The last thing Little Rock Hall Coach Jon Coleman wanted to be involved with this season was a meeting with Baptist Prep.
But Coleman’s lament for tonight’s Jammin’ for Jackets’ opening-round game has nothing to do with the fact that the Eagles are unbeaten and a three-time defending state champion.
“[Issac McBride] and my son are best friends,” Coleman said. “I actually started coaching Mac when he was 7 years old. We started out coaching football, and that football team turned into basketball. His dad and I talk every day. It’s just about relationships and him being almost like a son to me.”
McBride signed with Kansas last month, and Coleman was at the signing ceremony.
“Coach Coleman has played a big part in my life,” McBride said. “He’s been coaching me since I was in the first grade. He introduced me to competitive basketball and got me to practice and be around some great players.
“It’s not a game I’m looking forward to either, but after it’s all over, we’ll all realize it’s all fun and games.”
Baptist Prep (7-0) is averaging 68.7 points a game, and five of the Eagles’ seven victories have been by 12 or more points.
Through the Eagles’ first six games, McBride is averaging 29 points a game with a season-high 39 points in a 91-79 victory over Maumelle.
“We’ve played better than expected,” McBride said. “We’ve put up a lot of big numbers.”
“I think we’ve been successful because we’ve played as a team,” Baptist Prep Coach Steve Miller said. “We’re not a one-man show. Issac has put up great numbers but he is so unselfish. Obviously, he carries a big load, but he’s not all we have.”
Hall is 3-1 this season, with its only loss coming to nationally-ranked Bartlett, Tenn., (9-0).
“We’ll come into this game as an underdog,” Coleman said. “It should be a very good basketball game.”
LITTLE ROCK CHRISTIAN
Help on the way
Little Rock Christian won at Episcopal Collegiate 72-51 Tuesday night, but Warriors Coach Clarence Finley said his team was nowhere near full strength.
Finley said the Warriors (3-2) will add a few players to the roster that played on the school’s championship football team.
“Basically, we had one senior and two starters playing [Tuesday],” Finley said. “We played a lot of JV players our first few games.”
Junior guard Luke Grawer knocked down six three-pointers and finished with 23 points in Tuesday’s victory. Senior forward Cortez Finley added 12 points and 11 rebounds. Junior William Wood scored 19 points and had three assists.
“Luke’s a very good shooter, especially when he trusts our offense,” Coach Finley said. “Every time we ran a set for him or play for him, he knocked it down.”
Little Rock Christian does not play again until Dec. 20 against Jonesboro.
Tigers start 16-0
Second-year Valley Springs head Coach Blake Hanney said his team “surprises him sometime.”
Trailing by 12 points at halftime against Greenbrier on Nov. 17, the Tigers surged in the second half and won 75-63. Last weekend while playing in Monticello, the Tigers trailed 21-18 at the half to Drew Central — a state finalist last season — but won 63-42.
“Last year, we made it to the state tournament and got beat in the first round,” Hanney said. “It was like we didn’t even get off the bus. Ever since, it’s like the kids are ticked off and they’re playing like they’ve got something to prove.
“But I never know when they’re going to turn it on.”
Junior forward Isaac Ragland averages 21.6 points and 7.0 rebounds a game. Senior post player Ethan Flud is averaging 15.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists a game.
Flud hit a point-blank buzzer-beater in overtime against Warren on Friday to help the Tigers remain unbeaten.
“We’ve got a target on us now,” Hanney said. “Everybody’s going to want to give us a loss, but I think we’re battled-tested.”
JAMMIN’ FOR JACKETS
Hall High School
Game 1 LR Fair vs. LR McClellan, 4 p.m.
Game 2 LR Parkview vs. Episcopal, 5:30 p.m.
Game 3 LR Central vs. Mills, 7 p.m.
Game 4 LR Hall vs. Baptist Prep, 8:30 p.m.
Game 5 Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 4 p.m.
Game 6 Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 5:30 p.m.
Game 7 Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 7 p.m.
Game 8 Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 8:30 p.m.
Seventh-place game, 1 p.m. Fifth-place game, 2:30 p.m.
Third-place game, 4 p.m. Championship, 5:30 p.m.
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