Little Rock’s Hall High fell to the nation’s No. 1-ranked high school team last night 60-45, which got me thinking how many other Arkansas basketball teams have actually had a shot at the national top dog before.
Most previous occurrences happened in the 1980s at Pine Bluff’s King Cotton Classic, which was the nation’s top prep basketball tournament in the winter. Indeed, ESPN’s first televised regular-season high school game was the 1987 King Cotton title game. The following articles are from the Arkansas Gazette.
1. Jan. 5, 1986
PINE BLUFF _ Flint Hill of Oakton, Va., really made sure pesky Pine Bluff wouldn’t stage their third upset comeback in the King Cotton Classic. The result: Flint Hill by 21-0 with 2:31 left in the first period. By the time it was officially over, the high-flying Falcons had disposed of the Zebras by 91-60 to wear the new King Cotton crown. Flint Hill, now 10-0, came with no intention other than to blow the Zebras away before a crowd of 4,700. The Zebras were no match. Using a killing full-court press, Flint Hill made mincemeat of the Zebras. The Falcons did it all and Pine Bluff destructed.
Pine Bluff committed 10 turnovers in the first quarter, and the Falcons turned most of them into layups. Sam Jefferson, the Falcon’s 6-10 center, established the inside domination by scoring the first five points. Pine Bluff’s Michael Mc Cray, who ignited the Zebras’ late comebacks, picked up three fouls with 4:44 left in the first period. The crowd cheered when sophomore Andra Sims scored on a layup at 2:17 and booed at 3:46 when Robert Pearson’s would-be basket was disallowed on a charging foul. Flint Hill led by 27-8 after the first eight minutes by 46-25 at the half and by 66-43 entering the final period. Dennis Scott, a multi-talented 6-6 junior, who was named tourney’s Most Valuable Player, finished with a game-high 28 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Jefferson had 15, Richard Berry 12 and Brian Domalik 10. Domalik, a 6-0 point guard, also had eight assists and five steals. Pine Bluff, 5-5, was led by Sims’ 23 points and seven rebounds. Officials announced after the game that the Falcons would return to defend their crown.
It’s the end of week 2 of conference season, and time again to serve up some Friday previews for big 6A and 7A games featuring central Arkansas teams.
Parkview (14-2, 2-2) @ Jonesboro (15-2, 3-1)
On Tuesday, Parkview beat Searcy 73-24 while Jonesboro lost to Jacksonville 68-41. Check out video highlights from that Parkview win here. Go to the video section on the page’s right side, scroll to the bottom and click “View Next 4 Clips”
Both teams are strongest at the guard positions – for Parkview, Anton Beard and I.J. Ready. For Jonesboro, watch out for sophomore dynamo Kahron Ross and Randle Tolliver. Throw some sweet-shooting Jacob Gibson in there, too. (n.b. Ready and Ross were Arkansas Hawks teammates last summer)
Listen to the game here, ye central Arkansas folk who’d rather not make the drive.
And although you’re listening, you can kind of imagine you’re watching TV if you slowly scroll through the pics on this Facebook page.
Want more on this matchup and others from Friday? ARPreps.com’s David Harten, Tim Cooper ( the Democrat-Gazette’s bball guru) and I talk our noggins off in our latest weekly prepscast.
Catholic (1-3, 2-7) @ Russellville (13-4, 4-0)
Russellville beat Van Buren 58-31. Cyclone Grey Harris, who would be making a run at early-season state MVP is such existed, scored 18 points. Catholic, meanwhile, lost to North Little Rock 67-51.
Catch the game at KCJC 102.3 FM or online at http://www.kcjclive.com.
If you think the above game was low-scoring, then you need to see my new …
!!?!!?? of the Week
I repeat: 28-24. That’s the score I saw in the Dem-Gaz for the Rogers’ boys Tuesday night victory over Fort Smith Northside.
Granted, upon check-up, the actual score might have been slightly higher.
Either way, I’m voting this half-court sludgefest of a game reason #73 I will always prefer central Arkansas ball to what’s going down in the NWA:
Searcy (6-11, 1-3) @ Hall (13-3, 4-0)
Hall beat West Memphis 52-47 on the road, while Searcy lost by 49 points to Parkview.
“We came out very flat,” its coach told The Daily Citizen. “Also, Parkview came out to prove a point because they had lost two in a row, and they shot well. That’s a bad combination.
“It was already a 16-point game at the half. They kept pressing. The coach could have pulled off the press, but he didn’t. It was a statement game for them. They’re the best in the state, and they wanted to prove it.”
Cam Woodruff, a junior on the team, said the Lions were not prepared for the Parkview game. “They came out and put it on us,” he said. “We weren’t prepared mentally.”
Hall’s Hog commit Bobby Portis was featured in this KATV video this week. In his past two games, the junior center has shot 9 of 20 on FGs, 1 of 4 on 3s and 10 of 13 on FTs for 29 points. He’s also totaled 28 rebounds, seven blocks, six turnovers two steals and three assists.