Scoring mark set at King Cotton

Tounde Yessoufou set a King Cotton Holiday Classic record with 46 points and added 10 points Thursday in leading St. Joseph (Santa Maria, Calif.) to a 94-77 victory over Duncanville (Texas).

The West African-born Yessoufou, a 6-foot-5 junior shooting guard, said he “absolutely” woke up feeling he’d have a great game. It turned out to be a career high.

“When I wake up, I tell myself, my inner dog in me, to keep fighting and get a dub,” he said.

Yessoufou shot 19 for 34 from the floor while playing the entire game. Yessoufou made 4 of 10 3-point shots and 4 of 7 free throws, while also coming up with two steals.

Julius Price scored 30 points and 9 rebounds as St. Joseph’s only other double-digit scorer. Price made 10 of 14 shots from the floor and 7 of 7 free throws.

B.J. Davis-Ray scored 26 and Bugg Edwards had 25 for Duncanville.

According to composite rankings, Yessoufou is a fivestar player ranked No. 16 in the nation. He broke a King Cotton single-game record set by Brandon Miller of Cane Ridge (Antioch, Tenn.), who scored 33 against North Little Rock in 2021.

Yessoufou had 22 points at halftime after starting the game 5 for 6.

“This whole tournament has taught me to just keep fighting, no matter what,” he said. “Yes, obviously we got a loss [to D.C.’s Gonzaga College High on Wednesday], but just keep my confidence up and keep playing.”

Benton 71, Silsbee (Texas) 65

Benton overcame an early deficit Thursday to pick up its first win at King Cotton by knocking off last year’s Creed Bracket winner Silsbee.

Silsbee led 25-15 early in the second quarter before the Panthers got going with a 15-5 run to tie the game. Caleb Knight tied the game with a free throw. Silsbee’s Dre’lon Miller hit a lay-up to retake the lead, but Knight answered with a 3-pointer to give Benton a 33-32 halftime lead, its first of the game. Silsbee briefly retook the lead in the third quarter, but A.D. Gray’s lay-up gave Benton the lead for good.

Silsbee’s Jared Harris led all scorers with 29 points, with Miller adding 20 points and 10 rebounds. Gray led Benton with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Terrion Burgess had 15 points and 12 boards.

Booker T. Washington (Texas) 79, Archbishop Wood (Pa.) 77

Houston’s Booker T. Washington overcame a big first-half deficit to take down Warminster, Pa.’s Archbishop Wood.

Wood led by as much as 42-24 late in the first half, but Washington came roaring back with a 27-point third quarter. Abraham Kirksey Jr. tied it briefly, but Wood’s Deuce Maxey hit a couple of late shots to give the Vikings a 59-55 lead after the third quarter. The Eagles opened the fourth on a 5-0 run with Odis Carter Jr. giving Washington a 60-59 lead with a 3-point play, the Eagles’ first lead since 5-4. Wood tied the game four times but never led again.

Carter scored 25 points with 10 assists, while Washington teammate Chris Mc-Dermott had 25 points and 24 rebounds. Jalil Bethea led Wood with 23 points, while Josh Reed had 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Little Rock Christian 65, McDonough (Ga.) 50

Little Rock Christian Academy shot 53% from the field and outscored Mc-Donough 24-10 in the second quarter to separate itself in a 15-point victory.

Landren Blocker scored 20 points, totaled 8 rebounds and had 4 assists for Christian, the defending 4A state champions. Jemel Wesley had 19 points and 5 rebounds, Jo-Jo Holloway scored 10 and J.J. Andrews nearly recorded a double-double with 9 points and 9 assists.

For McDonough, Nigel Thomas had 16 points, Keenan Gray 12 points and Zaiden Greene 10.

St. Frances (Md.) 60, Sandy Creek (Ga.) 46

Baltimore’s St. Frances Academy moved to 2-0 in King Cotton by knocking off Tyrone, Georgia’s Sandy Creek on Thursday.

Sandy Creek led 15-11 after the first quarter, but St. Frances dominated the second quarter 15-3 to take control of the game. Sandy Creek’s Jacobi Robinson didn’t score in the first half but gave the Patriots their first 7 points of the third quarter to trim the deficit to 30-25.

The Panthers kept it from getting any closer, finishing the third on a 12-2 run. St. Frances saw the game out in the fourth.

Treng Egbiremolen and Josiah Legree each scored 15 points for St. Frances, with Cameren Fleming adding 13 points and 10 rebounds. Robinson led Sandy Creek with 15 points, and Amari Brown added 13.

Wednesday: Little Rock Central 68, Archbishop Wood 62

L i tt l e Ro c k Ce n t ra l wrapped up Wednesday’s action by knocking off Archbishop Wood.

Central led 12-4 early, but Wood chipped away. The Vikings never had a big run but stopped the Tigers from having one.

M i l a n D e a n h i t two 3-pointers in the final minute of the first half to give Wood a 30-29 halftime lead, the Vikings’ first since 2-0. The teams traded the lead throughout the second half, but Central managed to finish down the stretch.

Annor Boateng gave Central its exclamation point with a one-handed slam plus a foul.

Boateng scored a game-high 23 points, and Luke Moore added 20 for Central. Jalil Bethea and Josh Reed each scored 18 for Wood, and Dean added 17.

Central played Westminster Academy of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., late Thursday.

Balentine honored late Wednesday

Just months after the first King Cotton was staged, the Pine Bluff Convention Center regained national attention when No. 1-ranked University of North Carolina paid a visit.

It wasn’t then-junior Michael Jordan, who scored 21 points, that stole the show before NBC cameras on Feb. 12, 1984. It was Charles Balentine.

The University of Arkansas forward saved a pass from going out of bounds on the baseline and banked a jumper with 4 seconds left, giving the Razorbacks a 65-64 win to hand the Tar Heels their first loss of the season. The game has become known in Arkansas circles as Balentine’s Day.

Balentine, who died Aug. 2 at age 60, was honored before Wednesday night’s finale at King Cotton. His wife Marie received a crystal trophy honoring Balentine’s heroics of almost 40 years ago.

Sporting a Newport Greyhounds sweater honoring her late husband’s high school alma mater, Marie Balentine was on hand with her granddaughter Avery Alexander, Charles’ mother Fran Balentine and UA basketball greats U.S. Reed, Ernie Murry, Joe Kleine and Todd Day. Kleine, a teammate of Balentine’s at Arkansas, immediately hugged Fran Balentine after a video of the 1984 game was shown on the Jumbotron.