Basketball: Winners take all for Pulaski County schools

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High School state championship week is here and while there’s still semifinals to be played Monday night, it has been an impressive boys basketball run for schools in Pulaski County.

In the 6A finals that will be played on Thursday, it is an all-county affair as Little Rock Central goes up against North Little Rock. The two schools play in the same conference and North Little Rock only has two losses, but both to Central.

In the 5A semifinals, Jonesboro beat Little Rock Parkview, while Maumelle defeated Sylvan Hills.

So there’s a guaranteed state champion from Pulaski County in 6A, and teams from the county up for the title in 5A with Maumelle and Mills in 4A. The Comets were co-champs last season.

Historically, that’s about right as Pulaski County schools have dominated.

Since 1990, schools from Pulaski County have claimed 53 state championships, mostly in the state’s two largest classifications.

In those 40 years, there’s been nine public school champions and all the county’s private schools, but Central Arkansas Christian, have also claimed state basketball championships for a total of 15 schools that have at least one trophy.

The only public school still open in that time frame that didn’t win a championship is Oak Grove/Maumelle even though the Hornets have had a remarkable run of success in basketball since the school opened in 2011. Over the last 10 seasons, Maumelle has made the state tournament nine years, played for the title back-to-back in 2015 and 2016, made the semifinals in back-to-back years in 2020 and this year. They’ll be going for that elusive ring at 7 p.m. on Saturday against Jonesboro in the final high school game of the year.

Little Rock Southwest opened this year and is the result of the consolidation of McClellan and Fair but those two schools combined for a total of four state championships.

The only schools not really in the mix for titles have been the various charter schools that have opened in the last decade or two.

Even in last year’s topsy-turvy state finals that mostly ended up being cancelled because of Covid-19 concerns, Pulaski County was still well-represented as Central, Jacksonville and Mills were all declared co-champs in their respective classifications.

In the last 40 years, there’s only been eight years where no Pulaski County school didn’t win a title.

Most recently it was 2019, but the late 80s and early 90s saw some rough patches with a three-year drought from 1989 to 1991 and a two-year span in 1985 and 1986.

Of those 53 titles, Little Rock Parkview has claimed 11 to lead the pack but Little Rock Hall isn’t far behind with 10.

Overall, North Little Rock will be playing for its 15th state title, while Central will be up for its 20th.

Pulaski County schools and their titles

  • Parkview, 11

  • Little Rock Hall, 10

  • Baptist Prep, 6

  • North Little Rock, 4

  • Little Rock Central, 3

  • Little Rock Fair, 3

  • Mills, 3

  • Jacksonville, 3

  • Episcopal Collegiate, 3

  • Pulaski Academy, 2

  • Pulaski Robinson, 1

  • Sylvan Hills, 1

  • Little Rock Catholic, 1

  • Little Rock Christian, 1

  • Little Rock McClellan, 1

Year-by-year since 1980

  • 2020 - LR Central, Conway co-champs, Jacksonville, West Memphis co-champs, Mills, Magnolia co-champs

  • 2019 – None

  • 2018 – North Little Rock, LR Parkview, Baptist Prep

  • 2017 – Mills, Baptist Prep, Episcopal Collegiate

  • 2016 – LR Parkview, Arkansas Baptist

  • 2015 – North Little Rock, LR McClellan, Episcopal Collegiate

  • 2014 – North Little Rock, Episcopal Collegiate

  • 2013 – North Little Rock, LR Hall, Jacksonville

  • 2012 – LR Hall, LR Parkview, Sylvan Hills

  • 2011 – LR Hall, LR Parkview 

  • 2010 – LR Hall, LR McClellan

  • 2009 – Arkansas Baptist

  • 2008 – LR Catholic, LR Hall 

  • 2007 – None

  • 2006 – LR Parkview

  • 2005 – LR Christian

  • 2004 – Mills

  • 2003 – LR Fair, Pulaski Academy

  • 2002 – LR Parkview,  Pulaski Academy

  • 2001 – LR Hall

  • 2000 – LR Fair

  • 1999 – LR Central, Arkansas Baptist

  • 1998 – LR Parkview 

  • 1997 – Arkansas Baptist

  • 1996 – LR Fair

  • 1995 – LR Parkview

  • 1994 – None

  • 1993 – LR Parkview

  • 1992 – LR Parkview

  • 1991 – None

  • 1990 – None

  • 1989 – None

  • 1988 – LR Parkview

  • 1987 – Pulaski Robinson

  • 1986 – None

  • 1985 – None

  • 1984 – LR Hall

  • 1983 – LR Hall

  • 1982 – LR Hall

  • 1981 – LR Hall

  • 1980 – LR Central

State Finals set

The Arkansas Activities Association announced the schedule for state championship games in Hot Springs.

It will be three days of games starting this Thursday and continuing through Saturday.

Each day will feature four games, with the first starting at 10 a.m., followed by another at 1 p.m., then 4 p.m. and finally 7 p.m.

The day-by-day follows:

Thursday

  • 6A Girls | Fort Smith Northside vs. Fayetteville, 10 a.m. 

  • 6A Boys | Little Rock Central vs. North Little Rock, 1 p.m. 

  • 1A Girls | Rural Special vs. Norfork, 4 p.m. 

  • 1A Boys | Greers Ferry West Side vs. Viola, 7 p.m.

Friday

  • 2A Girls | Melbourne vs. Salem, 10 a.m.. 

  • 2A Boys | Marianna vs. Caddo Hills, 1 p.m.

  • 3A Girls | Mayflower vs. Centertpoint, 4 p.m.

  • 3A Boys | Harding Academy vs. Mayflower, 7 p.m.

Saturday

  • 4A Girls | Harrison vs. Farmington, 10 a.m. 

  • 4A Boys | Morrilton vs. Mills, 1 p.m.

  • 5A Girls | West Memphis vs. Jonesboro, 4 p.m.

  • 5A Boys | Jonesboro vs. Maumelle, 7 p.m.