Probably the toughest and most trying high school basketball season in the modern era came to a close over the weekend as all 12 state championship games were played without any problems at the Bank OZK Arena inside the Hot Springs Convention Center.
Tuesday afternoon, the final Arkansas Sports Media High School Basketball Polls were released with all of the state champions the unanimous choices in their respective classification. And there was no big surprise on the teams who finished No. 1 overall in each poll.
On the girls’ side, the Melbourne Lady Bearkatz finished the season atop the girls Overall Top 10 and was the unanimous pick as all 15 voters had them No. 1. The Lady Bearkatz won their third straight Class 2A championship on Friday and was the most consistent girls’ team in the state all season long. They even finished the season with a 29-game winning streak.
Melbourne’s biggest victories during the regular season were over Fort Smith Northside, which finished as the Class 6A state champion, and a mercy-rule victory over Jonesboro, which finished the season as the Class 5A state champion.
And both of those wins were on the road.
Northside and Jonesboro finished second and third while 6A runner-up Fayetteville came in fourth. Harrison, the Class 4A champ, finished fifth. Bentonville, Conway, Batesville, North Little Rock and Mayflower finished sixth through 10th. Mayflower won the Class 3A title.
While all the state champs were unanimous selections at No. 1 in their respective classification, not all the runner-up teams finished second.
In Class 5A, West Memphis lost to Jonesboro in the championship game but finished fifth in the final poll as the Lady Blue Devils finished with a losing record.
In Class 3A, the Centerpoint Lady Knights lost to Mayflower in the championship game but were voted third behind Bergman which lost to Mayflower in the semifinals. Bergman also finished with the most wins in the state, 38.
The North Little Rock Charging Wildcats began the year atop the ASM boys’ Overall Top 10 and finish there after winning the Class 6A state championship over rival Little Rock Central. North Little Rock’s only two losses all season were to Central, which won the 6A-Central Conference regular season title.
All of the boys’ state champions were ranked among the top three of their respective classification all year long with the exception of Harding Academy. The Wildcats rarely got a vote in the Class 3A rankings and almost came out of nowhere to win the title.