Yo’Myris Morris holds scholarships from almost every college in the SEC, but she just wants to have fun playing high school basketball.
The junior scored 21 points for North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Arkansas) in a 68-56 win over Kickapoo in the White Division championship game of the 2016 Pink and White Lady Classic Friday at the O’Reilly Family Event Center. The win marks back-to-back Pink and White Lady Classic championships for North Little Rock.
“It’s an honor to be able to go back-to-back. I feel like as a team we played hard and we contributed all together,” Morris said. “It’s exciting, it’s interesting.”
The Charging Wildcats were the only team to defeat Crane last season during the Pirates’ run to a fourth consecutive Class 2 state championship. North Little Rock went on to win the Arkansas 7A state title.
“It’s a great place to go play. Women’s basketball is a big deal here, you can tell. The community is phenomenal,” North Little Rock coach Daryl Fimple said. “Our success here last year led to us to a state championship down the line, I firmly believe that.”
Missouri and Arkansas are among the college teams recruiting Morris, who is staying quiet about her recruitment. Her silence is deliberate.
“I haven’t really wanted to talk about (recruiting) because next year I just want to have my final decision and it just be that. I don’t want people trying to stick their nose inside what’s going on,” Morris said.
North Little Rock got 16 points from Amber Hawkison and 11 points from Mackenzie Tillman.
Morris said Kickapoo (10-3) caused trouble for North Little Rock, “driving the ball a lot. They were a really physical team.”
Jordan Wersinger led Kickapoo, the reigning Missouri Class 5 state champions, with 25 points. University of California Irvine signee Jordan Sanders scored 17 points for the Chiefs.
“Both of those kids are great players, they shoot the basketball so well. You know, four games in four days for anybody is extremely tough, so our hats off to them too,” Fimple said. “It’s a very challenging tournament just playing four games against anybody, but very challenging when you’re playing somebody like Kickapoo.”
Kickapoo coach Jim Pendergrass believes North Little Rock’s depth presented a challenge for his team.
“They are so athletic at every position and they are so quick, and you combine that with their skill level. They have a lot of kids that can shoot the basketball and they’re a very well disciplined team, very well coached,” Pendergrass said. “It’s hard to break them and it’s hard for them to beat themselves.”
Pendergrass gave the Chiefs three days off to rest. Kickapoo hosts Lebanon Jan. 5 for its next game.
“I’m really proud of the way the team played. They’re tired. They hung in and kept fighting,” Pendergrass said. “We kept trying to hang in there and just had difficulty trying to stop (North Little Rock) sometimes.”
Lebanon senior Kelsey Winfrey received the Pink and White Lady Classic’s 2016 Jane A. Meyer Award, which is given to the player who best exemplifies the spirit of basketball with a combination of outstanding play and character traits.
North Little Rock 68, Kickapoo 56
At O’Reilly Family Event Center
North Little Rock 15-19-22-12—68
NLR 34-26 HALF, 56-41 END 3Q
Kickapoo— Jordan Wersinger 25, Jordan Sanders 17, Katrice Jackson 8, Jaden Wiley 3, Hannah Collins 3
North Little Rock—Yo’Myris Morris 21, Amber Hawkison 16, Mackenzie Tillman 11, Kennady Tucker 9, Demyla Brown 7, Olivia Sadler 2, An’nyah Pettus 2.