With a 74-51 victory over Malvern on Dec. 30, the Maumelle Hornets captured the consolation finals of the Spa City Shootout in Hot Springs.
Although Coach Michael Shook was pleased with the victory, he was happier the Hornets learned a few things in the process. In Maumelle’s first two games in the tournament, Shook noticed the Hornets were having trouble running set and inbounds plays. He used the Malvern contest as a teaching tool and rotated players often in the first half.
"We came in to the gym early before leaving, and I made sure everyone knew everything," Shook said. "Any time we ran a set play or out of bounds play and a guy looked lost, he came out. I told him why I did it and let him express to me what he did wrong. I rotated more than I would have liked, but at the end of the game, we were pretty good at running the plays."
All 13 guys who played scored with JB Minix leading the group with 10 points. Up next for the Hornets (6-6, 3-0 4A-4) was a non-conference game at Clarksville last night and a conference matchup at Subiaco Academy on Friday.
The Clarksville contest was a rematch after the two teams met in the first round of the Spa City Shootout. In that meeting, the Panthers won 61-55. That performance was better than the 30 and 55 points that Clarksville beat the Hornets by last year. Shook thought if Maumelle could slow down the game and play defense with intensity, then Maumelle could have had a chance for a victory.
On Friday, the Hornets face what Shook thinks is the toughest team in the conference in the Subiaco Academy Trojans. Like Maumelle, Subiaco is also undefeated in conference play and a victory could deter the Hornets’ quest for an outright conference title. The Trojans have two players, junior Cash Krueger (6-5) and senior Chris Reed (6-2) who Shook knows will be hard to guard. Since the Hornets have more depth, Shook believes the key is for the Hornets to stay out of foul trouble and hope Subiaco gets into foul trouble.
"Our toughest week as far as the regular season is this week," Shook said. "They are not necessarily the two best teams but together it is a tough week."