The Maumelle Hornets finished second in the 4A-4 tournament and will host the regional tournament that starts this week.
Photos by Paul Fimpel Jr.
The Maumelle girls will face Ozark at 4 p.m. on Thursday in the first round of the regional tournament. The winner is guaranteed a trip to next week’s state tournament in Cave City.
Not exactly the way Maumelle wanted the district tournament to end, but the Hornets can put their first loss in 14 games behind them and concentrate on regionals this week.
Maumelle (18-10) reached the finals of the 4A-4 district tournament but suffered a 59-56 setback to Subiaco. The Hornets won the first two meetings by five and three points, respectively, so history was that it would be a close contest. Not only did the Trojans defeat the number two seed (Maumelle) but they also defeated number one-seed Pottsville by one in the semifinals.
“Subiaco got hot in the tournament,” Maumelle Coach Michael Shook said. “They hit a three pointer with two seconds left to beat Pottsville. In our game, it was a hard fought battle.”
The game was close to the end with Shook saying no one owned more than a six-point margin. In addition to the Hornets losing after a 13-game winning streak, Shook also received his first technical foul early in the third period. After that, the referees made him sit.
“Even though there were issues, that is not why we lost,” Shook said. “We didn’t shoot well enough. We were 36 percent from the field and 6-of-16 from the free throw line.”
Freshman Shawn Williams paced Maumelle with 14 points and sophomore JB Minix added 12. Before meeting Subiaco in the finals, the Hornets defeated Booneville, 61-50, in a first round game. In that contest, junior Kendall Donnerson was the leading scorer with 12 points.
In the Booneville game, Shook had the luxury of using his bench more than the starters. After the first quarter, Maumelle led 16-4 and were ahead 37-15 at the half with the second group.
“It was a good win for us because I got to use my bench,” Shook said. “The bench got a lot of playing time and got used to the atmosphere. Everybody played, and nine guys scored.”
While Shook wanted to win the district title, he is looking on the bright side and as the second seed into the North Region tournament the Hornets wouldn’t meet Subiaco or Pottsville until the finals. With the two four teams advancing to the state tournament, all the Hornets need to do is defeat Gravette, the number three seed from the 1A, on Thursday. The two meet at 5:30 p.m. at Maumelle Gymnasium.
“I’ve talked to several people and they tell me Gravette is the most dangerous team from that district,” Shook said. “They have the best player in the conference (junior forward Terence Pierce (6-3)), and he averages 28 points a game. He can score from anywhere and can shoot and post up.”
Shook was also told that senior Matt VanOtterloo is a good point guard and makes good decisions and junior center Otto Troutner (6-5) is capable of a double-double.
“I’m looking forward to regionals and state and meeting teams we are playing for the first time,” Shook said. “I’m also anxious to see how we respond and see what we are made of after our loss.”