores Miles Kendrick, Camden Curd, Cash Wilson, Carmani Smith, and Matthew Rodgers, among others, got their feet wet this week.  


“It’s a lot quicker,” Towns-Robinson said. “It’s definitely something you’ve got to learn. This is really tough, but these games are going to make us grow.”


Lincoln saw a glimpse of the future early on when Schlegel and Kendrick buried 3-pointers to help the visitors grab an early 10-2 lead 


“It’s just a time to grow for them,” Schlegel said. “It will put our program in a really good spot, that we have so many sophomores.”


“Obviously, we’re going through growing pains because we haven’t really worked together that much,” Brogan said. “I’m looking forward to it. We’ve just got to learn from each other and start believing in each other.”


Like Schlegel, the first week of June has been busy. A starting second baseman for the Airedales’ baseball team, Brogan’s summer team won an elite summer league tournament in Dallas over the weekend. Brogan hit .300 for the Airedales this season. 


He’s expected to challenge for a starting job on the basketball team, too. 


“It’s fun,” Brogan said. “I mean, it’s very busy but very enjoyable. There’s always something new … always getting to learn something new.”


Schlegel figures to be a big part of Alma’s 2022 football team, too. He’ll be involved in the team’s big 7-on-7 football tournament this Friday. 


“It’s really busy, but I’m getting better all the way around,” Schlegel said. “I’m looking forward to next year.”