Hoping and half expecting a victory in the final two games of the year, North Pulaski Coach Stacy Dalmut was rewarded last Thursday in the Falcons’ final game of the year as they defeated Little Rock Mills.
"I was trying to remember," Dalmut said. "Our book was messed up, but we had 56 points and won by either two or four. It was great to end the season with a win."
This game was the complete opposite of the Falcons’ contest two days before against Little Rock McClellan. In that game, they lost by two points after leading the whole contest until the last three minutes. Against Mills, they trailed until pulling out the victory in the final four minutes.
"We started off slow, but in the second half, we turned it on," Dalmut said. "I told them they needed to put the pressure on and they did."
The Falcons finished the season with a 5-17 mark and 2-12 in 5A-Central competition. With the victory against Mills, North Pulaski didn’t finish last in the conference.
"They knew that going into the game, and they didn’t want to finish last," Dalmut said. "I also told them if they didn’t win I was going to quit."
Dalmut used that tactic in the Falcons’ other conference win against West Helena. Her personal goal was to get three victories, one more than last year. The five wins excites here.
"We at least doubled last year’s," she said. "We also scored more points every game that last year. For example, against Jacksonville last year, we would score 10 points. This year, it was 20-30 points."
The thing North Pulaski struggled with was the mental aspect of the game. Because they were used to losing, at times it was hard for the Falcons to get over that hump. Dalmut did see at the end of the season, the girls figured out they could win. Because she played several underclassmen and started freshmen and sophomores at times, she is hoping they don’t carry that mental factor with them. Dalmut knows it was hard for the seniors as they were the ones who didn’t experience much success.
Dalmut is looking forward to the future. One thing she’ll have to do is change her offense since she is losing her height. Fundamentals need to be improved, and she hopes by having the girls teach those at the feeder schools they’ll grasp the concept and learn the fundamentals.
"I took a few of my girls to the state finals (Tuesday)," Dalmut said. "They realized it’s different watching than playing. Kiarra (Evans, freshman) made the comment that someday they will be at state."
That is Dalmut’s hope, too.