Blackhawks clinch conference title
The Blackhawk boys swept over Lincoln and Haas Hall last week to clinch an undisputed 4A3A-1 conference championship.
Trent Loyd’s hardwood ’Hawks currently hold a three-game lead over second-place Gravette with only two games remaining on the regular schedule, thereby eliminating the Lions from a chance at a conference crown. Prairie Grove and Elkins are four games back, locked in a two-way tie for third place, one game ahead of fifth place Shiloh.
Though the conference championship is now secured, the ’Hawks still have two games left with Prairie Grove (last night) and Elkins this Friday. The seeding for the district tournament will occur at the end of the week, taking into consideration the games results from this week.
Pea Ridge is an odds-on favorite to grab the top seed with the top competitors for the honor being Gravette and Berryville. Berryville is playing in the 4A-3A-2 conference and is currently in second place in that league behind Valley Springs.
I would seed the district myself in the following fashion. I would seed Pea Ridge No. 1 with Gravette No. 2, followed by Berryville at No. 3. Further, I would rank Prairie Grove fourth and Shiloh fifth. Huntsville would be my choice for sixth, with Gentry at seventh and Lincoln coming in at eighth. That would give Pea Ridge an opening round game with Lincoln (if I am right about the seeds), followed by a semi-final matchup against a Shiloh/Prairie Grove first round survivor if they get past the Wolves.
The district tournament will be played with all first round survivors traveling to Berryville the following week for the North Regional. The four 4A-1 schools will be taking on the four top teams from the 4A-4 District to earn a spot in the state tournament the following week in Brookland. The top four ranked teams from that district are currently Pottsville, the state’s top ranked team, Ozark (ranked eighth), Subiaco (18th) and Dardanelle (26th). Booneville (28th) could challenge for a spot in the Regional as well.
It would seem, at least by the polling, that the 4A East Regional has developed into the state’s strongest one in 2018. Seven of the Top 10 ranked teams are in the East with the other three teams from our region, the North. The highest ranked team from the South Region is currently Bauxite. The other top four ranked teams in the South are Robinson, Warren and Malvern.
The state tournament will be held in Brookland, a small town east of Jonesboro. The state final game will be played, as it always is, in Hot Springs.
Of course, as this is high school basketball, you just never know what is going to happen. Last year, third ranked in state Batesville Southside lost in their district’s first round to the last ranked team (ESTEM) in their district, abruptly ending the Southerners season. Never count your basketballs until they’re hatched.
The District Tourney next week will be full of traps and opposition. Gentry has shown the ability to defeat most anyone or lose to most anyone. Gravette has lost twice to the Hawks, but only after seven overtimes. One more Lion free throw in either game and the ’Hawks could have lost each game and be trailing by one game right now. In addition, Prairie Grove has beaten the ’Hawks once and Shiloh has at times lit up the scoreboard this season.
Berryville will be an unknown commodity as they have not played teams from the 4A-1 this season since early in November. They will finish second in their conference losing to Valley Springs in close losses. One team I can likely count out is Huntsville. The perennial power is underwater with a 10-12 record. They started the year on fire, defeating Prairie Grove and Lincoln by 20 each, but have had a hard time since. Berryville will play Huntsville in Huntsville in the regular season finale.
If there is one thing the ’Hawks have shown this season, is that they can compete. There have been some games (the Gravette games included) where the ’Hawks could have easily been derailed. Some nights has seen some poor officiating, and more than once the ’Hawks had off nights shooting. However, other than the off night they had in Prairie Grove on Jan. 9, the ’Hawks have won 13 of their last 14 games.
This year’s edition of the Pea Ridge Blackhawks has shown a lot of grit, a trait that successful post season teams always have.
4A-3A-1 Conference Standings
8. Pea Ridge Gravette Prairie Grove Elkins Shiloh Gentry Haas Hall Lincoln 15-1 12-4 11-5 11-5 10-6 6-10 6-10 5-11
9. West Fork
MaxPreps boys 4A-1 District poll
Boys 4A North Region poll
10. Pea Ridge Berryville Gravette Shiloh 12-9 Prairie Grove Huntsville Gentry Lincoln Pottsville Ozark Pea Ridge Berryville Gravette Subiaco Dardanelle Booneville Dover Shiloh
Boys 4A State poll
as of Feb. 2, 2018
2. Baptist Prep
6. West Helena
10. Pea Ridge
19. Dumas 5-11 2-12 21-4 16-6 18-5
12-11 10-10 10-13 10-16 21-2 19-3 21-4 18-6 17-6 12-7 13-11 16-9 14-8 12-8 21-2 20-5 14-4 18-3 20-4 15-1 15-8 19-3 17-10 21-4 17-6 18-6 14-4 17-6 14-9 14-6 17-4 12-7 14-7
20. Riverview 19-6
21. Trumann 11-12
22. Gosnell 10-9
23. Star City 12-8
24. Fountain Lake 15-8
25. Nashville 16-5 other teams from the 4A-1
30. Shiloh 12-8
33. Prairie Grove 12-11
38. Huntsville 10-12
41. Lincoln 10-15
43. Gentry 10-13
Girls 4A-3A-1 Conference
Girls 4A-1 District poll
Gravette Gentry Elkins Prairie Grove Lincoln Pea Ridge West Fork Shiloh Greenland Haas Hall
Berryville Gravette Gentry Lincoln Prairie Grove Huntsville Shiloh Pea Ridge
13-3 13-3 10-6 10-6 9-7 8-8 7-9 6-10 3-13 0-16
24-1 18-5 15-8 14-10 13-10 11-15 11-12 10-14
MaxPreps 4A State poll
As of Feb. 7, 2018
1. Central Arkansas24-1
2. Pottsville 20-4
3. Berryville 23-1
4. Ozark 21-0
5. ESTEM 15-4
6. Gravette 18-5
7. Batesville SS 16-8
8. Brookland 16-5
9. Riverview 19-6