Maumelle ended last year and began the new year on a positive note. The Hornets defeated Malvern on Dec. 30 in the last game of the Spa City Shootout and then opened conference play last Saturday with a conference win at Subiaco.

The 20-point Malvern victory was welcomed as the Hornets (7-9, 3-1 4A-4) were blown out by Clarksville in the first game of the tournament. Next, they lost to Hot Springs by two.

"The kids had fun, and it was nice to get a win and build our confidence," Maumelle Coach Michael Shook said. "That carried over to Subiaco."

The Falcons defeated the Trojans, 54-51, and if they trailed, it was by one point. Maumelle did take the lead early, and the thing that stood out for Shook was the team effort. He wonders if an outing to Chili’s and watching UALR play basketball last Thursday helped.

"We were real balanced, and it was a good win for us," he said. "Subiaco was the first game we implemented some things from practice. We cut down on our turnovers and didn’t miss as many layups. With the way we play basketball, we are going to miss some shots around the baskets but those weren’t as many."

Shook also liked that there wasn’t any attitude issues. That was welcomed as some issues in the past were dealt with in practice. He liked how the bench got into the game and was supportive.

Conference play resumes this week as Maumelle hosted Dover last night and travels to Booneville on Friday. Those two teams give the Hornets opposite looks.

"Dover will play a 2-3 zone and pack it in tight," Shook said. "Booneville plays aggressive man and will probably pick us up full court and also shoots a lot."

With Dover being at the bottom of the conference, Shook expected that meeting to be a good game for the Hornets. He was also hoping the crowd came out like it did in Maumelle’s last home game.

Booneville, on the other hand, is very competitive and will come to play. Because Booneville’s coach was at the Subiaco contest, Shook knows he will need to make some minor adjustments to Maumelle’s half-court and full-court press in practice today and Thursday.

"I tell the guys when we are on the road, we are down 10-0 before the game starts," Shook said. "Booneville is winnable, but it won’t be easy. Hopefully, we’ll keep rolling, play hard and play together."