FORT SMITH (KFSM)- Saturday’s Class 7A State Championship game won’t be the first meeting on the court between Northside and North Little Rock this season. Playing each other twice already, they are both familiar with how their styles of play. The Grizzlies have a plan for what they need to do in order to overcome the Wildcats.
"Both times we played them they have controlled the tempo," said Northside head coach Eric Burnett. "Especially at the beginning and we have to get off to a good start where we control the tempo and not let them. When we control the tempo it makes us so much better."
Being able to control the pace of the game is a key factor for the Grizzlies heading into the battle Saturday.
"When they get into that rhythm it’s hard to stop them," said junior Isaiah Joe. "Because they get a big confidence boost their intensity goes way up and they knock down all their shots. So I feel like if we can stop from the beginning we are going to have a better chance."
Even though North Little Rock has been able to escape with two victories against Northside the Wildcats don’t underestimate the challenge of trying to contain leading scorers Tevin Brewer and Isaiah Joe on the floor.
"They have the two best guards especially in the 7A if not in the state," said Wildcats head coach Johnny Rice. "I have been talking on the phone been talking to coaches all year on what can we do to slow them down, they haven't been slowed down yet."
No matter how much the wildcats will try to slow down senior point guard Tevin Brewer Northside head coach Eric Burnett expects him to be nearly impossible to stop in his first and final state championship appearance.
"I think he’s been wanting to be in this spot for a long time," said Burnett. "To show everybody on the big stage yes I am 5-foot-8 but I can compete with anybody and here’s his opportunity to show people that."
Northside will play North Little Rock at 12:45 p.m. Saturday in Hot Springs.