When Carlisle girls basketball coach Jonathan Buffalo arrived at Bison Arena on Monday morning, the gym floor had been redone over the weekend, marking a watershed moment in the school year.
“It’s basketball season,” he thought.
I’m excited,” he said Monday. “I’m ready; the kids seem ready. They’re focused and ready to go. We’ve been going at this basically since June when we started practicing in the summer. I can tell they’re a little tired of practicing. They’re ready to put on some uniforms and play for real.”
Buffalo’s Lady Bison will get started with a benefit jamboree at Little Rock Fair on Saturday. At 9:30 a.m., they’ll play Maumelle Charter School for a half. At 11:45, they’ll take on Jacksonville for a half.
What does he hope to accomplish with the jamboree?
“Let’s see our competitiveness, see how we respond to somebody who’s not our teammate,” Buffalo said. “The score doesn’t matter. I told my kids everybody on the team is going to be put in a live situation Saturday. It’ll be two halves (against different teams), so it’s hard to get in a rhythm. They’ll have five fouls for a half, so it’s a slightly different situation.”
Carlisle’s season will officially begin Monday when the junior boys and girls will play host to DeWitt. On Tuesday, Buffalo’s junior girls, junior varsity girls and senior girls will visit Class 5A Maumelle and former Carlisle coach — and still a Carlisle resident — William Rountree, for whom Buffalo worked for five years.
“It’s a bigger school (Class 5A), and they’re going to have athletes,” Buffalo said of the Lady Hornets. “They’re going to be well coached and well prepared. There’s a lot of familiarity. They know what we’re going to try to do.
“I told my girls, ‘People are going to know what we’re doing, but we still have to execute. If we execute better than they prepare, we’ve got a good chance to win the game.”