Charging Wildcats Honored by MaxPreps

The North Little Rock High School boys’ basketball team has finished No. 29 nationally for the 2012-13 season.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR — The North Little Rock High School boys’ basketball team has finished No. 29 nationally for the 2012-13 season. The announcement was made by MaxPreps, a California-based company that ranks more than 20,000 high school boys’ varsity basketball teams nationwide.

North Little Rock (28-1) posted its best record in school history and defeated Fayetteville, 64-52, on March 9 to capture the Arkansas 7A state championship. It was the Charging Wildcats first title in Class 7A and its fifth state crown overall. North Little Rock, whose last state title was in 1971, is one of 10 basketball teams being honored on the seventh annual boys’ MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard.

"MaxPreps is thrilled to work with the Army National Guard to honor America's finest high school boys’ basketball teams with the prestigious Army National Guard national ranking trophy,” said President and Founder Andy Beal. “Coach Rice and the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats have proven on the court that they are among the nation's truly elite high school hoops teams. We salute the coach, the young men on the team and North Little Rock High School for a job well done."

“Any recognition you get nationally expresses the top level your players have been achieved and how they bought into the team concept was the biggest thing to me,” said North Little Rock head basketball coach Johnny Rice, who completed his first season at the helm.

The high-powered North Little Rock team averaged 82 points per game and won by an average of 28 points. They scored a season-high 133 points in the opener in a 67-point battering of Bryant.

Senior guard Dayshawn Watkins, who will play at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, averaged 16.2 points and 5.8 assists per game. Six-foot-6 senior Thomas Alexander, who played both the guard and forward positions, netted 15.6 points per game and grabbed 9.7 rebounds while sophomore guard Kevaughn Allen led the team in scoring with 18.6 points. He also hauled in seven rebounds and registered 4.2 assists per contest.

Arkansas Sergeant Anthony Rusnak presented Coach Rice and the team with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy during a school assembly Tuesday afternoon. The team also received a banner for its accomplishments.

“For years, the Army National Guard has recognized nationally ranked basketball teams with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy,” said Lieutenant Colonel Christian J. Johnson of the Army National Guard. “We take great pride in doing so because it symbolizes the indomitable spirit common to high school athletes and the U.S. Soldier. It is our honor to share this symbol with the team, coaches, parents, and school. It is an award for the entire community and is much deserved.”

MaxPreps uses a sophisticated computer program, known as the Freeman Rankings, to determine team rank for the Tour of Champions. The system utilizes the huge number of game results stored in the MaxPreps database. Generally, the more a team wins the higher the ranking, but the system takes into account quality wins (against other highly ranked opponents), margin of victory, and strength of schedule. Playoff games are weighted 2.1 times a regular season game.
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