Central men's basketball tryouts for all students, 9th grade through 12th grade, who are interested in playing for the 2020-21 season will begin Tuesday, Sept. 1 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Central High School gym. All participants must have a valid physical (after Sept. 1, 2019) and signed parent consent form to tryout. A copy of the parent consent form can be found here as a PDF. These documents must be given to coaches before or upon arrival at the tryout. There will not be another tryout date; players must attend this tryout date if interested in being on the team. See Coach Ross in the gym or email if you have any additional questions or concerns.
The Freshman Tigers tip-off the season in The Intro tournament hosted at Joe T. Robinson High School. Central will open its season against Maumelle in the first round. The Freshman Tigers are slated for a second-round matchup versus either North Little Rock or Jacksonville, who the Tigers defeated in last year's first-round matchup. The loaded field also includes Little Rock Christian, Baptist Prep, Sylvan Hills and host-team Robinson to fill out the opposite side of the bracket.
Congratulations to the following 12 young men for being named to the 2019-20 Freshman Tiger Basketball team: Gavin Snyder, Elijah Estrada, Champ Calamese, Mark Green, Jaomarion Hickman, Savaughn Smith, Rashod Neasley, Trelon Dickson, Joshua Yustana, Brian Roddy, Bryson Modisett and Michael Barrow. We look forward to welcoming these freshmen into our program and competing with them every single day!
Tryouts for incoming 9th graders interested in joining the Tiger basketball program will begin Thursday, Aug. 22 from 4:00-6:30 p.m. at Central High School. Players must attend the first tryout date if interested in being on the team. After the first cut, selected players will be invited to a second tryout on Tuesday, Aug. 27 from 7:00-8:15 a.m. before school. All participants must have a valid physical (after Aug. 22, 2018) and signed parent consent form to tryout. See Coach Ross in the gym for more information.
Central High School head coach Brian Ross announced the addition of Troy Campbell as an assistant coach for the Tiger basketball program. "We are thrilled to add another coach to our staff who has been a part of an NCAA Division I program as well as a championship-level high school program," Ross said. "[Coach Campbell] will be a real asset to our program." Campbell previously served as an assistant coach for Jonesboro High School, where he went to the state championship game in six of his eight seasons and helped lead the Hurricanes to win three state titles. While at Jonesboro, Campbell was also head coach for MacArthur Douglas Junior High for the past three years, posting a 22-2 record in 2018-19 and winning two conference championships in total. Prior to coaching at the high school level, he was a student assistant coach with both the men’s and women’s basketball programs at Arkansas State.
Tigers Invited to Premier Texas Tournament for 2019-20
Central is headed to Allen, Texas, next season to compete in one of the nation's top tournaments it was announced Wednesday (Jan. 30). The City of Allen Convention & Visitors Bureau and Allen Eagles Men’s Basketball extended a formal invitation to the 2019 In-N-Out Burger Allen Holiday Invitational on Friday. Only two schools outside of Texas received the opportunity and the Tigers are thrilled to be one of them. This past year, the tournament hosted 32 of the best teams in Texas and featured over 50 top-100 players in their respective classes. "We host, in our biased opinion of course, one of the best holiday tournaments in the nation," said Allen coach Drew Williamson. "In 2019 we would like to bring in a couple of teams from outside the state of Texas to add to our already competitive field." The tournament will be held Dec. 26-28 and includes a guarantee of four games. You know what they say, everything is bigger in Texas. In 2018, the tournament hosted 80 teams at 3 sites with 153 games being played in seven gyms. Allen hosts as competitive of a tournament as anyone in the country. This year's field boasted nine teams which were ranked in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches preseason rankings. The Allen Holiday Invitational is run by the Allen Basketball Booster Club and raises money for the club, the In-N-Out Foundation (an organization which assists children who have been victims of abuse), and Allen Community Outreach. Teams in this year's big school bracket featured: Allen (champion) , Amarillo, Bryan Rudder, Cedar Hill, Cibolo Steele, Coppell, Cypress Creek, Dickinson, Fort Bend Hightower, Fort Bend Travis, Fort Worth Brewer, Frisco Heritage, Frisco Lone Star, Garland Naaman Forest, Highland Park, Humble Atascocita, Keller Central, Killeen Shoemaker, Klein Oak, Lake Travis (runner-up), Little Elm, Mansfield Summit, Mount Pleasant, North Forney, Pflugerville Hendrickson, Plano East, Prestonwood Christian, Red Oak, Richardson Berkner, Rockwall, Rockwall Heath and Rowlett. UPDATE (March 5) The 2019 In-N-Out Holiday Invitational completed its field of 32 teams, including the first out-of-state visitors Little Rock Central and Ouachita Parish (Louisiana). Teams that have committed to participate include: Allen Amarillo Beaumont United Cedar Hill Coppell Dickinson Fort Bend Hightower Fort Bend Travis Frisco Heritage Frisco Lone Star Highland Park Keller Central Killeen Shoemaker Lake Travis Little Elm Little Rock Central (AR) Mansfield Summit Naaman Forest North Forney Ouachita Parish (LA) Pearce Pearland Dawson Plano East Plano John Paul II Prestonwood Christian Red Oak Rockwall Heath Rockwall Rowlett Steele Wagner Wylie This year's tournament will feature two 16-team tournaments instead of one big 32-team bracket. The 32 teams will be divided into a big school bracket and elite big school bracket in early December.
