Competing in the holiday Spa City Shootout tournament in Hot Springs has shown Maumelle Coach Michael Shook one important thing about his team.
"We didn’t play well with a lead," Shook said. "We have to do some things in practice to better prepare us to play with a lead. Because we didn’t lose our conference our games, I didn’t stress about it, but I thought we should have done a better job with the killer instinct (in those)."
At Hot Springs, the Hornets (5-6, 3-0 4A-4) lost to Clarksville, 61-55 and defeated Little Rock Christian, 63-55. This past Monday, they were to play Malvern in the consolation finals. In the Clarksville and Little Rock Christian contests, Maumelle let leads slip away.
Last year, Clarksville defeated the Hornets by 30 and 55 points. Shook knew this season, though, that his team was better while the Panthers were down. After the first quarter, Maumelle was down by three, ahead by six at the half and one at the end of the third period before losing by six points. Eleven Hornets scored and were led by Kendall Donnerson’s 11 points.
"It was disappointing, but I praise our effort," Shook said. "We competed hard, and I was wondering how we would bounce back after the Parkview debacle (they lost Dec. 21, 83-59). "
Shook said the game changer was when Clarksville, who usually doesn’t play one, went to a zone. The Hornets started forcing passes and turning over the ball and the takeaways were converted to baskets.
Against Little Rock Christian, Maumelle had a seven-point advantage at the half and eight-point lead at the end of third quarter before winning by nine. However, Shook said at one point in the second half, the Hornets owned a 20-point cushion before the Warriors cut the lead to two points.
"Little Rock Christian deserves credit," Shook said. "They put a press on us and did some things to catch us off guard."
In that contest, JB Minix led Maumelle with 18 points while Tyshun Robinson added 12. Going into the Malvern matchup, Shook was going to stress that it is like a conference and is a game the Hornets should win. Prior to traveling to Hot Springs, he was bringing his guys to the gym early to work on a few things.
"One thing I was disappointed in was our execution of set plays and inbound plays," Shook said. "We ran each one right one time, and that was after I called a timeout."