This past Monday, Maumelle Coach Michael Shook couldn’t help but smile all during practice. The reason was his basketball team became a complete squad.
With the Hornet football team advancing to the quarterfinals, Shook’s basketball squad was minus some key players. During that stretch, the mixture of varsity and junior varsity players led the Hornets to a 1-3 record. Monday’s practice gave Shook a reason to smile.
"The biggest thing is practice is so much better," he said. "The cheerleaders were practicing in another part of the gym during practice, and one of them came to me and said coach you’ve been smiling all day."
Shook got to have some fun before practice became serious. Having never been able to throw an alley oop to a player when playing during high school, Shook took the opportunity to welcome 6-foot-4 senior post Kendall Donnerson to the floor by doing just that.
With four games this week including last night’s matchup at home with Pulaski Academy, the Hornets have to meld together quickly. One thing Maumelle will be able to do is speed up the contest because of depth and faster players. Thursday through Saturday, the Hornets compete in the Ortho Arkansas Tournament and play Central Arkansas Christian on Thursday, Bryant on Friday and Little Rock Catholic on Saturday, weather permitting. Ultimately, Shook would like to win all four contests but is grateful they are non-conference matchups so he can blend his team.
"The biggest thing is working the football guys in and getting them to understand and run the offense," he said. "Also the guys who have been playing the whole game need to adjust on their minutes backing down. We will also adjust the tempo and style. With depth, we can play an up and down game."
Over the weekend, the Hornets participated in the Arkansas Alumni Classic at Philander Smith. They suffered two defeats to Memphis Health and Science and North Pulaski. Shook’s comment was that Maumelle dressed out for two games. In the North Pulaski contest, the Hornets had periods of good and bad play.
"We were very sloppy, had a lack of execution and were outrebounded," he said. "Two quarters we played selfishly which led to turnovers and fast-break points. In the third quarter, we ran our offense and defense like we wanted to but shot poorly. In the fourth quarter, we had nothing to lose and pressed and play hard and caught them off guard. We cut the lead to nine with four minutes to go, but hit a wall with three minutes left."