Now that the first round of 5A-Central conference play is over, perhaps the North Pulaski Falcons can end their six-game losing streak and get off to a fresh start.
Friday, the Falcons (8-10, 1-6) begin the second half at West Helena. North Pulaski’s lone conference victory was an 80-70 triumph over West Helena. The Falcons have had their chances at success and have been in close games but haven’t been able to finish and seal the wins.
Last Friday, North Pulaski lost 67-66 in overtime to Sylvan Hills. This past Tuesday, the Falcons suffered their worst conference defeat, a 64-48 loss, to Little Rock McClellan.
"At Sylvan Hills, we were right there," North Pulaski Coach Roy Jackson said. "We had three opportunities at the end but made critical turnovers and mistakes."
For a while at McClellan, the Falcons stayed with the Lions. In the first quarter, North Pulaski owned the largest lead of the period at 12-7. Five lead changes occurred before the Lions had a 19-17 edge going into the second stanza. The Falcons knotted the contest at 19-all and 21-all before McClellan ended the quarter with a 21-12 run. Halfway through the first quarter, sophomore guard RaShawn Langston aggravated a groin injury and did not play the rest of the game.
"Not having Langston and one less ball handler hurt us," Jackson said. "We were doing well and playing hard, then they made a run at us, and we couldn’t stop it. McClellan will do that to you, and it is hard to simulate that pressure in practice."
Jackson said he was pleased with the way the younger players performed. Turnovers and easy missed shots plagued the Falcons throughout the contest.
"We were rushing our shots and not spotting up," Jackson said. "We also didn’t make good decisions and passes."
Langston was the leading scorer at Sylvan Hills with 18 points, and seniors Steven Farrior and Arren Scruggs added 14 and 11 points, respectively. Against McClellan, junior De’Marik Brown was the only Falcon in double digits with 11 points.
Jackson knows playing at West Helena will be tough. Key will be North Pulaski’s ability to take care of the ball.