Tuesday night’s contest at Sylvan Hills was pivotal for North Pulaski. Win and the Falcons would be above .500 in conference play. Lose and they were below .500.
Unfortunately, the Falcons (8-8) suffered a 62-57 loss to the Bears and fell to 2-3 in the 5A-Central. However, they took a game on the road last Friday and defeated Little Rock Christian, 59-42.
"Tuesday was real important," North Pulaski Coach Roy Jackson said. "If we win, it keeps us going but a loss puts us in a bad situation. We could go in Friday 2-3 or it would be big if we were 3-2. We have an opportunity to do something, and then all of a sudden we are in the second round where things start to shake out."
In the loss to Sylvan Hills, junior guard Joe Aikens led the Falcons with 19 points. Freshman RaShawn Langston was the leading scorer against Little Rock Christian with 17 points, and Aikens chipped in 14. The contest against Little Rock Christian was the first time the Falcons had played a complete game in a while.
"We played hard, the kids stuck to the game plan, and it was working," Jackson said. "We played a lot of kids, and they didn’t have as much depth. We were up by two at halftime, but by the middle of the third quarter, I could see them (LRC) wearing down. We made steals and layups off their turnovers."
Until Tuesday, Sylvan Hills hadn’t won a conference game, but they have players back from last year’s state title team. Jackson knew that experience would be a plus for the Bears.
"They had Pulaski Academy on the ropes and got beat by three," he said. "There are no easy victories. You have to come and play."
Friday, North Pulaski hosts McClellan. Jacksonville and McClellan are the league leaders. Next week, the second half of the round robin starts. The Falcons’ home contest against Little Rock Mills was cancelled last week because of the weather and is rescheduled for Feb. 21
"We’ll have to come ready to play (Friday)," Jackson said. "We have to rebound and continue to play to our strengths."