Maumelle headed back to the finals

HOT SPRINGS -- In the last 5A-Central game of the year, it was Maumelle that prevailed against Sylvan Hills, 70-64, on Monday night in the semifinals of the 5A boys state tournament.

The win moves Maumelle into the finals against Jonesboro, the 5A-East champ, at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the final high school basketball game of the year at Bank OZK Arena in Hot Springs.

The Hornets outlasted a sterling second half effort from Nick Smith of Sylvan Hills. Smith, one of the top players in the country, was held to just two points in the first half. The junior guard turned up the jets in the second half as he finished with 31 points.

Maumelle junior guard Carl Daughtery Jr. led the Hornets with 19 points, while junior forward Nico Davillier had 13, senior guard Josh Denton added 12 and senior forward Darvis Rasberry had 11 in a very balanced effort for the Hornets. Maumelle is now 20-5 on the season.

Sylvan Hills (24-4) got back into the game behind a heavy defensive press that gave Maumelle fits even getting the ball inbounds. 

But the bump Maumelle had after a 22-10 first quarter was too much for Sylvan Hills and Smith to overcome. 

Jonesboro got to the finals after they thumped Little Rock Parkview, 58-40, on Monday afternoon. 

Despite being in the same conference, this was just the second time Maumelle and Sylvan Hills have played this season. Maumelle lost to the Bears, 73-61, on Feb. 9 and the second game of the conference round-robin was called off due to Covid-19 concerns. Then Maumelle lost to Parkview in the conference tournament semifinals to give the Hornets the No. 3 seed going into the state tournament.

Since Maumelle opened in 2011, this will be the third finals appearance for coach Michael Shook and the Hornets. They are still chasing that elusive state title as Maumelle lost both previous games.

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