Local schools pull poll position

Chucks Corner by Chuck Livingston

This weekend was everything that’s right about basketball in our great county. Friday night’s West Memphis-Marion showdown was well-attended, the fans were loud and there were no incidents to speak of. In Marmaduke, Earle closed out a perfect conference season by winning 84-68 and the Bulldogs are steamrolling into the postseason. On Saturday night, the West Memphis Christian Black Knights lost a difficult decision to Marshall Academy, thanks to some hot shooting by the Patriots and some dubious officiating. In that WMCS-Marshall classic, a game official did not allow Marshall to inbound the ball so that he could go and seek out the tournament director to tell him that a Black Knight fan had informed said official that his previous call was “horrible.” That was a first for me. Shockingly, the Black Knights didn’t get a call for the rest of the night. So, whether your spirits were high because your Bulldogs or Blue Devils came up with big wins, or you’re in the dumps because your Pats and Black Knights fell short, Sunday brought good news for everyone. For the first time that I can recall, all four local boys teams are ranked in their respective polls in the same week. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has been kind to Crittenden County all season and their latest offering is no different. Earle has claimed the No. 1 spot in the Democrat-Gazette’s SuperSix poll for all but one week this season. That’s what happens when you’re 23-1 overall and 16-0 in the district. The Class 6A poll saw Marion fall to No. 6 after the Pats sat in at No. 5 for three straight weeks. This happened despite Marion dropping three out of their last four games. The state’s largest classification, Class 7A, welcomed West Memphis to the mix for the first time this season. The Blue Devils check in at No. 6 this week behind Bryant and Cabot. The Panthers are No. 4 West Memphis is headed there for a showdown on Friday night. Earle and Walnut Ridge could clash in the regional championship game in two weeks and those are the top two teams in Class 2A, per the ADG. As for West Memphis Christian, the Black Knights surged to No. 1 in their classification after their key 63-61 win against Marshall two weeks ago, but they’ve fallen to No. 2 this week, but with another game against the top-ranked Marshall Academy possible, if not two. I’ll admit that I don’t know what all Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s prep hoops editor Tim Cooper looks at when he ranks these teams, but he’s got a far greater handle on the pulse of the state than I do. He has reason to rank those teams there if he’s doing it, so I trust those polls. A lot remains to be seen, but so far, this has been a hoop dream unseen in many years in Crittenden County.

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