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Arkansas Razorbacks target J.J. Andrews' birthday wish comes true with LRCA's state title, MVP award

Andrews scored 19 points in Thursday's 71-56 victory over Farmington

HOT SPRINGS — Most 16-year-olds want a car for their birthday. 

JaShawn "J.J." Andrews of Little Rock Christian Academy wanted something different: A state championship victory.

Andrews got his wish when the Warriors (28-7) defeated Farmington (35-3) 71-56 for the Class 4A state boys basketball championship before 4,122 fans at Bank OZK Arena.

J.J. Andrews is one of the top recruits in the nation in the 2026 class. (Photo by Tommy Land)

J.J. Andrews is one of the top recruits in the nation in the 2026 class. (Photo by Tommy Land)

And on top of winning the state tittle for the second year in a row, Andrews was named MVP off the state finals when he finished with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists.

While winning MVP honors was nice, Andrews was happy he would help lead the Warriors to another state championship and said that given the way the Warriors played, any of his teammates could have won the award.

And he had a point. senior Landren Blocker, who signed with Louisiana Tech in the fall, finished with 21 points, 6 rebounds and had 3 big dunks. Senior Jameel Wesley finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists and made 4-of-11 three-pointers.

Andrews, who played on last year’s team which defeated Blytheville 74-54 for the state championship, was happy to help play a significant role in helping the Warriors repeat.

“For me personally, I came in as a freshman, my nerves were kind of high last year. I trusted my teammates and we built a big bond,” he said. “This one means everything, we worked hard to go day in and day out.

“We had a target on our back. We had a lot of people who said a lot of things about his this game will go. What are they going to say now?

In attendance was Andrews father Shawn Andrews, the former Arkansas all-American and Philadelphia Eagles. All-Pro offensive lineman. The Andrews was proud of the job his son and the rest of the Warriors did.

“It’s amazing how hard he works and how much he loves his teammates,” Shawn Andrews said. “The fact that it’s his 16th birthday makes it so sweet.

“This team is very talented and when they play together, they’re hard to beat.”

Shawn Andrews said on Wednesday when the Warriors had a sendoff before heading to Hot Springs that he had tears in his eyes. After watching his son and his teammates perform at a high level, he was a lot more relaxed on Thursday night.

J.J. Andrews was asked afterwards if he planned on returning to LRCA for his junior year or attending a prep school similar to what former LRCA standout and current Arkansas Razorback Laden Blocker did after the 2021-2022 season. Andrews said he plans on staying at LRCA.

Andrews, who is ranked No. 18 nationally by ESPN in the Class of 2026, is a consensus four-star recruit and already has major offers from programs such as Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas Tech, 

J.J. Andrews celebrated his 16th birthday with a state title and an MVP award. (Photo by Tommy Land)

J.J. Andrews celebrated his 16th birthday with a state title and an MVP award. (Photo by Tommy Land)

Head coach Kyle Pennington said the win was a team effort with Andrews, Wesley and Blocker combining for 54 points, a defensive effort that held the Cardinals to 5-of-26 shooting on three-pointers and a rebounding effort that saw them control the boards 34-25

“I’m really proud of our guys. It was hard this year. Back-to-back is very hard to do,” said Pennington. “These guys here did it the first time and did it the second time and I couldn’t be prouder of these young men and our seniors., We want to give God all the glory for this. You see the joy these kids play with, with a smile on their face and picking their teammates up. It’s unbelievable and when they get into Hot Springs Convention Center, for some reason, they play their best game of the year, and they did it again tonight.”

“It takes a long road. We played a tough non-conference schedule to get ourselves ready. it’s a testament to these guys. They played music like they normally do in the locker room and nobody was tight. I was proud of the way they handled themselves.”

--Jeff Halpern | @SBLiveArk