How Khassidy Warr handled her first starting role for Northside's girls in 6A quarterfinal

Buck Ringgold
Fort Smith Times Record

FAYETTEVILLE - All season long, Khassidy Warr came off the bench and helped provide some minutes and a few points here and there for Northside's girls.

Thursday morning, Warr was pressed into a different role - starter. But she handled it in magnificent fashion.

Warr led the Lady Bears in scoring for most of the game and finished with 15 points as the Lady Bears defeated Springdale Har-Ber, 62-50, in the 6A state quarterfinals at Fayetteville High School.

"She's been like, 'Coach, I like coming off the bench,'" Northside coach Rickey Smith said. "But she may have to lose that battle from now on; she played really well."

A 5-foot-9 junior, Warr was pressed into the emergency start after senior guard Jalyn Ford missed the game due to illness. Smith told Warr her new assignment right before tip-off.

"He told me when we were in walk-through, and I didn't know anything was going to happen until he told me, so I knew I just had to come prepared," Warr said. "Yes, I was nervous, especially since this was my first state tournament, and I knew there was a lot of pressure that came with that."

If Warr was nervous, she didn't show it.

She gave the Lady Bears an early lift, leading the team with seven points at the end of the first quarter, including a 3-pointerto push Northside's lead to 12-5.

Har-Ber came back to go in front early in the second quarter, but the Lady Bears regained momentum with a 14-2 run to end the first half. Warr finished that half continuing to lead her team in scoring, having 10 points. In contrast, the Lady Bears' top two scorers, seniors Jersey Wolfenbarger and Tracey Bershers, combined to score 10 points.

Warr admitted she was very surprised she was the team's leading scorer at the half.

"It really did (surprise me), because I didn't expect it until my sister (Khamille Warr, a junior Lady Bears teammate) came and told me," Khassidy Warr said. "She said, 'You're outscoring everyone.'"

But Warr didn't stop there. She added a pair of baskets, including another 3 late in the third quarter as Northside built a 16-point lead, 44-28.

"(Hitting those 3's) was definitely unexpected," Warr said. "I do work on 3's, but I'm not the kind of person that likes to shoot 3's. But I feel like when the time is needed, I'm there for it."

Warr, who also grabbed six rebounds, had held the team scoring lead until the final minutes, when Wolfenbarger and Bershers made some foul shots.

Wolfenbarger ended up leading the Lady Bears with 16 points to go with 11 rebounds, while Bershers also had 15 points, 11 coming in the second half.

Northside (24-2) moves on to the 6A semifinals at 10 a.m. Saturday against the winner of the quarterfinal between Bentonville and North Little Rock.