Beard, Ross Put On Show

in a match-up of arguably the state's best two sophomore guards, Little Rock Parkview's Anton Beard and Jonesboro's Kahron Ross don't disappoint as the Patriots down the Hurricane 69-65 in double overtime in the Class 6A state championship game in Hot Springs.

HOT SPRINGS – In a thrilling double-overtime game featuring arguably the state's two best sophomore guards, Little Rock Parkview walked away with another state title.

While 6-4 senior Emmanuel Adoyi had a game-high 26 points and won MVP honors in a thrilling 69-65 Class 6A championship contest, it was the two tiny guards that stole the show.

Parkview's 5-11 standout Anton Beard had 21 points and 5 assists while Jonesboro's 5-10 Kahron Ross had 25 points, 3 steals and 2 assists with Razorback head coach Mike Anderson looking on.

"The first thing is that you look at him (Beard) and everybody thinks they are guarding a right handed person and he is actually left handed," Flanigan said. "That mixes them up right there. He can get to the goal with the best of them and when he gets there, he can finish."

Flanigan also praised Ross.

"Ross is a great player and I love him," Parkview head coach Al Flanigan said afterwards. "I wish he had on a Parkview jersey. He doesn't give up and I just love the way he plays. He plays like a Parkview guard."

After putting his team on his back in the fourth quarter, Beard missed two free throws with 15 seconds left in regulation that could have sealed the game.

Jonesboro senior Jaylin McBride – who had 15 points – then nailed a 15-footer with 1.3 seconds left to tie it 54-54 and send the game into overtime.

"It was hard not making those two free throws, it was tough," Beard said. "But my players believed in me and my coaches believed in me and they said ‘keep your head up.' That's what I did and we came out with the win."

McBride's basket with 17 seconds left had the Hurricane with a 60-58 lead only to see Adoyi rebound an air ball and score with four seconds left to force a second overtime.

"We stuck together as a team," Beard said. "It was not about an individual, it's about the team. We stuck together from the beginning to the end and encouraged each one from the time somebody made a big play."

Flanigan noted that Beard is an exceptional player, but obviously still has some refining of his game to get done.

"He can work on his free throws and get that jumper in line, but other than that, he is ready to go," Flanigan said.

Jonesboro head coach Wes Swift was impressed.

"Let's just give credit to Anton Beard," Swift said. "What a game this kid played. He is just so physical and so strong and when he gets his shoulder by your hip, it's over."

Beard does not have any offers yet, but has schools such as Arkansas, Nebraska, UConn, Florida State and Marquette showing interest already.

"Mike Anderson is a great coach," Beard said. "He has a great group of kids and hopefully in the next couple of years he will bring a national championship home."

Beard said that AAU play and playing a key role on last season's Parkview state championship team had him ready for his role this season.

"It's not easy and you have to be prepared for this," Beard said. "Most kids are not ready for this stage, but this is why we came to Parkview."

Beard has now won two state titles in as many years.

"it's a great feeling," said Beard, who plans to play with the Memphis Thunder Elite AAU team this spring and summer.

This was Flanigan's fifth state title – tying him with former head coach Charles Ripley - and the Patriots' 12th overall.

"This is who we are – champions," Flanigan said. "This is what we do – win championships. That is why these guys came to Parkview."

Ross was proud of what his team accomplished this season.

"We had a very good season and I am proud to be part of this program," Ross said. "Our seniors carried us this whole season."

Anton Beard

Kahron Ross

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