Black Knights to face Oak Hill on Friday night
By Chuck Livingston Sports Editor
Facing its second do-or-die game in as many weeks, West Memphis Christian came through in flying colors. The Black Knights (21-4 overall) overcame a multitude of turnovers and some sloppy play on the road to top Carroll Academy 79-54 in the opening round of the Division 1-AA North Half Tournament in Winona, Mississippi. West Memphis Christian led 43-27 at the half. “It was ugly, but we’re still alive,” said West Memphis Christian head coach Rob Garlington. “We played down to our opponent. We had some sloppy turnovers. We did play a lot of guys, albeit guys who don’t normally play a lot of minutes, so that probably contributed to that number.” Tra Doolittle scored 23 points to lead West Memphis Christian, while Martinez Harper and Kentrale Green hit for 15 apiece. The win means that West Memphis Christian is in the Overall State tournament that will be held next week. From here on out, the Black Knights are playing for seeding in that bracket. A win on Friday against Oak Hill Academy will put West Memphis Christian into the title game, potentially against district rival Marshall Academy. West Memphis Christian and Oak Hill have played twice this season, splitting those meetings, so Garlington has a pretty good idea of what his team is up against. “They shoot the ball well, they’re a patient team that doesn’t beat themselves, and they’re very well-coached,” said the first-year West Memphis Christian coach. Garlington was also excited about his team’s berth in the state tournament saying, “that’s very important. We can’t reach our goals without that chance to play for state.” If West Memphis Christian meets Marshall on Saturday, it will be the fourth meeting between the teams this season. The Black Knights won the first meeting at home, but have dropped the last two contests in a pair of hotly-contested games. A win on Friday night would assure the Black Knights of a No. 1 or No. 2 seed at the Overall State.