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ACADEMICS PLUS BOYS BASKETBALL | District tournament starts this weekend

With the 1A-5 regular season finished, the Academics Plus Falcons’ task this week is to prepare for the district tournament that begins Saturday in Morrilton.

Last Wednesday, Academics Plus (10-16, 4-12) finished the conference regular season with a 78-59 loss at Mount Vernon-Enola. Though Coach John Harrison was pleased with the way the Falcons played, they just had a hard time getting the ball in the basket.

“It was as poor shooting as we’ve had all year,” he said. “We played well just couldn’t score. In fact, I was pleased with the way we played and defensively we played well.”

Academics Plus was 12-of-27 from the free throw line and 2-14 from three-point range. Harrison also said the Falcons missed six to seven layups in transition. Despite the poor shooting performance, they were just down by 10 going into the fourth period.

“We just couldn’t get anything to fall,” Harrison said. “I was disappointed with the loss, but not upset with the flow. It was not that they outplayed us.”

A non-conference game against Oden last Friday was cancelled and won’t be made up. Friday, Academics Plus travels to Riverview for a non-conference game and a tune-up before the district tournament begins Saturday.

Since nine teams comprise the 1A-5, a play-in game between the 8th and 9th seeds takes place Saturday at 3 p.m. The Falcons are the 8th seed and face Lisa Academy North. What Harrison likes is the tournament is on a neutral court at Morrilton High School. Sacred Heart, which is located in Morrilton, is the host school and was able to secure Morrilton High School.

In the two previous meetings with Lisa Academy North, Academics Plus won 75-60 and 52-45, respectively. Harrison knows the Jaguars can’t be taken lightly. For one thing, the adage is true that it is hard to beat a team three times. Harrison said even though the Jaguars aren’t traditionally good, they do have two good guards and will also move up some skilled ninth graders.

If the Falcons win, they will face fifth-seeded Nemo Vista at 5 p.m. next Monday. A victory there would mean a meeting with Guy-Perkins, and Harrison likes where Academics Plus is in the bracket.

“I like playing both of them on a neutral court,” he said. “We are starting to find our identity and kids are stepping up. But, I tell the guys every day that their season is over if we don’t take care of Lisa North.”

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