Clarksville’s bid for a third straight state championship ended Saturday night at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.
Jacksonville broke a 27-all halftime tie with Clarksville and marched to a 52-44 victory in a 5A state boys basketball semifinal to close the five-day tournament in the arena. The Red Devils (24-4) have advanced to their third state championship game in the last five years and will take on Alma next weekend at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock.
Aaron Smith helped get Jacksonville going with a pair of three-point baskets in the first quarter and finished with a game-high 16 points. Keith Charleston and Khaleel Hart each scored eight for the Devils.
For Clarksville, Dederick Lee scored 12 points, Deven Simms had 10 and Freddy Lee added nine.
Jacksonville built a 38-32 lead after three quarters and kept its distance from Clarksville in a matchup of teams that were favored to win the championship. Jacksonville moved down to 5A this season after years of success in 6A, including the 2009 state title. Clarksville moved up to 5A after winning the past two 4A crowns.
Alma 67, Harrison 56
The Airedales qualified for their second state championship game in three years, pulling away from the Golden Goblins (22-9) late for the win.
Alma used the free-throw line to its advantage in the final period, nailing 10 of 10 free throws. The Airedales shot 20 of 30 at the line for the game, while the Goblins converted 13 of 16.
Austin Lee scored 22 points, hitting four of Alma’s nine three-point baskets in the process, to lead the team. Gage Jensen added 19 points and Brock Widders had 11 for Alma.
Harrison’s Alex Rose, who came off a 36-point performance in a quarterfinal win over Beebe, was held to 12 points Saturday. Six-foot-7 post Jackson Doshier led the Goblins with 13 points, and Jordan Grant scored 11.
Alma last won a state title in 2011.
Jacksonville 59, Huntsville 40
Jacksonville outscored Huntsville 23-3 in the second quarter, and the Lady Eagles never recovered in a 5A state girls semifinal.
Jessica Jackson scored 15 of her game-high 24 points during that big quarter. Keaundra Alcorn and Markela Bryles each added 10 points for the Lady Red Devils.
Miranda Dubberly had 16 points to lead Huntsville.