Although the Maumelle Hornets didn’t stay on track for an undefeated 4A-4 conference season, they still can outright claim the conference title.
A 77-67 setback at Pottsville last Tuesday gave the Hornets (14-7, 9-1) their first conference loss. With the defeat, Maumelle still leads the conference with its one defeat while Pottsville and Subiaco share second place with two losses (8-2).
In the Pottsville contest, the Apaches had control from the tip. Maumelle Coach Michael Shook elected to not start JB Minix and Kendall Donnerson after they got technical fouls at Waldron the week prior. Suddenly, though, the Hornets were without three starters instead of two.
"Tyshun (Robinson) got three fouls really quick," Shook said. "Honestly, that was my fault not getting him out after two. He didn’t play the second quarter and very little the third, and that hurt us. I told him in the fourth quarter that we need you so go out and play and if you foul out it would be because you played hard."
Robinson tallied all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter. Although it may not have been warranted, Donnerson received a technical in the second half and didn’t play after that. Additionally, some commotion happened in the stands, but Shook was proud of how his players stayed focused.
"During that craziness in the stands, we were down 15-20 points and were able to cut the lead to eight," he said. "Even the best teams in the state will have trouble with three starters out. I was proud we kept competing with all the off-the-court distractions and kept our focus."
Junior Gary Burton led the Hornets with 14 points. In addition to Robinson, Minix also reached double digits with 11 points.
A home contest with Mena last Friday was a different story. After one period, the Hornets led 27-10. A 10-0 scoring run to start the second quarter quickly gave Maumelle a 37-10 cushion on its way to a 91-54 victory. All 15 players scored with senior Ron McCuien pacing the group with 15 points. Sophomore Barry Nixon contributed 10 points.
"After last Tuesday, we had a team meeting and talked about having each other’s backs and eliminating the distractions," Shook said. "I told them we need to quit doing those things that are getting in the way of our goals. I told them the rest of the season we are not messing around anymore. I don’t want us to just win but do it convincingly."
The Hornets were supposed to host Dover on Tuesday for senior night but inclement weather postponed that game. Friday, they travel to Booneville, and Maumelle is expected to win both games.