Going 0-3 in the Conway tournament last week is not considered successful in the win category, but North Pulaski Coach Roy Jackson feels differently about the tournament competition.
The Falcons lost to Bryant, Conway and Harrison, two 7A teams and a good 5A team. The competition allowed Bryant to get a measure of how his team is progressing.
“I saw what we need to work on and get better,” Jackson said. “Those games will help us get ready for the conference season.”
The close game for the Falcons (4-4) was last Saturday against Harrison in which they lost, 52-51. In that contest, junior Joe Aikens finished with 27 point as the Falcons were behind by 11 points at the half.
“We did not play great the first half,” Jackson said. “We fought back and our defense was better in the second half. We had a chance to win and were down by one at the end of the third quarter and even had the lead with under a minute. It was a good, competitive game.”
So Jackson is taking the positives from the tournament of which one is North Pulaski’s fighting back. While that is encouraging, the Falcons may not have to do that if they wouldn’t get behind the 8-ball. Jackson noted North Pulaski starts the games sluggish and is looking for more energy in the first half.
“We aren’t getting the defensive stops,” he said. “We are going back to the drawing board this week.”
In particular, the Falcons are going to work on the basics on man-to-man defense, and that is one thing he is really expressing in practice this week. Additionally, North Pulaski also needs to work on its patience on offense.
“With those three games back-to-back, we didn’t get a chance to work on everything,” Jackson said. “It will be nice to have four days of practice to focus on certain parts of the game.”
Because Jackson is still experimenting with player combinations, the tournament games also gave him a chance to try different groupings. That is another reason why he likes tournaments like last week’s.
Friday, the Falcons host Lonoke and Jackson is looking forward to see the progress made from practice this week. In particular, he is looking for improvement on defense.
“Lonoke is always well-coached,” Jackson said. “They also have quickness and size. It should be another good test for us.”