First-year Central Arkansas Christian boys coach Matt Hall has said all along his plan has been to have the Mustangs playing their best late in the season, and it looks like they’re there.
CAC took a pair of wins last week, over Arkansas Baptist, 60-52, and Nashville, 41-24, to improve to 8-12 overall, 6-3 in the 7-4A. The Mustangs were alone in second place behind Arkadelphia heading into the week.
"We’ve said we want to be playing our best basketball this time of year, and we’re getting there," Hall said Sunday. "This is a very, very big week for us. With three games, without question, this is the biggest week of the year so far."
Arkansas Baptist prevailed in the first meeting, 50-45. CAC survived Nashville the first time by just 39-35.
"We’re so much better than we were," Hall said. "We played (Arkansas Baptist) before Christmas, and we’re a completely different team now. We’re gelling better and the kids have a better understanding of their roles and what we want them to do. Everything was new — a new coach for a bunch of kids who’d never played before. Now they’re starting to understand what we want them to do."
The Mustangs led both games pretty much start to finish. Against Baptist, Davis Allen hit a season-high 24 points with "six or seven 3s," Hall said. Stephen Flanigan recorded a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds.
Against Nashville, Joseph Strange had 13 points; Eric Bentley added 11.
"Defensively, we played extremely well," Hall said of the effort against the Scrappers. "If you hold people to 24 points, you should win every time."
A Tuesday game at Pulaski Robinson was postponed because of inclement weather and CAC will play host to Malvern on Thursday and Bauxite on Friday.
Malvern survived a double-overtime meeting with the Mustangs two weeks ago, 65-62.
"We’ve lost to them in overtime and double overtime this year," Hall said of the Leopards. "We were up nine going into the fourth quarter at their place (two weeks ago). We have circled that one.
"At Bauxite, we hit a buzzer beater to win (52-50). Now we’ve got a really good chance to get a 2 seed (for the district tournament), which would be huge for us. That means we’re going to have to take care of business this week."
The Mustangs will celebrate Senior Night on Tuesday, Feb. 11, when league-leading Arkadelphia visits Mustang Mountain. The Badgers won a close one the first time, 62-59, but lost to Arkansas Baptist last week.