Who got in? Locally, Maumelle boys, North Little Rock boys, North Little Rock girls and Central Arkansas Christian all qualified in the respective classifications.
Okay, so where are they playing? Well, get ready for a road trip, as no teams are playing close to home. For North Little Rock, they’ll be at Fayetteville High School, while Maumelle is off to Hot Springs High School and then CAC goes north to Clinton.
So, how do I get tickets? Capacity for each tournament site has been adjusted up to 50 percent per noted high school basketball fan Gov. Asa Hutchinson last week as he lessened Covid-19 restrictions. So, more tickets will be available but none will be sold at the door and they have to be purchased online and your smartphone shone at the door. The link for the tickets can be found by clicking here and find the game you want to attend. Each ticket is $6 and AAA passes will be accepted at the door, unless the arena has reached its 50 percent capacity.
Online tickets won’t be sold until the day before the scheduled game. Maumelle and CAC both play on Thursday, while North Little Rock boys have a bye and won’t play until Friday. North Little Rock girls won on Tuesday, and will now play on Friday as well. If you do go, you’ll need to have a mask and it must be worn at all times while inside the arena.
I can’t go, can I still watch? Yes! Download the AAA’s app and you can stream the game on your phone or tablet. If you don’t want the app, games will also be streamed at https://www.aaascoreboard.com/ As this is being updated, the Russellville-Hot Springs game is going in the background and the broadcast quality is pretty good with on screen graphics for the score and the clock. The 5A tournament games in Hot Springs will also be streamed on the Natural State Sports YouTube channel here. So if you’ve already subscribed and have gotten used to watching the Hornets on YouTube, that’s another option.
So, what are the teams’ chances?
North Little Rock boys have just two losses this season, both to Little Rock Central and Johnny Rice’s bunch is deep and talented. Guard D.J. Smith is fun to watch and a dynamic scorer, as is Tracy Steele Jr. There’s also serious size up front with Ka’lel Ware and Ubong Etim. Ware is just a junior and a top prospect as Arkansas has an incredible class of high school underclassmen. Etim has already signed with Bowling Green.
Another team to watch is Maumelle. They’ve got a tough draw with Marion in the first round as the Patriots have just three losses on the season, but Maumelle’s Carl Daughtery Jr., Josh Denton and Darvis Rasberry are one of the state’s best backcourts and will keep the Hornets in the game regardless. They could potentially see 5A-Central rival Sylvan Hills in the semifinals.
North Little Rock girls are also solid this season and Daryl Fimple has a way of getting the best out of his team come tournament time, so it wasn’t a surprise that they beat Bentonville West handily in the tournament opener on Tuesday. They now move on to face Bentonville at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
CAC is a bit of a wild card. Today’s opener against Cedarville, 16-11, looks to be winnable. If that was the case, the Mustangs would advance to the quarterfinals and get the winner of Drew County Central and Harding Academy on Saturday.
The reason why they call this time of the year March Madness is that anything’s possible.
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