After a 78-74 overtime loss to Conway last Tuesday, the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats wasted no time bouncing back at Fort Smith Southside last Friday.
Junior Collin Moore piled up 25 points as the Wildcats (13-4) cruised to a 71-44 victory over the Mavericks. The win moved Northside to 2-1 in the 7A-Central and in a three-way tie for second.
“We played really well and jumped out on them early,” North Little Rock Coach Johnny Rice said. “We also shot the ball well and that helped.”
North Little Rock was scheduled to play Little Rock Catholic on Tuesday, but that contest was cancelled because of inclement weather. The game will be made up Tuesday, Jan. 30. This Friday, the Wildcats meet Fort Smith Northside, which is a rematch of last year’s 7A state title contest.
Currently, the Bears (12-5) lead the conference with a 3-0 mark and have wins over Catholic, Central and Bryant. Central is the only common opponent between North Little Rock and the Grizzlies, though Northside was supposed to face Conway on Tuesday.
Northside has Arkansas signee Isaiah Joe, a 6-foot-4 guard who helped the Grizzlies defeat North Little Rock to win the 7A state title last year. An addition to Joe at Northside this year is 6-9 sophomore Jaylin Williams.
“He is the biggest player in our conference,” Rice said. “The kids talk about the rematch, but they are different than last year and we are different than last year.”
While Williams’ height could be a matchup problem for the Wildcats, North Little Rock’s small size could be a matchup for the Bears. One thing the Wildcats can’t do is get off to a slow start like they did at home against Conway.
“We usually get off a good start, and that was the first time we struggled,” Rice said. “This is a big game and special being at home.”
Next Tuesday, North Little Rock travels to Bryant.