Fayetteville--Both Fayetteville High and Little Rock Hall used size, shooting and tradition to advance to this Friday night's 7-A state championship basketball game to be played in Hot Springs.
In the semifinals the Purple Dogs used 29 third quarter points to surge past Ft. Smith Southside 76-54. Hall destroyed Bryant 73-43 with a first quarter scoring barrage.
The Warriors have won 21 straight games and are making their 5th consecutive appearance in the title game. They are lead by one of the top players in the state, 6'-9" junior Bobby Portis who is committed to play for the Razorbacks.
"He's very athletic, very long," Fayettetville head coach Kyle Adams told 5News. (He's a) "great athlete. He can run. He can jump. He plays the post for them but he's more of a four--- three or four-type player 'cause he shoots the ball from the perimeter really well."
Fayetteville may be the only team Hall has played this season that can match their size. The Purple Dogs go 6'-11", 6'-8" and 6'-6" in the front court. The FHS players also know a thing or two about tradition too.
On Thursday, before leaving for Hot Springs, the FHS team staged a final practice in historic Bulldogs Gym which is due to be demolished soon to make way for more classrooms as a part of the new Fayetteville High School currently under construction.
Adams grew up playing in that building and coached there both as an assistant and head coach. Six state championship banners hang from it's rafters dating back to 1947.
The current players understand the meaning of that tradition.
"The tradition that comes with this school, this program is something that we don't take lightly," senior guard Kile Graves emphasized. "We know that we have to live up to expectations and play to expectations. All of our coaches played here so we're kind of playing for them. We're playing for the program as a whole and playing for each other mostly."
Graves and his teammates would like to carry a seventh state championship banner with them to hang in the school's new arena which will open this fall.