Since the last two regular-season games don’t matter, the Maumelle Hornets are using them as opportunities to get better and get ready for the 5A-West conference tournament next week.


While members of the 5A-West, the Hornets (13-13) competed in the regular-season in the blended 5A/6A-Central. The only thing that determines the Hornets’ fate in post-season is how they finish in next week’s 5A-West tournament in Farmington.


“We have no pressure since these games don’t matter,” Maumelle Coach Michael Shook said. “The guys understand we want to get better for next week, and these are our last opportunities to do that.”


The Hornets went to Little Rock Parkview at Tuesday and lost and travel Thursday to Little Rock Hall to finish out the regular season. At 6-7 in the blended conference, the Hornets don’t have shot at the conference title. However, Hall and Parkview are in a four-way tie for the conference title with Little Rock Christian and Little Rock Fair, so these games will be important to them.


“Parkview is coming off a loss, and we beat Hall the first time,” Shook said. “Hopefully, we’ll play two good games whether we win or lose. I’m confident these two teams are better than anybody we’ll see in the district tournament. Hopefully, we won’t get blown out and are focused and motivated.”


Shook is shifting the focus a little this week. He is going to the let the seniors do their thing and let as many guys play as possible. The Parkview contest was senior night for the Hornets.


“This week is all about the seniors,” he said. “I’m going to let them do their thing as long as it doesn’t take away from the team. I’m also going to let as many guys get experience as possible for us to be successful now and ready for the future.”


The Hornets split last week and lost, 61-46, against Fair at home last Tuesday. Last Friday, they went to Pulaski Academy and won, 64-55. Against Fair, Maumelle trailed 29-15 at the half before making the second half respectable and outscoring the War Eagles, 32-31. Senior Byron Wade was the leading scorer with 11 points.


“We were a no-show for the first half,” Shook said. “If wasn’t because of effort, but they were the aggressor, and we were more timid.”


At Pulaski Academy, the two teams were tied 42-all going into the final quarter. The Hornets outscored the Bruins, 22-13, to grab the victory. Junior Brahm Harris led a quartet of players in double figures with 15 points. Wade contributed 14 points, and senior Terrell Curtis and junior Jabari Barned added 11 and 10 points, respectively.