While there were a couple of more celebrated prospects involved in the game, it was all about the point guards on Saturday.
Ryan Williams' spectacular 26-point performance lifted his Arkansas Wings team to a 67-66 win over the Arkansas Angels in the AAU 17-and-under state championship at Philander Smith College.
But the Wings won only because a nearly half-court heave from Angels point guard Shawn Reynolds - who had 11 points and 10 assists - rimmed out at the buzzer.
"What a game," Williams said afterwards. "It was a great one and thankfully we pulled it off."
Williams, a 6-2 guard from Jonesboro who staked his claim to the title of best lead guard in the state with his effort, had 18 of his 26 points in the final half.
He did it on a variety of 3-pointers, intermediate jump shots and acrobatic drives to the goal.
"He has just been playing great for us this season," Wings assistant coach Antonio Moore said.
Williams previous play has drawn the attention of several schools.
"I've started getting stuff from Georgetown, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Arkansas State and the University of Texas El Paso and some other minor colleges," Williams said. "I talked to (Georgetown coach) John Thompson the other day about coming up there."
Reynolds, a 5-10 unsigned senior from J.A. Fair, has an offer on the table from Texas A&M Corpus-Christi, but has decide to play this summer to see if it brings more scholarship opportunties.
Prep school and junior college also are options that are being considered by the very quick Reynolds.
"I am just trying to see what happens after playing this summer," Reynolds said. "I am just trying to be seen."
Reynolds had nine of his points in the first half to lead the Angels to a 30-28 advantage at intermission.
The lead changed hands several times in the third quarter before Williams camly broke down his defender and sank a 3-pointer to push the Wings within 46-45 heading into the final quarter.
The Wings would then take the lead on Matt Monroe's 3-pointer and then pushed it to 65-57 on York Sims' free throw with 1:24 left in the game.
But Reynolds led his team back and when Dylon Gilliam buried a 3-pointer off a Reynolds assist, the Wings led just 67-66 with 16.8 left.
There were three turnovers in the next 14 seconds that led to Reynolds getting the ball at half court with 2.1 seconds left rimmed in and out.
"I thought it was going," Reynolds said.
North Little Rock's Monroe and 6-9 Michael Washington of McGehee both had 8 points each for the Wings while Washington also had 7 rebounds an a block.
Washington has Arkansas, Ole Miss, Texas, Kansas, Kansas State and Mississippi State staying in contact with him.
Robert Johnson, the Wings' 6-2 shooting guard from Pulaski Oak Grove who is drawing attention from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Indiana State, added six points on two 3-pointers.
Unsigned senior Clarence "Sonny" Weems of West Memphis added 19 for the Angels.
o o o
Both teams advanced to the AAU 17-and-under nationals in Orlando on July 26 along with the Arkansas Lakers.
The Arkansas Legends, led by Little Rock Hall super sophomore guard William Larry, were the fourth semifinalist and is expected to participate in the 16-and-under national tournament in Houston in June.
They finished second in the Boo Williams 16-and-under division a few weeks ago and will soon play in the state's 16-and-under state tournament.
The 6-3 Larry was named the state's top sophomore by one publication after averaging 12 points during the year and 17 during a state tournament to the semifinals.
"I can always work on my ballhandling and quickness, but I think my court awareness is ahead of most people in my class and in high school," Larry said. "I think I am a great passer, but I am just wanting to develop into the best point guard I can be by the time college rolls around."
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