Three Region 8 basketball teams will play in 2011 Arkansas Hoops Challenge

LITTLE ROCK (Vype Magazine) - Christmas comes early for Arkansas prep basketball fans. The second annual Arkansas Hoops Challenge tips off Sunday, December 18 at 11 a.m. with eight games set at Hall High School.

Admission for a day pass is $10 for adults and $5 for students.

The second game features defending 2A State Champions East Poinsett County against Siloam Springs. EPC defends its title without one its better players in school history in Arkansas freshman Ky Madden. However, Arkansas senior football recruit A.J. Turner returns in the middle with dynamic junior guard Jammar Sturdivant, who earned all-state tournament team honors last spring. New Panthers coach Tim Stewart turns to 6-8 junior Payton Henson to lead his club. Arkansas State and Missouri State have offered scholarships. Other schools showing interest are: UALR, UCA, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Louisiana Tech, Oral Roberts, Belmont, Army, Utah State, and Yale.

The biggest of the big men — Fayetteville 6-foot-10, 245-pound junior Tyler McCullough and the Bulldogs tangle with Jonesboro. McCullough, has an offer from Nebraska and interest from others. Jonesboro counters with one of state's better sophomores — Kahron Ross, a 5-10, 160-pound point guard.

Defending 7A champion Little Rock Hall meets Forrest City. One of the top prospects from the 2013 class, Bobby Portis of Hall clashes with the top recruit in the Class of 2014 — 6-9 sophomore Trey Thompson. Portis, a 6-foot-9 forward, has already committed to Arkansas and Thompson has offers from Arkansas and Florida.

Arkansas Hoops Challenge Schedule - Sunday, December 18th

12:20 p.m.: East Poinsett County (2A) vs. Siloam Springs (5A)

4:20 p.m.: Jonesboro (6A) vs. Fayetteville (7A)

7 p.m.: Forrest City (5A) vs. Little Rock Hall (7A)