Skip to main content

Arkansas All-Star weekend: East All-Stars take girls basketball game by holding off the West, 81-77

Jesse Washington turns in a 23-point performance as the East prevails in All-Star boys basketball game.

By Kyle Sutherland | Photos by Ted McClenning 

CONWAY — Despite a valiant fifth period by the West team, the East still survived Saturday's Arkansas High School Coaches Association's All-Star girls basketball game.

The East held off the West, 81-77, on Saturday afternoon at the Farris Center on the University of Central Arkansas campus.

Per basketball rules, instead of four eight-minute quarters, each game had three seven-minute periods followed by two eight-minute periods with a 20-minute halftime in between.

The third period was the difference in the game as the East scored 19 points to the West’s six.

Parris Atkins (Bryant) got a strong head start to her college career that will be played on that same floor for the UCA Sugar Bears, scoring 15 of those 19 points for the East in the third.

Atkins had 20 total points, going 5-for-10 from the floor, including 10-for-11 at the free throw line, and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

“It was fun,” Atkins said. “I have missed playing with them; half of the girls I played with (Saturday) I went against them, so it was cool getting to play with them again.”

Atkins did not enter the game until the second quarter, but proved quickly as soon as she stepped on the floor that she was anxious to show what she could do against some of the state’s best competition.

“I was over there ready to get in so bad,” Atkins said. “I was just like, ‘It is beast mode; now I have to turn up.'"

Atkins and the East’s strong response helped counter a very successful second period for the West, led by Ouachita Baptist signee Madeleine Tipton’s (Vilonia) 12 points as the East held a narrow 30-28 lead going into that big third quarter.

Tipton was the third-leading scorer for the West with 16 points along with five rebounds.

Lake Hamilton’s Hayleigh Wyrick spearheaded the near comeback as the West’s leading scorer, compiling 13 of her 22 points in the final period, along with Southwestern Oklahoma State signee Carson Dillard (Farmington), who had 19 points, 11 of those in the fifth.

Wyrick, an Arkansas Tech signee, was named the game’s Outstanding Player for the West team.

“We had a really good group of girls and everyone was really encouraging,” Wyrick said. “We have all played on good high school teams, so we just put our heads together and did what we had to do to (make a) comeback.

"(The All-Star experience) was amazing, I wish it could be longer. It was a really quick two days and I have built a lot of relationships that are going to last a while.”

Dillard helped the West get off to a fast start, hitting a 3-pointer that led to a 7-0 run before Kenley McCarn (Melbourne) got the East on the board at the four-minute mark of the first quarter, finishing that period by scoring seven points.

She ended the game as the East’s second-leading scorer with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting and three rebounds.

McCarn, a Tennessee-Martin signee, just completed one of the most decorated careers of any athlete in state history as a four-time state champion and three-time state finals Most Valuable Player. She was able to have one more opportunity to play for her former head coach, Eric Teague, who was the coach of the East team.

“It was super special and she has been a special player at Melbourne,” Teague said. “I give her so much credit for every award I have won and anything we have done; she has been a huge part of that. It is just special for me to go out like this with her.

“It is just a great day for these kids. They deserve it, they deserve to be able to come out here and show what they have done because they have worked so hard for a long time. I thought it was exciting for the fans and it was nice to have a good, close game.”

Da’Kariya Jackson (Jacksonville) stepped up in the later part of the game, scoring 11 points and pulling down seven rebounds to earn the East Outstanding Player of the Game.

Boys Basketball

In the boys game, it was the Jesse Washington show as he led all scorers with 23 points along with eight rebounds and three assists, powering the East to an 87-75 victory.

Washington (Jonesboro) also earned the game’s Most Valuable Player award.

“It has been fun playing in high school and against different competition,” Washington said. “These people out here, I really had fun meeting them (Saturday).”

Washington’s high school coach, Wes Swift, led the East team as the duo got to have one final game together before Washington heads off to ASU-Mid South after helping Jonesboro win back-to-back state titles in March.

“It was a blast,” Swift said. “I know he has not been doing a whole lot, so I was a little concerned with conditioning and how fast it would take him to get in the flow.

"We were talking as a coaching staff (Friday about) how we all looked really bad and then (Saturday) morning in practice, we could tell they were starting to get the rust off. I thought Jesse had one of our top three or four practices this morning and he played well (Saturday).”

The West team was only down 12-11 after the first period, but that would not last long as the East would get out to a double-digit lead and did not relinquish it.

Trailing 64-48 heading into the fifth period, the West continued to play hard, but the deficit was ultimately too much to overcome as the East continued to score, finishing the game with a 46% shooting percentage from the field.

UCA signee Cam Wallace (Little Rock Parkview) also shined and was named the East Outstanding Player, scoring 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting and grabbing five rebounds.

It was a bittersweet day for East assistant and former Melbourne head coach Scott Bowlin, who had his final day on the bench, retiring after a very successful 39-year career.

Bowlin won two conference and two district titles in three seasons at Melbourne as well as two state championships at Greene County Tech.

“It felt really good, you never know what your reaction is going to be after you make some type of announcement like that,” Bowlin said. “This game has been great to me and has taught me a lot of things throughout my life and I have traveled all over the world because of it.

“I am just thankful that I was able to finish my career right here with these guys, a great staff. I want to thank everyone who has ever been associated with me and all of my players. It has been a great experience.”

Aiden Underdown (Elkins) was named the West Most Valuable Player as he scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds. Underdown is headed to Link Year Prep next season.

Micah Hill (Rogers Heritage) led the West in scoring with 18 points.