Building towards the future is the emphasis for North Pulaski Coach Roy Jackson in this last week of the basketball season.
When it was evident two weeks ago that the Falcons (9-14, 3-10 5A-Central) were eliminated from making the state tournament, the direction was shifted and Jackson started letting his young guys get some playing time.
"The younger guys are getting better in practice," Jackson said. "I want them to get in the games to see how what it is like."
North Pulaski is on a six-game losing skid, and Jackson wants a victory but the things that have plagued the Falcons all year continue. Last Friday, they lost to Sylvan Hills, 51-45. This past Tuesday, they suffered a 60-35 setback to Little Rock McClellan. Both contests had the same theme.
"We get behind and have to catch up," Jackson said. "We haven’t been coming out mentally ready to play and aren’t doing the things we should be doing. We also have trouble putting the ball in the hole."
At McClellan on Tuesday, the Falcons fell behind 19-11 after the first period. They were able to reduce that margin to 28-23 at the half after outscoring McClellan, 12-9, in the second period. The third quarter doomed the Falcons as they were outscored, 20-0.
Gaining the momentum right before the half, North Pulaski couldn’t carry that over to the third period. After McClellan went on a quick 10-0 run, Jackson finished the quarter with his young players.
"We made adjustments and they didn’t do what we showed them," Jackson said. "The younger kids got an opportunity for some playing time. I wanted them to get a feel for the game. They are our future."
Tonight, the Falcons end the season with a rescheduled contest with Mills at home. Jackson would like to see the season end on a positive note with a stop to the slump. After Tuesday’s game, he stressed to the seniors that Thursday is their chance to finish the season as winners.