Maxwell Takes Game To Col­lege Level

FARM­ING­TON SE­NIOR SIGNS WITH HEN­DRIX

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Humphrey

FARM­ING­TON — A typ­i­cal play during Pey­ton Maxwell’s se­nior sea­son fea­tured the point-guard non­cha­lantly drib­bling the bas­ket­ball up the court, but the mo­ment he per­ceived an open­ing — watch out.

Pey­ton scored a sea­son-high 31 points against Siloam Springs and more than one op­po­nent was caught off-guard by his ap­proach to bas­ket­ball, a char­ac­ter­is­tic ma­ter­nal grand­fa­ther Michael Mur­ray sees in Pey­ton handed down from his grand­mother and mother.

“I think they are very calm un­til they need to be ex­plo­sive, he even plays bas­ket­ball that way,” Mur­ray said while at­tend­ing Pey­ton’s sign­ing cer­e­mony with a com­mit­ment to Hen­drix Col­lege, of Con­way, to play men’s col­lege bas­ket­ball at Car­di­nal Arena Thurs­day, April 13, 2018.

“This is where life be­gins,” Mur­ray said. “I’m just very, very proud of him. I’m glad he has the op­por­tu­nity to go for­ward.”

Go­ing for­ward is what Pey­ton did best. Thrust into the role of start­ing point-guard af­ter play­ing back-up to high-scor­ing Matt Wil­son, a Delta State signee, as a ju­nior, Pey­ton be­came the cat­a­lyst of Farm­ing­ton’s of­fense. Pey­ton av­er­aged 12 points and 4.5 re­bounds-per-con­test.

Pey­ton plans to ma­jor in busi­ness at Hen­drix which re­cruited him as a shoot­ing guard.

“They play re­ally fast so they don’t re­ally have set po­si­tions,” Pey­ton said. “They want you to be able to do it all, re­bound and go.”

Ac­cord­ing to Farm­ing­ton boys bas­ket­ball coach Beau Thomp­son, Pey­ton be­came one of the pro­gram’s most-im­proved play­ers be­tween his fresh­men and se­nior years.

“The kid had some big shoes to fill,” Thomp­son said. “In a sea­son that had some highs and lows he was a con­stant for us as a se­nior. One that we can de­pend on game in and game out.”

Thomp­son said the Car­di­nals prob­a­bly played Pey­ton

out-of-po­si­tion, ad­mit­ting he is more suited to a shoot­ing guard slash-to-the-bas­ket type, a role his older sis­ter, Ha­ley Maxwell, filled for the Farm­ing­ton girls during a stel­lar ca­reer.

Pey­ton and Ha­ley played one-on-one con­stantly, hon­ing each other’s in­ten­sity — un­til Pey­ton grew taller as a fresh­man and Ha­ley couldn’t beat him any­more.

“My mom says that was very much a piv­otal mo­ment of our re­la­tion­ship,” Ha­ley said. “I’m re­ally ex­cited for him.”

The na­tion cel­e­brated Na­tional Sib­lings Day on Tues­day, April 10, and Pey­ton says com­pe­ti­tion with Ha­ley mo­ti­vated him.

“I al­ways try to do bet­ter than her, she was such a tal­ented player and her teams al­ways won,” Pey­ton said. “I worked out and stuff. I just wanted to carry on the legacy.”

Fa­ther Bill Maxwell said be­ing in Farm­ing­ton with the bas­ket­ball pro­gram has been a great thing for both kids.

“I’m re­ally proud of him for con­tin­u­ing to pur­sue this,” Bill Maxwell said. “I’m re­ally happy with the school he’s go­ing to.”

Farm­ing­ton ath­letic di­rec­tor Brad Blew re­called the com­mu­nity watch­ing Pey­ton grow up and ex­pressed ap­pre­ci­a­tion for his par­ents’ in­volve­ment.

“Heather and Billy Maxwell have done so much for our bas­ket­ball pro­gram,” Blew said. “They’ve been a big part of the booster club for a long time. It’s nice to see good things hap­pen­ing for nice peo­ple.”

Pey­ton’s fa­vorite move is the Euro-step. Mi­ami Heat NBA star Dwyane Wade is his fa­vorite player. A fond mem­ory came on open­ing night of his se­nior year win­ning at ri­val Prairie Grove, 49-40, on Nov. 27. The Car­di­nals trailed early and led 32-31 af­ter three quar­ters be­fore as­sert­ing them­selves in the fourth quar­ter.

“It was a re­ally good feel­ing to beat them and carry on the streak,” Pey­ton said, re­fer­ring to a 5-game win streak in the ri­valry since Feb. 22, 2014.

MARK HUMPHREY EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Farm­ing­ton se­nior Pey­ton Maxwell (cen­ter in orange) cel­e­brated sign­ing a na­tional let­ter of in­tent to play men’s col­lege bas­ket­ball for Hen­drix Col­lege, of Con­way, Thurs­day, April 13, 2018, at Car­di­nal Arena. Ac­com­pa­ny­ing Pey­ton was his fam­ily (from...

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