After a frustrating year of ups and downs, North Pulaski Coach Stacy Dalmut has something to be positive about as the season ended.
Even though the Lady Falcons (4-19, 1-13 5A-Central) endured lots of different things its past four games, they finally realized they can play competitive ball. Although the Lady Falcons lost by 15 points to Pulaski Academy in their final game of the season, Dalmut was happy with the way North Pulaski performed.
“The way we came out and played was a good sign,” she said. “One of our goals is to not lose by as much as we did the first time, and we lost by 30 in the first meeting. We came out and hustled after every ball and had fun.”
It was four games ago that Dalmut saw a change in her team. Against Mills, a fight broke out and after ejections only five players were left to play the last half of the fourth quarter. During that span, the Lady Falcons scored 19 points.
“It was then they figured out how to play,” Dalmut said. “They realized they had to hustle and play hard every minute and also have fun.”
Dalmut also had to endure injuries to key players during the season including a season-ending ACL injury to senior Jolisha Baker, who was the sixth player and a key rebounder. Since Baker and Kristin Munn were the only two seniors with significant playing time, Dalmut returns the majority of her team next year.
“I’m going to miss Munn’s smile on the court,” Dalmut said. “Even when she is hustling after a ball, she is smiling.”
The season was a disappointment after North Pulaski went 7-1 in a team camp this summer at Cabot and defeated teams like Cabot and Springdale Har-Ber. The Lady Falcons even started off the season 3-1 but faltered when conference season began.
“Something about when we get into conference season we fall apart,” Dalmut said. “In their minds, they think they can’t do it.”
Because North Pulaski has played better its last four games, Dalmut is hoping to bottle that progress and carry it into the next season. Thus, she is going to start off-season workouts earlier and hopes to get the Lady Falcons in a summer league.
“I should have six for sure, if they don’t move, back for next year,” Dalmut said. “People are starting to see we are getting better and tell me that all the time. Once upon a time, we only scored 10 points a game.”