SPORTS >> Players enjoy last fling in All-Metro Classic
By CHAD MATCHETT
Special to The Leader
The North Pulaski Falcons didn’t get the chance they wanted to play Little Rock McClellan in the Class 5A state finals, but were able to get a measure of satisfaction Tuesday night.
North Pulaski’s Raymond Cooper and McClellan’s Chris Threatt were head coaches in the All-Metro Classic at Little Rock Hall, with Cooper’s team coming out on top 119-99.
Each coach had three players from their high school teams, and the Falcons’ players definitely had the better night.
Kyron Ware made six three-pointers on his way to a game-high 21 points and his team’s Most Valuable Player trophy. Ware was also the co-champion in the slam-dunk contest with Little Rock Central’s Alandise Harris.
“I was really excited to be playing tonight,” Ware said. “The MVP stuff doesn’t really matter to me, I just wanted to come out here and have fun and put on a show for the crowd. Coach Cooper told us to push the ball as hard as we could while we were out there and to go get a W.”
North Pulaski’s Aaron Cooper and DaQuan Bryant were the other two Falcons. DeShone McClure of Jacksonville and Garrett Southerland of Abundant Life also had solid games.
McClure was the second-leading scorer with 19 points while Southerland? scored nine points and led both teams with 12 rebounds.
Team Threatt had more size, but it was Team Cooper that controlled the rebounding as well as being the quicker team with more shooters.
Team Cooper did have some size in 6-7 Gary Smith from Parkview, the 6-6 Southerland and the 6-4 McClure, but all three play more like guards or small forwards. Team Threatt had more traditional post players like 6-8 Jeff Drew from Little Rock Hall, 6-6 Mike Malvin from North Little Rock, 6-5 Mike Bradley from McClellan and the 6-5 Harris.
The extra size didn’t come into play much as the teams ran few set plays and relied more on quickness.
Team Cooper out-rebounded Team Threatt 39-24 in the first half and 65-48 for the game.
Aaron Cooper had the best all-around night with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Half of those assists came on passes to Ware.
Little Rock Hall’s Rakeem Dickerson was named MVP of Team Threatt with 15 points — all in the second half. Team Cooper led 97-69 with 9:24 remaining.
The players from Jacksonville and Sylvan Hills made a good showing in helping their team win 83-71 in the girls All-Metro Classic.
The victory was also the 32nd of the season for current North Little Rock and former Lonoke coach Daryl Fimple, who led the Lady Charging Wildcats to a state championship. North Little Rock went 31-0, to win the 7A title and was ranked in the national top 10 this season.
The combination of Jacksonville’s Jessica Lanier, Sylvan Hills’ Terica Kendrick and Dee Dee Lewis along with Cassie Vaughn and Markisha Hawkins of North Little Rock and Leslie Craft of Little Rock Central was just too much for Little Rock Hall coach Selita Farr’s team.
It looked like the high school mercy rule would be enacted after Team Fimple dominated the first half.
Lanier and Vaughn scored 15 of the team’s first 23 points as the squad led by more than 30 points at one point and went into halftime with a 54-26 lead.
Kendrick was third on the team with 14 points, scoring most of those in the final 10 minutes of the first half. Vaughn also scored 14 points.
“I’m really going to miss having those two on the court,” said Sylvan Hills coach Bee Rodden, who was cheering from the stands along with several other members of the Lady Bears. “A game like this is about having fun and showing what you can do and they’re both doing a good job.”
Lewis finished with six points.
Team Fimple seemed to relax a bit in the second half as Team Farr came back to make things interesting. Team Farr pulled within 65-60 at one point in the second half.
Three pointers from Craft helped keep Team Fimple in front. Craft made four on her way to a game-high 21 points.
Lanier had a solid night with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.