HOT SPRINGS — It was a busy day of basketball but an extraordinarily successful one as North Little Rock won both the boys and girls state championships last Thursday at the Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs.
In doing so, North Little Rock became the first high school in Arkansas to win boys and girls basketball and football state championships in the same school year.
Sportswriter Leland Barclay said that night, “definitely the first time” one school had done so while Walter Woodie, a prep historian and sportswriter, said, “The closest is Harrison, which won football in 1999, won girls basketball and lost in the Boys Final to Hot Springs Lakeside in 2000.”
Woodie added,”If nothing else, it is the first time a school has lost all three finals, then won them the next year.”
North Little Rock lost all three state title game appearances last school year with losses to Fayetteville in football and girls basketball and then Fort Smith Northside in the boys basketball.
In the first game of the day last Thursday, North Little Rock defeated conference rival Conway, 66-49, as Demyla Brown was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Brown scored 17 points and pulled down 6 rebounds.
It was North Little Rock’s second title in three years for coach Daryl Fimple.
In the very next game, North Little Rock defeated Fort Smith Northside, 64-51, in another matchup of conference rivals.
North Little Rock’s Moses Moody, who is being recruited by Arkansas among others, was named the game’s MVP after a 16 point, 6 rebound night for the sophomore guard.
Collin Moore led all scorers with 22 points and also pulled down 13 rebounds for North Little Rock. Moore is also a college recruit and is a junior.
Northside’s Isaiah Joe, who has signed with Arkansas and was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year that morning, finished his high school career with 15 points.
North Little Rock coach Johnny Rice, in just his sixth season at the school, has now led his squad to five state title game appearances and winning four of those games.
It wasn’t just North Little Rock that got into the state championship action as Central Arkansas Christian capped off a remarkable 36-1 season with a win against rival Riverview, 68-57, in the last game of the night on Friday.
CAC senior guard Christyn Williams, the high school girls player in the country, was the game’s MVP after scoring 42 points in the win.
Williams has signed with the University of Connecticut and was named the Naismith high school Player of the Year that morning. She will play in the McDonald’s All-America game in Atlanta later this month.