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SBLive Arkansas final Top 25 high school boys basketball rankings (March 14)

By Kyle Sutherland,

2023-03-15

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By Kyle Sutherland | Photo by Tommy Land

All season, there was no shortage of chaos from thrilling nonconference matchups and through state tournament play. Jonesboro added to its dynasty by winning its first 6A state championship as a new member of the class, Pine Bluff looked like the team to beat in 5A all season and finished the job. Little Rock Christian also got the last laugh, taking the 4A state championship under a new coach.

Here are the SBLive Arkansas final Top 25 boys rankings of the 2022-23 season.

1. Jonesboro (30-3)

Wes Swift has set the standard for Arkansas prep basketball and proved it once again leading the Hurricane to their third-consecutive state title, fifth in the past seven years, despite having to adjust to moving up to the state’s largest classification this season.

2. Springdale (25-9)

Sure, there were moments of inconsistency for the Red Dogs this year but there was no question they had the pieces to make a state title run. They did just that winning six of their final seven games leading up to the state finals and gave Jonesboro all it wanted.

3. Pine Bluff (25-7)

Head coach Billy Dixon mentioned the challenging season it was for the Zebras, but they were able to overcome the adversity to clinch the schools’ first title since 2015 and 14th all-time which tied Parkview for the third-most in state history.

4. Cabot (21-9)

Logan Bailey and his staff simply did an incredible job of coaching the Panthers this season. This team was 9-18 (5-9 in 6A-Central) in 2021-22 and did a complete 180 coming up just shy of shocking Jonesboro in the state semifinals.

5. Bentonville West (26-4)

The Wolverines were doubted as one of the state’s top teams all season despite making it through a brutal non-conference schedule 10-1 and won the 6A-West before falling to eventual runner-up Springdale, whom they defeated twice in the regular season.

6. Lake Hamilton (27-5)

A championship for the first time in 60 years did not happen, but the Wolves played up to their potential all season. Long time point guard Zac Pennington and post Charter Harris will depart, but Ty Robinson and up-and-coming Labraun Christon expect to have the Wolves as a top contender again in 2023-24.

7. Little Rock Christian (27-8)

If we’re being honest, pretty much no one outside of LRCA’s campus predicted that the Warriors would win a state championship, let alone do it in dominating fashion. That being said, there is no question that the pieces were there and it all came together at the right time.

8. Central (24-7)

The Tigers certainly feel like they missed out on a big opportunity with the talent and depth they had, but the majority does return for next season though Gavin Snyder and Savaughn Smith will not be easy to replace in the backcourt.

9. Blytheville (34-2)

As the favorite in Class 4A essentially since last season ended, the Chickasaws struggled to get much going against the athleticism and consistency of Little Rock Christian in the state finals.

10. Marion (24-7)

Marion lost three outstanding players to transfer, dealt with key injuries, and played a load of underclassmen, but still managed to make it to the 5A quarterfinals. Look out for them next year and beyond, they might just be the squad to beat in Class 5A for the foreseeable future.

11. Farmington (35-1)

The season ended one game sooner than the Cardinals would have hoped, but winning 35 games and keeping the host team, and at the time 4A favorite, on its heels provides plenty to be proud of. With Layne Taylor returning, one of the top players in the 2024 class, Farmington won’t be going anywhere.

12. Fayetteville (21-10)

The Purple Dogs turned up a notch in the back half of the year following an 11-7 start winning 10 of their final 13 games, including a state tournament first round contest over defending champion North Little Rock, before falling to Bentonville West by four points.

13. Har-Ber (20-8)

Dropping the final two games of the season is not indicative of the successful year the Wildcats had. They finished second in the 6A-West and from January 17 through February 21 won 10-of-13 games that included a victory over state runner-up Springdale.

14. North Little Rock (17-10)

Growing pains were expected coming into the season after losing two McDonald’s All-Americans, but it was still a good season for the Charging Wildcats overall despite it ending with them losing five of their final eight games.

15. Bentonville (21-9)

The Tigers ended the season looking for answers as they dropped five of their last seven contests after finishing in the state finals a season ago.

16. Fort Smith Northside (18-13)

The Grizzlies improved from their .500 campaign in 2021-22 but there were most certainly games they would like to get back having lost five contests by five points or less, including the 60-57 first round state tournament loss to Cabot.

17. Bryant (20-11)

It was a frustrating end for the Hornets after coming into 2023 15-3 then losing eight of 13 games to end the season including a tough two-point loss to Bentonville in the first round of state.

18. Nettleton (24-7)

17 first half turnovers somehow did not doom the Raiders in the 5A quarterfinals against eventual state champion Pine Bluff, but the Zebras ultimately became too much down the stretch,

19. Greene County Tech (24-9)

This season for the Eagles was a true definition of roller coaster. They started 15-0, lost seven of nine games, then got hot at the right time winning seven of eight leading up to the 5A semifinals before falling to eventual champion Pine Bluff.

20. Harrison (22-10)

The 5A-West had a reputation of being down this year so it was unexpected how the first place Goblins would fare in the postseason. They proved the naysayers wrong and at one point looked like they would advance to the finals before the 2-3 Zone of Lake Hamilton gave them fits.

21. Maumelle (19-12)

Similar to Marion, Maumelle made noise in Class 5A primarily with underclassmen while making a state quarterfinal run. They will lose Addison Shelton, but with heralded pieces in Markalon Rochell, Jacob Lanier, and Jordan Harris to build around, special times could be on the horizon.

22. Hot Springs (20-9)

Antoni Lasker has built a firm program with the Trojans and the wire-to-wire finish with Harrison in the 5A quarterfinals was another example following a surge in the second half of the regular season.

23. Conway (15-14)

The Wampus Cats had some impressive moments under first year coach Marcus Adams, but the ending to the season was one they will use as a learning lesson after dropping their final six games and three of their past five before that.

24. Dardanelle (30-6)

One of the more under the radar teams in Class 4A, the Sand Lizards earned their way into the Power 25 after ending the year in the semifinals. Five of their six losses came to opponents that finished no worse than the quarterfinals of their respective state tournaments, two as state champions.

25. Magnolia (24-2)

The Panthers may not have finished as deep as they have become accustomed to in recent memory, but they claim the final spot in the 2022-23 Power 25 after falling in the quarterfinals to eventual 4A champions Little Rock Christian.

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