Jonesboro boys basketball preparing for third straight State Championship game

Hurricane will compete in 6A Title game Friday at 1:45 PM.
Hurricane will compete in 6A Title game Friday at 1:45 PM.(KAIT-TV)
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 7:52 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2023 at 9:47 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - It’s State Championship week in the Natural State. Seven NEA teams punched their ticket to Hot Springs over the weekend, including Jonesboro for the third straight season.

The Hurricane are fresh off of back-to-back 5A Championships, they’ll look to bring home the 6A Title this season after beating Cabot 40-38 in the semifinals.

“It’s a good experience, going into the year two times in a row and then going back a third time, it’s a great feeling,” senior guard Deion Buford-Wesson said. “We’ve all been playing with each other since we were little, like fourth grade. So we know how everybody plays on the team, their strengths and weaknesses and stuff like that.”

The 29-3 JHS squad will take on Springdale Friday at 1:45 PM. Head Coach Wes Swift says the team graduated a lot of key pieces last year, but that didn’t bother this year’s group.

“We kid all the time, we feel like there are games where we feel like we almost have to hold our team in the 30s to get a win,” Swift laughed. “It has kind of been a joke in the office and by God Saturday it came true, we had to hold them in the 30s... So defensively is where we hang our hats on.”

The Hurricane have smothered opponents defensively, holding teams to under 42 points per game, including 33 points per game in the playoffs.

They’ll face a Springdale team that Swift says has a dynamic backcourt.

“I think the biggest key is just guarding their two best players,” senior forward and Elon signee Isaac Harrell said. “And us really just playing our game, focusing on what we can control and just going out there and having fun. I think that’s another thing we need to do.”

Harrell and Buford-Wesson were a part of the past two trips to Hot Springs. It’s safe to say they know their roles on the team as leaders. Swift says role acceptance is a reason why Jonesboro is again playing for a State Championship.

“It’s these seniors providing the leadership that they’re supposed to and they’ve done that,” Swift said. “I’m glad to see them getting back to Hot Springs.”