Central Arkansas Christian’s Mustangs lost a pair of games last week to drop to 1-4 on the season, but first-year coach Matt Hall remains optimistic.
CAC fell to Little Rock Christian, 54-48, and then to Maumelle in the first round of the OrthoArkansas Classic, 80-60. The two other games in the classic, against Little Rock Catholic and Bryant, were cancelled because of the ice storm that came in Friday. Hall said they would not be made up.
The Mustangs were scheduled to travel to Harding Academy on Monday, but that, too, was cancelled because of the lingering ice. CAC was to play at Pulaski Academy on Tuesday and is then off until Dec. 20.
“We’re doing a lot of good stuff,” Hall said. “We have not shot the ball very well at all. I feel like it will come. We’ve outrebounded a bunch of people, and we’re not turning the ball over terribly bad.
“We’ve done a lot of good stuff; we’re just not putting the ball in the hole.”
As an example, he pointed to the Mustangs’ 16-of-32 performance from the foul line against LR Christian. They missed 20 free throws against Maumelle.
“If we make free throws alone, we win the Little Rock Christian game, and Maumelle is a lot closer,” Hall said, adding that his team’s deficit against the Hornets was considerably less than the final margin until late. “If we can find a way to put the ball in the hole, we’ll be in a lot better shape.
“They’re showing a lot of promise, playing extremely hard and doing whatever I ask. As long as they continue to do that, we’ll be in good shape.”
The Mustangs have had several players take the offensive reins during the young season. Junior forward Stephen Flanigan led them against Little Rock Christian with 15 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Davis Allen added 11 points. Against Maumelle, senior guard Eric Bentley scored 21.
“Eric, Davis and Stephen have all shown the potential to have big games for us,” Hall said. “Eric is our leading scorer for the year. He’s been shooting the ball really well. I’m very happy for him.”
The coach was looking forward to 10 days of practice following the PA game Tuesday. The Mustangs don’t play again until opening 7-4A play against Arkansas Baptist on Friday, Dec. 20.
“We need that,” Hall said. “We need a good 10 days we can practice and get some things addressed. I know the kids aren’t looking forward to it, but I actually am. We’ve got a lot to work on.”
Despite the bumpy start, record-wise, Hall remains optimistic about his first season on Mustang Mountain.
“As long as we can keep them playing hard and focused on the right things, we’re going to be fine,” he said.