Last week, the Maumelle Hornets went 1-1 against Pulaski Academy and Central Arkansas Christian. Those two games were the only chances the Hornets had to meld the football players in with the basketball players before conference play started yesterday.
Maumelle was hoping to play a few more games in the Ortho Arkansas Tournament last week but two days of the competition were cancelled because of the weather. So a 61-55 loss to Pulaski Academy last week and an 80-60 victory over CAC were the only two contests where Coach Michael Shook had a full squad after the football team advanced to the state quarterfinals.
"I was pleased we had a chance to win against PA," Shook said. "Even missing 13 free throws (15/28) and shooting under 30 percent, we had a chance to win. Against CAC, 13 of the 15 players scored which is good."
In that contest, Nick Cox had 15 points and Tyshun Robinson chipped in 11. The Hornets (2-4) started 4A-4 league play last night and hosted Pottsville. Friday, they travel to Mena for another conference game.
Although Pottsville is the defending state champions, the last time the Hornets played Pottsville, they won. Last year in the 4A-North region tournament, Maumelle won the title with a 74-73 victory over the Apaches. Though not the same team as last year, the Hornets still need to be aware of the Apaches.
"They lost all their size," Shook said. "They had three guys they rotated in two post spots and were role post players. They scored when they needed to and rebounded. I expect them and Subiaco to fight for second. Of course, I expect us to win."
The biggest thing Shook wanted to impress on his guys is yes they did beat Pottsville the last time the two teams played but a victory last night was important. Last year, Pottsville beat Maumelle in the first conference meeting.
"I told the guys this game last year is why we didn’t win the conference outright," Shook said. "My guys are excited. If you had to pick someone in our conference who is a rival in football and basketball, it would be Pottsville."
On Friday, Shook is hoping the emotion of Tuesday’s game doesn’t affect play at Mena. While the Bearcats don’t matchup with the Hornets, Shook expects a hostile crowd. Last year, Maumelle escaped with a victory at Mena, and Shook hopes to not repeat that scenario.