Steve Quattlebaum has his first boys team ranked among the state’s best, according to one statewide newspaper’s high school rankings.
In Quattlebaum’s third season with the Mustangs, Central Arkansas Christian opened the week 13-5 overall and 6-0 in the 7-4A conference and ranked sixth in Class 4A. The Mustangs won three games last week: Nashville, 59-41; Malvern, 59-55; and Pulaski Robinson, 64-34. Their game at Ashdown was postponed because of weather and will be made up Saturday, Feb. 2.
They played Arkansas Baptist on Tuesday and will travel to Nashville on Friday, Bauxite on Saturday and Robinson on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
"I think we’re continuing to get better," Quattlebaum said. "We’ve still got some room for improvement. We still could be better defensively, and a lot of times we’ve had some lulls when we haven’t scored. We’ve still got some things to work on, but they’re always playing hard, and they’re very competitive.
"This will be another big week for us."
He said Sunday that Bauxite, with one loss, and Arkansas Baptist, with two, were the biggest threats to a potential Mustang conference title.
"We’ve got both of them this week," he said. "If we could somehow get three wins, it would go a long way to helping us win it. But they are three good teams, and two of the three are away, so it will be a challenge."
The first games with Nashville and Bauxite were postponed, necessitating the quick turnaround in scheduling.
"You have to do that a lot of times in district and regional tournaments," Quattlebaum said. "It’s not something you like to do, but it happens. It’s something we’ve got to adjust to."
Josh Holland had a big week, leading the Mustangs offensively in three games and scoring 82 points.
"We were lucky to get four or six points from him his sophomore year," Quattlebaum said. "He’s turned into a pretty good post player for us."
Last week against Nashville, Holland hit 13 of 15 free throws en route to a 25-point performance. Dylan Sherrill added 15 points. CAC led by six points at halftime and outscored the Scrappers in the second half, 30-20.
"That was a good win," Quattlebaum said. "They had beaten Arkadelphia just before they played us. They’re getting better. That’ll be a big game for us this week. They’re fighting for one of those fourth or fifth spots."
The win over Malvern was the third of the season for CAC. This time, the Mustangs led by six at the half and extended the lead to 20 points in the second half, but they couldn’t hold the big advantage.
"We ended up putting in some subs, and we didn’t finish the game very strong," Quattlebaum said. "They scored 26 in the fourth quarter and outscored us by 11. I was a little disappointed in the way we finished."
Holland repeated his 25-point performance. Sherrill added 12.
Holland scored a career-high 32 points in the win over Robinson. CAC led by eight points at the break, 29-21, and extended the lead in the second half, winning the fourth quarter, 22-3.
"We did a much better job of finishing that one," Quattlebaum said.