NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Future two sport Razorback Marcus Monk and his team were nothing short of fantastic on Saturday afternoon and so they ended up taking some hardware back to Lepanto.
Monk had 34 points, 17 rebounds and 6 assists to lead East Poinsett County to a 78-45 win over conference for Osceola in the Class AAA boys state title game at Alltel Arena.
He has signed a football scholarship with the University of Arkansas and will also play basketball for the Razorbacks and Stan Heath, who was on hand for the game.
"It just a wonderful feeling that all of this hard work has paid off for me and my teammates," said Monk, who caught passes for over 1,000 yards this season and then took the court and averaged 20 points, 14 rebounds while maintaining a 3.9 grade point average. "Our goal was to win it all and we left everything we had on the court in every game and it was worth it in the end."
Boo Collins added 21 for EPC in what was the fourth win this season over the Seminoles for the Warriors (35-1), who did not lose a game to an Arkansas team this season.
The win came one week after blowing out previous No. 1 and two-time champ Pulaski Academy, who had won 55 straight games before EPC hammered them 52-31 in Ozark.
"We knew we weren't the best in the state when the season started, but they bought into the hard work and we knew we could make up a lot of ground and pass every team in the state," EPC head coach Kevin Kyzer said. "That's what they've done and I give them all the credit for it."
Monk, who had 24 points and 9 rebounds in the first half alone, was 14-of-19 from the field, 5-of-6 from the free throw line, knocked down a 3-pointer and also blocked a pair of shots and picked up a couple of steals.
He split his time between point guard and inside.
"He's just a phenomenal player and one who is blessed with a lot of God-given talent," Kyzer said. "We wanted to make sure he touched it everytime down the court because good things happen when we do that. Today was no different."
EPC whipped Class AA champ Altheimer twice and beat Class AAAA champ Little Rock Mills during the season and the Warriors believe they are the best team in the state this season regardless of classification.
"I don't think there is any doubt," Kyzer said. "You get past the first 10 days out of football and throw that out and every win we have had since then was by double figures or more except for one game…Every win has been by double figures and most of them have been by the mercy rule. We've been a machine all year."
While the emotional win over Pulaski Academy might have drained his team a little bit, Osceola's players pumped it back up according to Kyzer.
"If we had had to turn around and play the next day, I would have been more worried than if we had time to prepare," Kyzer said. "But part of the credit four our motivation goes to the Osceola players. They were calling my players' rooms the last two days and beating on our doors. They've talked a lot of trash the last two days so really I give them a lot of credit."
Monk said his team didn't respond to Osceola, who was led by Jerome Wilson's 20 points.
"We just kept quiet and let our play on the court show," Monk said. "But inside it was building up and we were ready to play."
The game was never in doubt as EPC jumped to an 18-2 lead with two minutes left in the opening quarter.
"You never think it is going to be that easy," Monk said. "It's kind of surprising, but you just have to keep up your intensity."
Kyzer said the title was very satisfying and expected.
"It would have been devastating for me with the way we have played all year to not come in here and win," Kyzer said. "I said after the regional win over Gosnell that anything less than a (state) championship would be unacceptable for this bunch."
Monk is planning to come up and see some Razorback spring football practice and is anxious to be a Razorback in both football and basketball.
"I love both sports," Monk said. "I know I am going to have a chance to play both sports and I am going to try my hardest to have a starting position in basketball as well as in football."
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The total attendance of 68,092 for the 10 games smashed the old High School State Championship record of 45,764 in 1998 in Pine Bluff by over 22,000 fans.
The top draw was the West Memphis-North Little Rock AAAAA Boys game, which had 14,601 on hand Saturday night.
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Arkansas High School Basketball Championships:
Class A Girls
Wickes 50, Rural Special 43
Highlights: Ninth grader Lakyn Garrison had 22 points to lead Wickes (40-2) to the win over Rural Special Friday afternoon in the Class A girls basketball championship game at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock.
Tasha Owens had 15 to lead Rural Special (24-9).
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Class AA Boys
Altheimer 66, Turrell 42
Highlights: Charles Moore had 23 points and Ole Miss signee and tournament MVP Brandon Patterson and Steven Barnett added 16 points for Altheimer as it won its second straight Class AA state title Friday night at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock.
Altheimer ended the year 29-2 with both losses to EPC and future Razorback Marcus Monk.
Joe Gibson had 13 to lead Turrell (25-8).
- - -
Class AAA Girls
Farmington 53, Ozark 44
Highlights: Tournament MVP and Samford signee Liz Williams has 16 of her game-high 24 points in the first half and April Carter added 14 as Farmington (32-1) won its first state championship.
Amber Bailey had 21 points and Ashley McNutt 10 to lead Ozark (29-6).
- - -
Class AAAA Boys
Little Rock Mills 58, Sylvan Hills 53
Highlights: Brandon Beeler had 15 points and hit what proved to be the game-winning shot with 38 seconds left to give Mills (26-5) its first state title.
Sam Givens had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead Sylvan Hills (25-6), who got two technicals after a no call on James Jackson's shot with 0.2 seconds left.
- - -
Class A Boys:
Waldo 75, McNeil 62
Highlights: Tournament MVP Desmond Smith had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead Waldo (35-1) to its first state title.
Waldo rallied from a four-point fourth quarter deficit by outscoring McNeil 23-8 in the final frame.
Frank Watson had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead McNeil (34-8).
- - -
Class AAAAA Girls:
Little Rock Parkview 59, Cabot 58
Highlights: Junior Crystal Boyd had 18 points and ninth graders Raeshara Brown and Gabrielle Jones 12 each as Parkview (30-1) claimed its first girls state title.
Ashley Anderson had 18 points and 14 rebounds, Allie Gammel 16 points and Goings 10 points for Cabot (26-3).
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Class AAA Boys:
East Poinsett County 78, Osceola 45
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Class AA Girls
Harding Academy 44, Valley Springs 34
Highlights: Jessica Stevens had 14 points to lead Harding Academy (23-8) as the school won its first state crown.
Jennifer McCutcheon had 11 for Valley Springs (34-7), who was attempting to win its second girls basketball state title.
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Class AAAAA Boys
West Memphis 50, North Little Rock 43
Highlights: Desma McCoy had 15 points to gain MVP honors and Cortez Jeffries added 11 as the Blue Devils (27-2) won their fifth state title and first since 1997.
Jonathon Coleman had 13 points for North Little Rock (27-4), who was trying for its seventh title.
West Memphis ended the year on a 26-game winning streak and ended NLR's winning streak at 13.
- - -
Class AAAA Girls
Harrison 51, Vilonia 49
Highlights: Sophomore Angela Colliver poured in 31 points to lead Harrison (21-8) to its fourth state title in five years.
Colliver, a 5-11 post, hit the game-winner with 2.2 seconds left to down Vilonia (26-4), who rallied from 17 down to tie it before the dramatic ending.
Marcus Monk leads EPC to state title
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