A magical season — and Steve Quattlebaum’s final one coaching boys — ended for Central Arkansas Christian on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A State Tournament.
CAC fell to Pocahontas, 45-31, at Cave City to close 26-6.
"We just didn’t play very well," Quattlebaum said Sunday. "We tried to do in the second half things we hadn’t done all year — a bunch of possessions with just one pass and a shot.
"It’s disappointing it didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but it was an overachieving year, and it was a great season. Getting beat by a good team in the state tournament hasn’t changed that.
"What they accomplished is pretty amazing."
Pocahontas had been on a roll as it finished runner-up in the East Region and knocked off Lincoln in the opening round of the state tournament.
"They’d won a lot of games late in the year in their conference and made a run at the end and in the district and regional tournaments," Quattlebaum said. "They were playing real well. They shot the ball pretty well against us. We didn’t."
CAC, champion of the South Regional, had a bye to the quarters, and often that interruption winds up being a negative. That turned out to be the case for the Mustangs.
"We had a week off, and it was probably worse for us because our last game had been over Monticello (a big upset and the best win of the season)," Quattlebaum said. "They’d had a whole week of everybody telling them how good they were and how that was such a great game.
The 31 points tied the Mustangs’ low for the season.
"We had an idea it would be a low-scoring game," the coach said. "They played long possessions, and we got behind so we were in a hurry trying to catch up. It just didn’t work very well."
After playing the Redskins within 12-11 after the first quarter, the Mustangs suffered a scoring drought, managing just 20 points the rest of the night. Pocahontas led by 18-16 at the break but extended its advantage to 33-23 after the third quarter before posting the 14-point victory after the Mustangs had to foul.
CAC made its only free throw. Pocahontas hit 14 of 19.
"Overall, all year, we’ve made more free throws than the other team has shot," Quattlebaum said. "But we couldn’t get to the line against them. Josh Holland got in foul trouble early and sat out most of the second quarter. We were down two at the half and thought we were in pretty good shape for not having played him, but looking back, we probably should’ve played him more."
Logan Stafford was the only CAC player in double figures. Dylan Sherrill added seven and Holland six.
Pocahontas fell to Pottsville in the semifinals, 61-41, and will meet Dollarway for the state championship at 8:45 p.m. Thursday at Barton Coliseum.