Currently possessing a 4-1 record, North Little Rock returns two starters from last year’s 7A state runner-up team. Those two guys have yet to play but the Charging Wildcats are rolling along with a nucleus of guys who did play last year and the contribution of sophomores.

Junior guard/forward Collin Moore and junior guard Shawn Fudge are the returners from last season. Moore is dealing with a broken foot while Fudge has a medical condition from which he hasn’t been cleared. Senior guard Ray Fresh played last year and is providing the senior leadership. Junior point guard Decorey Watkins is also contributing experience. Several sophomores have been playing and include Otis Jordan, Spencer Simes and Moses Moody, and senior Justin Thrower is also getting playing time.

Moody is considered one of the top prospects in the state, and has already been offered a scholarship to the University of Arkansas, among others.

“We are extremely young and have a sophomore as our leading scorer,” Rice said. “We’ll play five guards, and we have speed and will get out fast. We’ll get after it defensively which is our best offense. If the game is slowed down, it is not in our favor.”

Rice is also awaiting the return of Miles Moody, the brother of Moses, from an injury. A senior point guard transfer from Little Rock Parkview, Moody is expected to dress out Thursday when North Little Rock plays in the Bulldog Classic in Fayetteville. Meanwhile, Moses has been the leading scorer and is averaging 22-24 points a game.

“I’ve had teams in the past where we had all big guys and all guards,” Rice said. “I would rather have all guards than no guards. Teams with big guys will also have to figure out how to guard us.”

North Little Rock’s lone loss was a 68-66 setback to Jonesboro last Saturday in the finals of the Barry Pruitt Hurricane Classic. Those two teams historically have close game, and that contest was no different. The two met in a benefit game at North Little Rock, and the Wildcats won at the buzzer.

Rice feels like the Wildcats are ahead of where they were this time last season. The turning point last year was the Bulldog Classic. North Little Rock went 1-2 in that tournament and after that lost two more games the rest of the season.

“Right now, we are fine-tuning and making adjustments here and there,” Rice said. “We’re not great at everything but we’re not bad either. We need to control the tempo and shoot from the perimeter. We are working hard and together.”

The Wildcats meet Harrison on Thursday in the Bulldog Classic. They could also face Jacksonville or Fayetteville with Conway and a team from Kansas City on the other side of the bracket.