Another Title For Turner

He may be the state's best football player, but Arkansas signee A.J. Turner has piled up the hardware in basketball and helped East Poinsett County earn a third Class 2A state title in four years with 14 points and 15 rebounds Thursday night in the Warriors' 60-54 win over Junction City at Hot Springs' Summit Arena.

HOT SPRINGS – Minutes after East Poinsett County's 60-54 win over Junction City in the Class 2A basketball state championship game Thursday night, Arkansas football signee A.J. Turner was sitting at a podium answering questions.

One couldn't help notice that Turner (6-3, 210) – who had 14 points and 15 rebounds in the title game - was sporting two state championships rings on his fingers.

One was from his freshman season, the other from last season's title run that he helped fuel along with current Razorback freshman Rashad "Ky" Madden.

"I've worked hard for them," noted Turner, who will soon be getting fitted for a third one. "I got this one last year, I got this one in the ninth grade. I want some more so I have got to go to work...Hopefully when I am a Razorback, we can go win a national championship and I can get another one."

Turner – tabbed the state's top 2012 football player according to Hawgs Illustrated – had a whopping 212 tackles last season from his linebacker spot.

He had over 177 as a junior when he first popped on the radar because of his gridiron accomplishments.

But it is basketball where he has now been a part of three state championships in four years.

"It means a lot (for our community of Lepanto)," Turner said. "We have mainly been a basketball school and then we made a big run in football and the whole town was behind us. Then to come back here again and have the whole town behind us again, it's just great."

EPC finished 33-3 last season with Madden leading the way and ended this campaign with a 30-2 mark under head coach Josh Hill.

Jammar Sturdivant was named the MVP after a 22-point, 10-rebound performance in the final.

"This is a great group of kids," Hill said. "These seniors went 94-9 over the last three years. They expect to win every single time they step on the court. They had three straight 30-win seasons and they don't back down from anybody."

EPC was a heavy favorite to win last season with Madden, Turner and Sturdivant leading the way.

"Last year, we had Ky so we were suppose to win it," Turner said. "To get back here, we worked hard – just like last year...It just means so much to us."

Hill said there was not as much pressure this season as there was last.

"Even though we were really good and people expected us to win every night, last year was just unbelievable," Hill said. "If we did win by 20 or 30, it was like ‘what is wrong with you guys tonight?'"

Hill admits he has two different feelings about the back-to-back titles.

"…Last year was almost like a relief," Hill added later. "We were suppose to win and we got it done. This year, I am going to enjoy this one a little bit more."

A J Turner

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