This story originially ran in the Press Argus-Courier on Jan. 12. 

An early lead is on the line in the 5A-West on Jan. 11 when the Alma Airedales hosted Little Rock Christian.

The high-flying Airedales are off to a 2-0 start in conference after beating Vilonia, 61-49, and winning at Siloam Springs, 71-67.

On Jan. 8, Alma scored 24 points in the second quarter and then held off the Panthers for the win after leading by as many as 21.

Tanner Shelton scored 22 points, Cejay Mann added 14, Taelon Peter 13, and D. J. George 10 for the balanced Airedales on Tuesday.

In the win over Vilonia, Peter had 18, Mann 17 and George 15.

Little Rock Christian opened with a 67-41 win at Greenwood and then beat Greenbrier, 63-52, on Tuesday.

Alma and Little Rock Christian are the only unbeaten teams in the conference after just two games.

Improving to 3-0 on Jan. 11 would be a big step for the winner toward the Class 5A state tournament, which will be held at Lake Hamilton. Only the top four teams earn state tournament berths.

As if the schedule could get any tougher for the Lady Airedales, it does on Jan. 11.

Alma hosts Little Rock Christian, the top-ranked girls’ team in Class 5A according to the latest Arkansas Sports Media poll.

The Lady Warriors opened 5A-West with a 63-54 win at Greenwood and beat Greenbrier, 70-27, on Jan. 8. They are 14-1 overall.

Against Greenwood, the big three of Amber Brown, Reagan Bradley and Wynter Rogers combined to score 62 of the team’s 63 points with 41 rebounds.

“I like this team,” Little Rock Christian head coach Ronald Rogers said. “We have some shooters and we have some inside players. It’s a great group of players. We’re playing well right now.”

Rogers is his fifth year at Little Rock Christian. Rogers led Camden Fairview to consecutive state championships in 2007 and 2008, beating Morrilton and Shekinna Stricklen, who is currently playing in the WNBA.

After Brown’s 26-point, 12-rebound performance against Greenwood, she was selected North Little Rock’s Downtown Tipoff Club Girls Player of the Week. She has signed with the University of Pittsburgh.

Alma hosted Vilonia, another team expected to challenge for conference supremacy, in the opener and then traveled to Siloam Springs on Tuesday, dropping a 56-45 decision.

Ariel Towns-Robinson scored 13 points and Cassidy Cooper added 10 points for Alma.