No fooling, North Little Rock basketball honored at state capitol

Every sports season starts with a checklist.

  • Stay healthy

  • Win games

  • Win the conference championship

  • Win the state championship

North Little Rock boys basketball, checked all those boxes this past season and then added some more:

  • Celebratory meal at Golden Corral

  • Be honored by the state’s House of Representatives

  • Be honored by the state Senate

  • Meet and visit with the governor.

That was the case last Thursday, April Fool’s Day, when coach Johnny Rice and his team loaded up on carbs with a feast at Golden Corral, then it was off to the state capitol.

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There, the first stop was the House where representatives Carlton Wing and Jamie Scott read a resolution in the team’s honor.

Then it was a stop at the Senate where Senator Jane English also read a resolution in the team’s honor. English is no stranger to North Little Rock High School athletics. Her granddaughter, Sydney Parr, was a star softball player for the ‘Cats and then played four seasons of college softball at the University of Arkansas.

The last stop was a visit with Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who Rice said spent about 30 minutes talking with the players.

Hutchinson said on Twitter, “the pandemic caused additional challenges this year, and these young men were still able to overcome on their way to victory” and then offered his congratulations.

The governor is very much a basketball fan and hoops runs in the family. One grandson, Asa IV, now plays at Drury University in Missouri and another, Abel, is a rising senior at Bentonville High School.