Countless hours of practice. Nail biting finishes.
High school basketball players go through it all but 10 have been selected as tops in the area and named to the All-5NEWS team.
Bentonville’s Nick Smith did it all for the Tigers. He set the school record for point in a game and then pushed the Tigers into the semifinals with 40 points against Northside in the 7A state tournament.
Seth Youngblood was nearly unstoppable all season long for Roland. Youngblood scored 40 points and hit a school record nine 3-pointers in the 4A state championship game on Saturday. Roland also won the Tournament of Champions in December in which Youngblood scored 35 points or more in all three contests.
Siloam Springs forward Payton Henson was a one man wrecking crew for the Panthers. Henson had 20 of the Panthers 28 points at one point in the state tournament game against Little Rock Parkview and kept the Panthers in the hunt for a conference title for most of the year despite playing in a 7A loaded conference.
Dederick Lee did things only two others have ever done in the state of Arkansas. Lee scored more than 2,500 points in his career. He also led the Panthers to a perfect 14-0 5A-West record, their first season in class 5A.
Fayetteville’s duo of Tyler McCullough and Manny Watkins helped the Bulldogs reach the 7A title game for the second straight season. McCullough controlled the paint while Watkins was a weapon from everywhere on the court.
Justin Gattis led County Line to 37 wins during his senior season and helped the Indians win 100 over the past three seasons. Gattis scored at will all season long and was still effective after spraining an ankle in the regional tournament.
The sharp shooting of Brock Widders helped Alma reached the 5A championship game and almost gave the Airedales the title. Widders scored 31 points against Jacksonville and led Alma to 23 wins despite playing a loaded 5A-West schedule.
Muldrow’s Nate Hamilton scored more than 20 points a game and guided the Bulldogs to the state tournament for the first time since 1997. Hamilton and the Bulldogs were 20-9 but five of those losses came against teams that played for the 4A title.
Darian Harris carried the load all season long for Shiloh Christian. Harris scored just less than 23 points per game as the Saints competed in class 5A for the first time.