For sure, the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats know they secured the No. 1 seed into next week’s 7A state tournament and play at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Conway High School.

However, they still have motivation in Friday’s final regular season game against Little Rock Central. Not only is it senior night, but the Tigers (22-2, 12-1 6A/7A-East) must win for a share of the conference title. That is provided that Jonesboro, who is tied with North Little Rock, also wins Friday.

"We have something to play for," North Little Rock Coach Johnny Rice said. "It will be exciting, and I expect the kids to play well at home."

North Little secured victories last Friday and this past Tuesday to stay in the conference race and maintain its number-one seed. Last week, they defeated Marion, 86-47. Rice said in that contest they were able to get into the full-court game early which was to their advantage. He also said the Wildcats shot the ball well. At Mountain Home this past Tuesday, the Wildcats won 77-53. Rice said that they shot the ball especially well there.

"The guys are starting to learn their roles," Rice said. "We’ve seen just about everything thrown at us, and I just hope we stay healthy."

Friday, the Wildcats face a Little Rock Central team that hasn’t won a lot of games but is very athletic. Because it is one of the biggest rivalries in the state, Rice expects a great atmosphere and knows his team will be ready.