It wasn’t the finish they wanted, but the Tigers took a big step in the positive direction in head coach Brian Ross' first year as head coach at Central. "I'm proud of this team for their effort this year," Ross said. "We laid a solid foundation to build on. We know the program Central can be, and each of these young men will be a part of it, including the seniors." After missing the postseason last year, Central earned its way back into the 6A State Tournament. The Tigers finished the season with a 16-10 overall record, the second-most wins since 2008 and fourth-most since 2001. Six conference wins in the state's toughest conference (6A Central) marks the second-most since 2010. Central's final ranking of No. 17 in Arkansas is the program's second-highest finish since 2008. In December, Central achieved a No. 1 overall ranking due to the team's impressive 10-2 start in non-conference play. The Tigers maintained a top-10 overall ranking before heading into the playoffs while also posting the second-toughest strength of schedule in the state this season.
The Tigers left it all on the floor Thursday, but came up just one play short. Rogers defeated Central, 53-50, in the first round of the 6A State Tournament. Central had a chance to tie after trailing 41-32 early in the fourth quarter. Senior guard Jakaylyn Jackson made two free throws to narrow the margin to four with under a minute remaining in regulation, followed by senior forward Ky'lyn Arnett's putback with 32 seconds on the clock. On the ensuing inbound, Central's press forced another steal in the hands of Jackson, but the Tigers were called for a charge at the basket. Central had one more chance to go the length of the court with 4.6 seconds left, but was unable to get the shot off in time, putting an end to the season. Senior guard AJ Williams led the Tigers with 22 points and Jackson added 13 points. "As they nearly always did, my guys fought their hearts out," head coach Brian Ross said. "I'm proud of this team for their effort this year. We laid a solid foundation to build on."
First-year head coach Brian Ross has Central back in the postseason after the Tigers missed out a year ago. Central comes into the tournament representing the 6A Central at No. 6 and will face No. 3 Rogers of the 6A West. Rogers makes its first appearance in the state tournament since 2013. Last time the Tigers matched up with the Mounties was on March 5, 2010, in the Elite Eight of the 7A State Tournament. Central won, 44-34, led by former Razorback Alandise Harris and would later fall to No. 1 Conway in the semifinals (44-43). Fun fact: Head coach Brian Ross served as an assistant at Rogers for six seasons from 2008-13 where he also coached his current assistant, Coach Surly, a 2012 graduate of RHS. The state tournament will be hosted at Bentonville West High School in Centerton. 2019 6A Boys State Tournament Schedule Wednesday, Feb. 27 Game 2 Springdale Har-Ber vs. Cabot, 2:30 p.m. Game 4 North Little Rock vs. Springdale, 5:30 p.m. Game 6 FS Northside vs. Bentonville West, 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28 Game 8 Rogers vs. LR Central, 2:30 p.m. Game 9 Bryant vs. Winner Game 2, 5:30 p.m. Game 10 Bentonville vs. Winner Game 4, 8:30 p.m.
The Tigers will head to Bentonville West next week for the 6A State Tournament, but that didn't mean looking past the regular-season finale. Central took down Catholic on the road, 41-34, putting the Tigers on a two-game win streak. Head coach Brian Ross wanted the Tigers to treat the game as a win-or-go home situation. The Rockets draw similarities to Central's first-round opponent Rogers, particularly in 3-point shooting. "Whatever it takes to win a game, we wanted to do just that," Ross said. Senior guard AJ Williams led the Tigers in scoring with 16 points.
It was a memorable night for five senior Tigers. Little Rock Central defeated Fort Smith Southside, 65-51, on senior night and clinched its postseason birth in the 6A State Tournament. Rajhon McIntosh scored a team-high 15 points along with 3 rebounds, 3 assists and two steals to help lead the Tigers to a much-needed conference victory. "I felt like I needed to do whatever I could do to get my team up and going," McIntosh said. "Give them great energy and keep doing what I do best." The Tigers' five seniors have started the majority of this year's games and didn't treat senior night any different; they just wanted to win, especially with playoff basketball ahead. "When you've got five seniors on the floor right there, they don't want to spend their senior night in a bad way," he said. "They wanted to come out and win and make a statement. I didn't have to fire them up. They came out fired up. They're competitive guys, they came out hungry." The Tigers will face Catholic to wrap up the regular season on Friday. Special thanks to our senior class for all they've done for our program and Tiger Basketball alum Carlos Collier of Supa Kool Apparel for providing this year's senior gifts.
Make it four wins in a row for the Tigers. In what was a low-scoring game, Central's defense shutdown Catholic to give the Tigers a 38-28 victory. "We need to play better on offense but we don't care what the score is as long as we have got more points than they do at the end." AJ Williams led the Tigers with 16 points and was clutch from the free-throw line. Central's defense held Catholic to 4-24 from the field in the first half. "Credit to my kids not getting their heads down and giving up. They just stayed the course and kept trying to get better one day at a time and here we are right back i the middle of things halfway through conference play." The Tigers loos forward to having a full week to prepare for a trip across the river when they face rival North Little Rock on Friday, Feb. 1.