CAC BOYS A dandy dozen for Mustangs
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Central Arkansas Christian’s Mustangs won three more games last week to run their winning streak to 12.
Having already clinched a conference championship, at press time, with two games left in the regular season, Steve Quattlebaum and his team have their eye on an undefeated run through the 7-4A.
“I thought we might have an outside chance (at a conference title), but I would’ve never dreamed we’d be 12-0,” Quattlebaum said Monday.
CAC improved to 19-5 overall and 12-0 in the 7-4A with wins over Pulaski Robinson, 52-40; Bauxite, 41-32; and at Ashdown, 52-40.
The Mustangs, who played at Arkadelphia, a team they beat the first time, 54-34, on Tuesday, will play host to Ashdown on Friday to finish the regular season and mark Senior Night. Seniors Beau Barnes, Dylan Sherrill, Josh Holland, Travis Byrne, Logan Stafford and Jacob Laney will play their final games at Mustang Mountain.
Those were sophomores when Quattlebaum took over the boys team, adding the Mustangs to his Lady Mustang duties.
“They’ve meant a lot,” Quattlebaum said of the class. “We came in together and really struggled through that first year. We went nine games before we won a game, and we really weren’t very good that year. But they’ve gradually gotten better, and they’ve gradually believed in what we’re doing.
“It’s a good group. They’ve played really hard, played together, and they’re extremely competitive. They don’t like to lose.”
After three consecutive three-game weeks, Quattlebaum said Monday he hoped to be able to rest his starters some this week in preparation for the post-season.
He said CAC won the 7-4A in 2007 and ‘08 before moving up to Class 5A. But the Mustangs never completed an undefeated conference season.
Against Robinson, the Mustangs were without Sherrill, who was out with flu. CAC got up early, 19-4, before the two teams played about even the rest of the way.
“Going over there is a tough game,” Quattlebaum said. “We had to battle a bit at the end.”
Holland led CAC with 22 points. Byrne added 11 and Stafford nine. Laney started for Sherrill and did a good job, Quattlebaum said, adding that Julian Kidd and Joseph Strange played well off the bench.
Against Bauxite, the Mustangs trailed most of the game. They were tied with the Miners at 9-all after one quarter and down by 18-17 at the break, but CAC won the third quarter, 11-6, and the fourth, 13-8. Holland led the Mustangs with 12 points. Byrne added 10. Sherrill made his return from the flu off the bench.
“That was a big win,” Quattlebaum said. “In a sense, it clinched (the conference title), but we still needed one more to win it outright.”
That one came at Ashdown on Saturday. Again the Mustangs got off to a good start, but they were outscored in the second quarter and had to rally in the second half. Holland scored 24; Sherrill returned to the starting lineup and scored 10. Quattlebaum said Stafford hit a big 3 in the fourth quarter en route to a seven-point night.
The 7-4A District Tournament will be at Bauxite next week. As the top seed, CAC will have a bye to Thursday’s semifinals and an automatic berth to the regional tournament the following week. The district championship is set for next Saturday.