Too Much To Handle

In a matchup featuring two of the state's best sophomores, KeVaughn Allen and and talent-laded North Little Rock squad get the best of KJ Hill and Bryant 82-44 Friday night at the Class 7A Tournament in Fayetteville.

Sometimes no matter how you play, it's just not going to happen for you.

That was the case on Saturday when North Little Rock jumped on Bryant early and never let up en route to an 82-44 rout of the Hornets Friday night in a Class 7A state tournament quarterfinal.

Senior Thomas Alexander had a game-high 23 points and super soph KeVaughn Allen – who has an offer from Arkansas among the eight he has already accumulated – added 16 for the Charging Wildcats, who shot just under 60 percent from the field while knocking down nine 3-pointers.

"I can't believe how well they shoot it," Bryant head coach Mike Abrahamson said. "It's incredible. They are so athletic and have great guards. Alexander is a game changer, but they just shoot it so well – what do you do? They were unbelievable. We could have done better – don't get me wrong – but it might not have mattered...The outcome wouldn't have been different although we might have hung in there a little longer. They were overwhelming tonight."

Junior Tyler Simmons had 22 and sophomore K.J. Hill – possibly the state's best basketball-football standout – added 20 points in the loss for the Hornets.

UAB point guard signee Dayshawn Watkins added 11 points for the Charging Wildcats, who move on to Saturday's 7:30 p.m semifinal game against the winner of Friday's late game between West Memphis and Springdale.

The other semifinal will see Fayetteville facing Bentonville at 1:30 on Saturday afternoon for a spot in the state championship next week at Little Rock's Barton Coliseum.

The final would have been a surprise to anybody who saw the first couple of minutes of the game, but then the Charging Wildcats were true to their name and led 30-12 by the end of the first stanza.

"I turned to my assistant and said we just scored 30 points and we didn't play a bit in the first two minutes," North Little Rock's Johnny Rice said. "We did that in just six minutes. I was very pleased with that. We have a lot of tools and a lot of weapons and you can see when Alexander is hitting shots from the perimeter that he is an elite player. He was the best player on the floor tonight."

Alexander, a 6-5 swingman who will matriculate to junior college next season, was 10-of-15 from the field, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range.

"He has got every junior college from Colorado to Florida calling and he will have a lot of options," Rice said. "I know Holmes (Miss) Community College is one of his favorites because he likes the coaches there."

Allen was 6-of-8 from the floor – with a 2-of 3 night from beyond the arc – and also made both of his free throws while dishing out a pair of assists.

"KeVaughn is the most patient player, sometimes for us too patient while he is letting the game come to him," Rice said. "He is the most consistent kid I have ever coached from every day at practice to the game. He is the same every game. You know what you are going to get out of him every night and that is what is the most impressive about him."

Allen already has offers from Arkansas, Florida, Memphis, Louisville, Baylor, Connecticut, Mississippi State and Nebraska.

"He is the most humble kid that I have ever been around," Rice said. "Any accolades he gets, any attention he gets, he is not real comfortable with it. He just wants to play."

Simmons and Hill – who was named the state's co-Sophomore of the Year on the gridiron this past season by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – scored all two of their team's points on the night.

"Those two kids have all of our points," Abrahamson said. "They are good players and they are talented, but that's the mindset was what we wanted from everyone. They just weren't going to back down. I was proud of that."

KeVaughn Allen

K.J. Hill

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