Shooting guard Hannah Johnson of Heber Springs, Concord senior point guard Jacob Roark and Concord Coach Keith Cornett represented Cleburne County in Thursday's 59th Annual Arkansas High School All-Star game held at UCA's Farris Center.
Shooting guard Hannah Johnson of Heber Springs, Concord senior point guard Jacob Roark and Concord Coach Keith Cornett represented Cleburne County in Thursday’s 59th Annual Arkansas High School All-Star game held at UCA’s Farris Center.
Johnson and the East girls won for the third straight year, while Roark, Cornett and the East boys won their fifth consecutive.
Johnson’s East team pulled away in the second half, winning 80-58 after trailing the West 40-39 at intermission. The Heber senior, who averaged over 20 points per game this season, pulled down an offensive rebound and drove strong to the basket for a layup over two defenders, giving the East a 26-19 lead.
Johnson enjoyed the All-Star week festivities. “It was a great experience. I got to compete with some of the best athletes. All we could do was try our best and apparently that worked for us.”
Accustom to playing alongside twin sister Skylar Johnson, Hannah chose to wear No. 10 in honor of Skylar. “I had never not played with Skylar and when they asked me what number I wanted, I said 10, so there would be something of her on the court with me.”
Although not considered part of The Sun-Times coverage area, Mount Vernon-Enola senior guard Heather Prowse, a two-time MVP of the Greers Ferry Lake Classic, gave the East a boost with six points, including a three-point play off a break for a 55-44 lead.
Forward Kalela Miller of Beebe earned MVP honors, pouring in 25 points while hitting 9 of 16 shots from the field. Miller also had five rebounds and three steals.
The layout of the All-Star game ¬ three seven-minute quarters in which all 15 players play in the first half and two eight minute periods free to substitution in the second half ¬ is not conducive for team players such as Johnson and Roark to display their full arsenal.
Johnson was wide open on several fast break opportunities but didn’t get a chance thanks to selfish play by some of the other stars.
Roark chipped in two assists and one steal in 12 minutes of playing time. The Concord star dished out his first assist to Cedar Ridge shooting guard Spencer Reaves, who drained a three-pointer to give the East a 23-11 lead early in the second period.
With the West clinging to a one-point lead in the second half, Roark came away with a steal and assist that gave his team a 57-56 lead. The East overcame a late charge by the West in the fourth quarter, winning 85-77.
Roark, a Harding University signee who shattered the state’s career three-point record and stands second on the all-time career scoring list, played in the backcourt with University of Arkansas signee Anton Beard of North Little Rock and Lehigh University signee Kahron Ross of Jonesboro.
East All-Stars Beard (7A), Ross (6A), University of Arkansas power forward signee Trey Thompson of Forrest City (5A), Reaves (2A) and Roark (1A) all earned state tournament MVP honors while leading their schools to a state championship.
“It was a great experience,” said Roark. “Coach [Wes] Swift and the other coaches all gave great insight to the game and everyone competed hard in practice. I'll definitely take the intensity needed at every practice with me moving forward.”
Beard earned MVP honors for the East. He finished with a team high 14 points while sinking 5 of 9 shots from the field, including 2 of 5 from beyond the arc. Beard also contributed three assists.
Reaves earned Outstanding Player of the Game honors for the East. The Cedar Ridge senior had 10 points and seven rebounds. Reaves connected on 3 of 6 shots from three-point land.