By Nate Olson | Tommy Land Pictures
PINE BLUFF – North Little Rock took a 26-7 lead and never looked back, putting Calvary Baptist (Shreveport, Louisiana) 77-46 Monday night at the Pine Bluff Convention Center in the first round of the King Bracket at the King Classic Cotton.
Thirteen players played for North Little Rock and 11 scored. Oregon’s senior position and engagement Kel’el Ware led the Charging Wildcats with 24 points and 12 rebounds. His classmate Nick Smith, a signatory from Arkansas, added 19 points. Senior goaltender Corey Washington had 18 points and added six rebounds and two assists. Ty Fredrick contributed seven points.
Smith and Ware make the nationally ranked team headlines, but the Charging Wildcats showed their depth on Monday.
“[The other players] are doing really well, ”Ware said. “We played well together tonight.
The Charging Wildcats are playing their second holiday tournament this month. They finished sixth at the City of Palms tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, playing some of the best programs in the country, including IMG Academy. Calvary Baptist is one of the best small schools in Louisiana, and looking ahead, the NLR could play Cane Ridge (Tenn.), One of that state’s top teams with Alabama signing Brandon Miler, and beyond, Beaumont, Texas or Christian Brothers High School.
Beaumont went 31-0 last season en route to the Class 5A Texas State Championship. CBC is the back-to-back Class 5A Missouri champion.
“It’s exciting to play with these teams and it’s great for the State of Arkansas,” said Smith. “We represent the state.
LR Parkview 66, Fort Bend Hightower (Missouri, Texas) 63
In a nip-and-pull affair, the Patriots hung on with free throws down the stretch to claim the victory in the Creed Bracket. A trio of Patriots had 12 points to punctuate the score, including Cameron Wallace, Dallas Thomas and Addison Shelton. Darius Miller added 11. Wallace took four rebounds and added three blocks. Thomas posted four rebounds.
The Patriots face Goose Creek (Baytown, TX) at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday in a semifinal game.
Goose Creek (Baytown, Texas) 80, De LaSalle (Chicago) 60
Dariyus Woodson scored 23 points and Sam Bradford scored 21 as Goose Creek scored an easy victory. The Patriots led by seven at halftime and extended their lead by outscoring De LaSalle 23-16 in the third quarter. Woodson and Bradford each took seven rebounds each. Dariyon Williams added 10 points for Goose Creek.
DaJuan Bates, one of the best seniors in the Chicago area, led all scorers with 35 points.
Christian Brothers College (St. Louis, Missouri) 63, Raymond (Miss) 54
Christian Brothers College were deprived of two starters and a head coach, but still managed to pass Raymond (Miss) 63-54 in the first round of the King Group.
CBC assistant coach Mike Cross has confirmed that coach Justin Tatum and all-star main guard Larry Hughes Jr. as well as sophomore Nassir Binion missed the game due to COVID-19 protocols. Justin Tatum’s son, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, just made the NBA’s COVID list on Monday. Cross, who was interim CBC head coach, said the father and son spent time together last week. He also said Elder Tatum could still make it to Pine Bluff.
Senior Robert Martin, who is garnering some academic interest, has taken more of the burden, scoring 21 points and distributing eight assists while racking up four rebounds.
7-foot-2, Division I sophomore prospect John Bol was 7-7 on the field and finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks.
Huntington (Shreveport, Louisiana) 51, White Hall 41
White Hall trailed with Huntington until the third quarter, but failed to make a menacing run in the final period.
Ja’Chaunn Hayes led the Bulldogs with 18 points. Randy Emerson added 10.
DeCedric Webb led Huntington with 14 points.
CBC faces Beaumont (Texas) United on Tuesday at 4:30 pm Beaumont passed Watson Chapel 66-18 on Monday. Terrance Arcenaux leads Beamont with 15 points.
Cane Ridge (Antioch, Tennessee) 62, Pine Bluff 57
Brandon Miller, a signatory from Alabama, scored three points with 56.5 seconds left to give Cane Ridge a 56-55 lead. Pine Bluff was lucky enough to take the lead on the next possession, but missed two shots. Forced to commit a foul, Cane Ridge strengthened his lead with a pair of free throws and escaped.
Miller led all scorers with 34 points and took nine rebounds.
Courtney Crutchfield, who gave Pine Bluff the lead before Miller’s shot, scored 23 points to pace the Zebras.
Sylvan Hills 60, Memphis Hutchison 52
Karsyn Morgan had a game-high 19 points to lead the Bears to a 60-52 victory over Hutchison.
Sylvan Hills led 35-25 at the half and 56-41 at the end of the third quarter. Despite being outscored 11-4 in the fourth quarter, Sylvan Hills held on for the win.
Jianna Morris scored 14 points and Courtney Savell added 11 for the Bears. Jayla Stirgus distributed five assists.