Maumelle Coach Michael Shook experienced a period of ebbs and flows last week.
Although the Hornets (10-7) won both conference games and remain undefeated in 4A-4 play at 6-0, the two contests were not similar. Last Tuesday, Maumelle defeated Dover, 76-46, and escaped with an 89-83 triumph last Friday at home over Booneville.
Against the Pirates, the Hornets owned a commanding 31-18 lead after the first period. Shook said four minutes into the contest, Dover had already burned three timeouts and was behind, 18-16. Shook told his players to keep up the pace because the Pirates didn’t have the depth and athletes to keep up with the Hornets.
"We played like I wanted us to all year," Shook said. "All three facets were there. Offense was good, defense was solid and transition was better than it had been all year. We did a good job of pushing the ball and played very unselfish."
Of the 15 guys who saw playing time, 12 scored with five reaching double figures. Senior Kendall Donnerson led the quintet with 13 points while juniors Gary Burton, JB Minix, Nick Ingram and Devonte Lott all finished with 10 points.
The Booneville contest should have never been as close as it was. In the Bearcats’ first four possessions, they never made it past half-court. That gave the Hornets a sense of feeling good about themselves.
"I told them before the game that we were going to win," Shook said. "Booneville stayed within 13-16 points, and in our half-court defense we kept looking to get the breakaway and the easy layup and all around it was pathetic. Booneville made nine three’s."
With one minute and a half to go, Maumelle was ahead by 16 points so Shook pulled his starters. A couple of turnovers and missed free throws and a couple of three’s by the Bearcats, and all of a sudden the Hornets’ lead was cut to three.
"I was very hard-headed, and it was my fault it was close," Shook said. "I took a timeout and told the guys to do their thing and take care of the ball. I was not going to put the starters back in."
Both teams had four players reach double digits with Booneville having two with 22 and 20 points. Donnerson paced Maumelle with 18 points, Nick Cox chipped in 12, Don Taggert contributed 11 and Tyshun Robinson added 10.
Last night, Maumelle hosted Dardanelle and travels to Waldron on Thursday.