After finishing fifth in the Summit Bank Spa City Shootout in Hot Springs last week, Central Arkansas Christian’s Mustangs put their 2-0 conference record on the line in 7-4A action this week.
Steve Quattlebaum’s team opened the week 9-5 overall after beating Hot Springs in overtime, 55-53, in the tournament’s fifth-place game.
"If we could get a couple of wins this week, it would be big," Quattlebaum said.
In the consolation game at Hot Springs, Dylan Sherrill hit the game-winning basket with 10.7 seconds left in the extra period. Josh Holland had 23 points; Sherrill added 13 and Travis Byrne recorded 11 points and eight rebounds.
"We played pretty well in that game," Quattlebaum said. "Hot Springs is a lot better than they were last year. We probably shouldn’t have gone to overtime with them; we had a little lead and let it get away. But it was a good win for us to finish that tournament off."
CAC played Bauxite on Tuesday and will play host to Arkadelphia on Friday and Nashville on Monday before traveling to Ashdown on Tuesday, Jan. 15. All are conference games.
"Arkadelphia was really good two years ago, but last year they weren’t that good," Quattlebaum said. "We beat them twice, but they’re off to a good start this year, and I think they’re probably the leader right now."
The Badgers, like the Mustangs, have beaten Arkansas Baptist. Quattlebaum said he thought his team would match up well with them.
"Based on what they had last year, and unless they’ve got some football kids or kids who didn’t play last year, but just from looking at the scores, it looks pretty good for us," he said.
The Nashville game was originally scheduled for the last playing date before Christmas, but the Scrappers had a conflict with a tournament, so the conference game was rescheduled.
"I wish we’d have gotten it in before New Year’s, but at least it’s at home," Quattlebaum said. "That helps. I know Bauxite’s beaten them. They haven’t traditionally been strong.
"Ashdown is the other team I haven’t seen, but (assistant) Coach (Cade) Smith saw them the other night when Baptist beat them. They’re pretty athletic, but we feel like we can play pretty well with them."
He praised the play of his seniors.
"Travis Byrne had a good tournament," he said. "He’s done a good job on defense and rebounding, and he’s starting to score a little. I’m excited about the way he’s playing. The seniors are leading."