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Charging Wildcats wins 7A state title

Mark Buffalo North Little Rock’s Thomas Alexander dunks late in the fourth quarter of the Charging Wildcats’ 64-52 win over Fayetteville in the Class 7A state championship game at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock on Saturday.
Mark Buffalo North Little Rock’s Thomas Alexander dunks late in the fourth quarter of the Charging Wildcats’ 64-52 win over Fayetteville in the Class 7A state championship game at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock on Saturday.
Mark Buffalo Class 7A state tournament MVP Kevaughn Allen is hoisted on teammates shoulders follwoing the Charging Wildcats win over Fayetteville.
Mark Buffalo Class 7A state tournament MVP Kevaughn Allen is hoisted on teammates shoulders follwoing the Charging Wildcats win over Fayetteville.

North Little Rock won its first state championship in boys basketball since 1971 when they defeated Fayetteville, 64-52, for the Class 7A title Saturday afternoon at Barton Coliseum.

The victory marks a perfect run through Arkansas for North Little Rock as they went undefeated against in-state competition to finish 28-1 for the year. The lone loss was to Charleston, Mo.

Along the way, North Little Rock defeated Class 5A state champ Jacksonville twice, and Class 6A title game participants Little Rock Hall and Jonesboro. The Cats had also beaten Fayetteville earlier this season.

In front of a raucous crowd of 9,018 at Barton Coliseum, the Charging Wildcats were led by sophomore guard Kevaughn Allen and senior forward Thomas Alexander as both scored 17 points. Allen was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for his efforts.

Allen and Alexander added to their lengthy highlight reel with some amazing dunks on both breakaways and designed alley oops as both elevated up and over Fayetteville defenders.

Allen, a 6-foot-3 guard is ranked by ESPN as the 21st best sophomore in the country and has already been offered a scholarship by Arkansas coach Mike Anderson, who was in attendance at the game and had a front row seat for the North Little Rock celebration after they received their trophy.

Alexander is being recruited by Division I schools like Central Arkansas and the 6-foot-5 forward has yet to make a decision.

Dayshawn Watkins wasn’t far behind and had 16 points along with leading the team in assists with five. Watkins signed early with Alabama-Birmingham.

Gary Vines, a standout football player and signed with Henderson State, had 10 points, 10 rebounds, played solid defense, along with running the team from his guard position.

North Little Rock forced 18 Fayetteville turnovers and also scored 18 points off them.

Fayetteville (26-4) was led by Manuale Watkins and his 19 points.

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