Junior Luke Moore dribbles the ball past the defense at the Varsity Boys basketball game against North Little Rock on January 30, 2024. Photo by Meredith Lipsey
Junior Luke Moore dribbles the ball past the defense at the Varsity Boys’ basketball game against North Little Rock on January 30, 2024. Photo by Meredith Lipsey

Basketball Teams Face North Little Rock

In front of an electric crowd whose passion overflowed onto the court, the varsity boys’ basketball team took on North Little Rock in an age-old rivalry at The Blacktop. Going into the square-off, both teams held matching 4-1 divisional records, which meant this game would have more at stake than bragging rights. 

Earlier in the year, the varsity boys traveled to Tampa, Fla. to compete in the Slam Tampa HoopFest. Competing against teams from all over the United States, the team returned to Little Rock, as champions of the tournament. According to captain, Daniel Culberson, the competition was a lower level than initially anticipated. 

“It was like a fun trip instead of a business trip,” said Culberson

In this match-up, the team was determined to defend their home court and entertain the home crowd. Only having lost a single game at home, and that being by a slight margin, The Blacktop has proven to be a tough atmosphere to play in for challengers. Ahead of the game, they were confident in their ability to beat North Little Rock at home. After losing a talented class of seniors, coach Brian Ross’ preparation, practice, and guidance has been crucial to their success according to senior Annor Boateng. 

“He just gave us the mindset to keep fighting regardless of who’s not here, “ said Boateng.

Luke Moore, a junior guard who has been having a breakout season, scored the first points for the home team. Coming into the second quarter, Boateng connected on a three-pointer to give the boys their first lead of the game. Leading by four as the halftime buzzer rang, they carried momentum into the second half. The team is no stranger to competition, and the players say their determination is what propels them ahead of their competitors. 

We just got to play harder than everyone. That’s how we win.

— Culberson

The varsity boys maintained a lead above North Little Rock in the second half. Boateng’s 29-point performance worked to help

the team secure a 52-41 victory. This victory among many hopes to keep up the team’s momentum as they work towards the imminent state tournament. 

They are working towards developing a deeper bench, and executing their game plan of working on getting stops on defense and scoring efficiently on fast breaks. Depth has come in the form of Clay Blair, a sophomore guard who has been playing significant minutes off the bench for the varsity team.

“We used to have a seven-man rotation, but now we have twelve or thirteen people coming in trying to make the team stronger, “ said Boateng.

A good team rapport has helped the team get where they are now, and they are relying on that brotherhood to take them far this year.

Steele Matthews
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