Basketball: North Little Rock claims titles

While the results were expected, it doesn’t make the satisfaction any less as North Little Rock rolled to a pair of state basketball championships last week in Hot Springs.

On the girls side. North Little Rock beat Fort Smith Northside, 60-38, to win the school’s fifth state title, all under coach Daryl Fimple. 

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Amauri Williams, who scored 15 points, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Williams, a 6-foot-4 center, has signed with Vanderbilt next season and is one of four seniors on the team, and all have signed to play college basketball

In the boys game, North Little Rock overwhelmed Bentonville, 65-47, as coach Johnny Rice won his sixth title in his 10 years as head coach. Rice, a North Little Rock lifer, just added to the North Little Rock’s  rich basketball history as it was the 16th title won by the school.

NIck Smith Jr. was named the title game’s MVP after scoring 25 points in the win for North Little Rock. Smith, a 6-foot-5 guard, has signed with Arkansas and is a McDonald’s All-American and is playing in a bevy of postseason high school all star games.

As is teammate Kel’el Ware, a 7-foot center, who has signed with Oregon. He’s also a McDonald’s All-American and is playing in that game as well as the Jordan Brand Classic. 

Smith is a finalist for National Player of the Year and is already projected as the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft by ESPN. 

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  • For a full gallery of pictures from both games by sports photographer Jaison Sterling, click here