In a game that was tightly contested to the end, the Centennial High School Huskies claimed the 2019 King Cotton Holiday Classic Championship Monday as they downed the NSU University Sharks 62-48.

Centennial, out of Corona, California came in ranked No. 7 in the country by and advanced to the finals by defeating Bryant 61-52 and Jacksonville 58-54, led by Head Coach Joshua Giles.

The Sharks out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and led by Head Coach Ron Oliver advanced to the finals by taking down Parkview 73-61, and gaining a 62-48 win over Orr Academy.

The Huskies and Sharks came out in an extended match-up 2-3 zone on defense. The Sharks attacked the middle of the zone by getting to the rack instead of settling for jumpers. For the Huskies, junior Paris Dawson showed poise from the point guard position as he conducted the offense.

After missing the first two games of the tournament, NSU sophomore Jett Howard showed his long range ability by drilling the first three of the game. However, Dawson answered with a wing three of his own to keep up the efficiency from deep that he’s shown throughout the tournament.

The big man matchup between NSU sophomore Taylor Hendricks and Sharks senior Mason Machado proved to be one to watch for as they both established themselves inside.

After one quarter of play, NSU held a slim two-point lead over Centennial.

Both teams began the second quarter trading three pointers. Then it was Dawson knocking down his second triple of the game as the ball movement around the perimeter was precise for the Huskies.

NSU had the size advantage down low, but Centennial’s perimeter play was the equalizer early on that kept them in it.

A highly competitive first half ended with NSU senior Roger McFarlane driving the lane and banking one in to beat the buzzer. The Sharks took a 28-23 lead over the Huskies into halftime.

NSU out-rebounded Centennial 23-11 in the first half, and 12 of those were offensive. Those second chances were the difference in the game at the intermission. Neither team attempted a free throw in the first half.

NSU senior forward Jace Howard opens the second half with a corner three. McFarlane followed up a couple plays later with a two hand slam off of an offensive rebound.

The Sharks ability to control the board continued to prove to be the difference at the 4:35 mark of the third quarter as they held an eight point lead. Centennial responded by going on an 8-3 run to make it a one possession game.

In the final minute of the third quarter NSU scored four unanswered to take a 44-38 lead into the final quarter of play. Hendricks continued to clean up the glass, and he was 4-4 from the free throw line.

Huff opened the fourth with his second three of the game, and he was followed by senior Aaron Wadman with a layup to make it five straight points for Centennial. The Huskies were much more aggressive on defense, diving on the floor for loose balls, and not giving anything up in transition. The Huskies took a one-point lead with 5:41 to play.

NSU regained control with a three point play converted by Jace Howard as he was fouled while making a layup.

That’s when Centennial responded with a 7-0 run to take a five point lead with 3:07 to play in the game, forcing Oliver to call a timeout.

After that timeout, Centennial didn’t let up and a couple of steals gave them the chance for points off of turnovers and they capitalized. Leading 60-53, Giles called for timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, Centennial took full control by scoring four straight to officially put it out of reach.

For NSU, Taylor Hendricks had a team-high 20 points.

Championship MVP Paris Dawson for Centennial finished with a team-high 17 points and six assists.

Memphis Wooddale 68 Little Rock Parkview 62

In other games Monday, The Memphis Wooddale Cardinals picked up their second win in the 2019 King Cotton Holiday Classic Monday as they downed the Little Rock Parkview Patriots 68-62 in the final game of the National Division’s losers bracket.

Wooddale suffered a three point loss on opening night, but responded with a big win over Bryant. Parkview came into the game in search of their first win in the 2019 King Cotton Holiday Classic.

The Cardinals came out with a strong start, led by Johnathan Lawson who accounted for 13 of their first 16 points.

The Patriots sputtered on both ends as they struggled with Wooddale across the board. After the first quarter the Cardinals were on top of the Patriots 19-8.

Parkview picked things up to start the second quarter, allowing them to stop Wooddale from widening the margin. Parkview sophomore forward Cameron Wallace ran the floor for two breakaway two-hand slams in transition to energize his team.

The Patriots outscored Wooddale 20-12 in quarter two, but the Cardinals maintained a 31-28 lead going into halftime.

Both teams traded baskets throughout the third quarter, but Wooddale stayed on top as they outscored Parkview 6-2 in the final two minutes.

Scoring was limited for both ends in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter. With 4:29 to play Wooddale led 55-49

From there, it was a back and forward affair with Parkview closing the gap as close as three points.

However, time wasn’t on their side in the end.

Wooddale was led by Johnathan Lawson who recorded 27 points, and Jalen Brown who scored 22.

Pine Bluff 56. Dollarway 36

And Pine Bluff downed Dollarway 56 to 36 in a matchup of cross town teams.

After each dropped their first two games in the King Cotton Holiday Classic, the Dollarway Cardinals and the Pine Bluff Zebras were looking to end on a good note Monday

The Cardinals kept it close for a quarter but the Zebras widened the margin and didn’t look back as they gained the victory.

Pine Bluff sophomore guard Troy’reon Ramos knocked down back-to-back three pointers to get the Zebras going offensively. For Dollarway, their scrappy defense paid off early, and they were able to get to the free throw line on offense.

Ramos knocked down his third three of the first quarter and after the quarter, the Zebras held a 17-12 lead.

Pine Bluff kept knocking down three pointers to start the second period as junior Armand Buckhanan and junior Jalen Tatum hit one each. After a Jordan Harris layup, the Zebras opened their largest lead at 11 with 5:00 to play in the first half.

The Zebras took advantage of Dollarway’s sloppy play that led to 8 first half turnovers.

Pine Bluff outscored Dollarway 19-7 in the second quarter to open up a 17 point advantage heading into the break.

Dollarway went on a 10-2 run coming out of halftime, and Zebra Coach Billy Dixon called timeout to slow the pace.

After the timeout, Pine Bluff senior guard Logan Smith and Ramos knocked down two consecutive triples to push the deficit back to 15.

Heading into the fourth, Dollarway had an uphill climb as they trailed 44-31.

Just when Dollarway looked as if they could inch back in it, Smith caught fire for Pine Bluff as he went on a 5-0 run with a three pointer and a pull up baseline jump shot. Moments later Smith officially put it out of reach with his fifth three of the game

Logan Smith led all scorers with a game-high 23 points.