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Hoops tournaments in the spotlight

by Erick Taylor | November 24, 2022 at 2:18 a.m.

Forrest City Coach Marcus Britt has been happy with his Mustangs through three games this season. He'll be even happier if they're able to bring home a first-place trophy in its annual prep showcase this weekend.

The Rumble on the Ridge is set to begin today at Mustang Arena, and as usual, a number of contenders -- both in-state and out of state -- will take center stage during the three-day, eight-team event.

"We're excited about it," said Britt, who's in his second year at coach. "There's a lot of really good teams in it this year. And for us, we're looking forward to it."

The tournament is one of a number of holiday showcases that'll be held over the Thanksgiving break around Arkansas. On Friday and Saturday, the Jammin' For Jerseys is taking place at the Jack Stephens Center on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus.

In addition, the Battle in the Rock is scheduled for Little Rock Southwest's Gyphon Arena.

As for Britt, he has a reason to be excited about this year's Rumble on the Ridge. Outside of having a pair of programs that won state championships in Arkansas last season and another one that made a deep postseason run in Tennessee included in the field, his Mustangs have looked every bit like a team that's ready to turn a corner after making strides in Britt's debut year.

Forrest City (2-1), which reached the Class 4A quarterfinals in March, lost a competitive 67-54 decision at Class 5A No. 1 Lake Hamilton in its season opener but responded with back-to-back routs over Lonoke (68-45) and Lake Village (70-48).

The Mustangs did take a hit when All-State guard KeSean Washington transferred to Blytheville during the offseason, but they've got a solid core that returned, including Mykeion White, Melvin Shaw and Marcus Britt Jr.

"We're looking good," Coach Britt said. "We're scrappy on the defensive end, really scrappy. We've got to get things done as a unit, and I think we've done that so far, but we've got to keep it up though."

West Memphis and Memphis Southwind will kick things off at 3:30 p.m. Jonesboro, which won the Class 5A state title last season, faces Overton, (Tenn.) at 5 p.m., followed by Forrest City and Memphis Fairley at 6:30 p.m. Defending Class 6A titlist North Little Rock will battle Power Central Academy (Tenn.), a Class 2A semifinalist during the 2021-22 season, at 8 p.m.

The consolation games and semifinals will be played Friday while the championship game is Saturday.

"I'm really looking for us to use this tournament to help us get ready for the rest of the season," Coach Britt explained. "I want us to compete for all four quarters at the highest level because this we give us an idea of where we are going."

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