They lost two in tournament play at Mountain Home, but the Sylvan Hills Bears have gotten better. At least that’s what head coach Kevin Davis believes after losing to Fayetteville and Greene County Tech over the weekend.

Both games were six-point losses, and both games came down to big shots in the final minutes.

The Bulldogs, who were the 7A runner up last season, and the Eagles who are senior laden and were a 5A-East state tournament team last season both hit big threes in the final two minutes.

"I think those teams were a little more poised," Davis said. "Good conference level type teams. We were able to find out some things about ourselves and come back and work on them."

Competing against those teams are good measuring sticks for the Bears going into next Tuesday’s 5A-Central opener against Little Rock McClellan.

"We’ll face more athleticism," Davis said, "but we probably won’t face a more competitive group. That’s what you have to do this time of year is compete."

Part of Davis’ teaching mantra has been to not just play, but to compete on every possession on both ends of the floor.

"I think that’s why those teams were such good draws for us," Davis said.

Challenging shots on every trip on defense, being patient on every offensive possession is what the Bears are continuing to learn.

Davis said those teams were definitely more experienced, while the Bears were trying to develop depth.

"I think they were a little more poised," Davis said. "They were older and more experienced."

Davis said he would likely need some depth with the style of play he likes.

"We are learning to play fast, so depth will help us," Davis said. "I think what we have to learn to do is play fast and not in a hurry. Sometimes it is tough to know the difference."

It was a rigorous weekend for the Bears and not quite as successful, but they got an idea of where they are going into the 5A-Central season, which is obviously the most important.