With a young team, Maumelle Coach Michael Shook knew his Hornets would have some ups and downs.
One of those times occurred last Friday when Maumelle (1-1) lost to Greenbrier, 62-59. With the 5A-West not coming together until the district tournament, that game counted in the Hornets’ matchups with the 5A-West south teams to determine seeding into the district tournament. Maumelle is 1-1 overall and 1-1 among the four teams and has an important game at Vilonia to finish the first round of competition with Vilonia, Greenbrier and Morrilton. The Hornets play in the blended 5A/6A-Central in January.
“If we don’t get the number one seed, I feel very confident we can beat those teams in February in the conference tournament,” Shook said. “We will be significantly better especially after the conference we have to go through.”
Things didn’t go well for the Hornets against Greenbrier in the beginning. Shook said they fell behind quickly and trailed 20-14 at the end of the quarter and were down 12-13 points at halftime after changing defenses in the second quarter.
“We tried to run something we been practicing since Morrilton,” he said. “Everytime we ran it correctly we either forced a turnover or made them shoot a contested shot. Overall, our execution was poor. At halftime, I told the guys if they didn’t want to do what I told them as far as execution, we were going to go back out and play man-to-man.”
The result was the Hornets outscored Greenbrier in the third period and the contest was knotted at 49 going into the fourth quarter. Shook said the execution bug hit the Hornets again in the fourth period but this time it was on offense and not defense. They made silly, nonsense mistakes.
“First of all, I was extremely proud of our effort and we worked and fought hard,” he said. “We competed to the very end. It was frustrating because I have never lost to Greenbrier. We shot 36 percent from the field and had to many unforced errors.”
Shook expects a competitive game Friday at Vilonia. He says no matter how good or bad the Eagles might be, they always play competitively against the Hornets. Vilonia plays fast like Maumelle but doesn’t press full-court.
On Saturday, the Hornets play in a showcase in Jonesboro. The original team they were supposed to play backed out so they will face Watson Chapel. Though Maumelle has never met Watson Chapel on the high school level, history does exist between the two programs.
“Our ninth-grade teams are in the same River City conference,” Shook said. “There is some bad blood between the junior high programs. It will be good to be on a neutral court.”
The Lady Hornets are in Cabot for the week for the Cabot Pre-Holiday Classic.
They lost their opener to Lonoke on Monday, 50-46, and will now play at 4 p.m. on Thursday in the loser’s bracket. Other teams in the field include: Cabot, McClellan, Searcy, Pine Bluff, Beene and Pulaski Academy.