Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Tim Cooper’s didn’t expect history to be made when he covered the first round of a Little Rock prep basketball tournament on Monday night. In the midst of back-to-back games, he headed to the locker room to interview coaches from the first game. He ended up waiting a few minutes longer than expected.
Little did Cooper know that by the time he returned to the floor, three and a half minutes into the second game, the home team L.R. Hall High would be up 28-0. It didn’t promise to get much better. Little Rock Fair, which hasn’t won since the 2008-09 season, dressed out only six players for Monday’s season opener. None of the girls on its normal 11-person roster are taller than 5-8. Hall, meanwhile, has one of the state’s strongest teams boasting possibly the nation’s top prep point guard in Tyler Scaife. What’s more, Hall had built its early lead without even employing a full-court defense.
With such a talent, size and depth disparity, “this game should have never been played,” Cooper said in a Tuesday interview with 103.7 FM’s “The Zone.” So, with any question of the eventual victor all but answered, the only remaining drama applied to when Fair would first score.
That drama lasted. And lasted.
Fair’s players had their shots, but more of their attempts hit the shot clock above the backboard than the rim, Cooper recalled on 103.7 FM.
“I told our girls to ‘play soft,’ and that’s something I don’t like to do,” Hall Coach Selita Farr told Cooper for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “I don’t like to ask kids to turn their game on and off like that.” Minutes into the game, Farr told her players to defend only the area inside the three-point line.
Hall built a 58-0 halftime lead, but cooled off a bit in the second half due to a continuously running clock, which was initiated in late in the first half.
At the end of the game, Cooper recalled Hall allowing Fair an uncontested layup attempt. It was missed. “This game should have never been played,” Cooper told his radio interviewers.
On Wednesday, he wrote in the Democrat-Gazette that the 88-0 final score doesn’t take the most pummeled cake for most severe beating in Arkansas prep basketball history. In 1999, Palestine-Wheatley (alma mater of former Hog Carl Baker) beat Marvell 123-6.
On a national scale, it appears private Christian schools have administered the most severe beatings. In 2009, The Covenant School (Dallas, Tx.) defeated Dallas Academy 100-0. Last season, in Utah, Christian Heritage High School took the cudgel to West Ridge Academy 108-3.e pummeled cake for most severe thrashing in Arkansas prep basketball history. In 1999, Palestine-Wheatley (former Hog Carl Baker’s alma mater) beat Marvell 123-6.
Still, Cooper believes that if Hall had kept up the same kind of intensity shown in the opening minutes against Fair, the Lady Warriors could have scored 200 points.