Battle Of The Border Arrives Again
There will not only be some high school football state titles decided in Little Rock this weekend, but some outstanding prep basketball talent also on display in Central Arkansas.
The annual Battle of the Border – a competition between top Arkansas and Memphis teams - will be held at Little Rock Parkview on Friday and North Little Rock on Saturday.
It will be an opportunity for fans to see several top players – including the North Little Rock trio of KeVaughn Allen, K.J. Hill and Adrian Moore, but also a look at the state’s first elite high school traveling team.
That would be Southwest Christian Academy, which is coached by Charles Baker, an Arkansas native who has 20 years of college coaching experience at stops such as Colorado, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech and Shorter Junior College.
SCA has four 2016 players getting Division I prospects – in former Bentonville guard Tyrik Dixon (6-2), Memphis native Eric Curry (6-7), Canadian-born Marquell Fraser and former Maumelle and Prime Prep guard Deshawn Williams.
“Arkansas has been down to watch us practice back (in September) and has plans to come watch us play this season so they have showed interest in these guys,” Baker said.
There’s also a 2017 prospect getting attention in 6-8 power forward Ibrahim Ali and 2015 guard Eric Moses, who Baker notes is the younger brother of Razorback center Moses Kingsley.
“It just so happens that it worked out that way that the core of our team was made up of juniors,” Baker said. “I would like to have had a lot of 2017 and 2018 guys as well, but this is how it worked out just getting this thing up and running.”
Southwest Christian has had a high school team for a couple of decades, but this is the first time to field an elite squad.
“Chris Hughes has been the head coach here for 14 years of what we call the varsity team,” Baker said. “He would go around to all this tournaments and see the prep teams and started thinking that the school had the facility and could do this.
“So we got together and put this thing in motion and I think it is going to be something that is going to be a benefit for the kids and here for the long haul,” Baker added.
Southwest Christian Academy is certainly playing against some top talent with two wins already this season over RDF Academy – which features 6-11 Kentucky signee Skal Labissiere and Triple AAA Academy and Baylor guard signee King McClure.
“This is what can best be described as a year of building our credibility and so we are playing a lot of games on the road,” Baker said. “I’ve had people ask ‘where is that school?’ We are using this season to kind of put us on the map.”
Baker is excited about playing locally this weekend as his team will open up the event Friday night at 6 p.m. at Little Rock Parkview against Prime Prep.
Prime Prep is a school started by former NFL player Deion Sanders and one that features guard Terrance Ferguson, a five-star prospect regarded as one of the nation’s top 2015 players.
Parkview will then face Memphis Hamilton – featuring Memphis signees Dedric and K.J. Lawson - at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday’s line-up starts is at North Little Rock with Little Rock McClellan against Memphis Westwood at 2 and Jacksonville meeting Memphis Central at 3:30 p.m.
Episcopal Collegiate will battle Memphis Catholic at 5, Parkview tests Arlington Bolton and star junior Jaylen Fisher at 6:30 and North Little Rock faces Memphis Mitchell at 8 p.m.
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