Black­hawks clinch con­fer­ence ti­tle

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - SPORTS - JOHN MCGEE Sports Writer

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

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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

10. Green­land

MaxPreps boys 4A-1 District poll

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Boys 4A North Re­gion poll

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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

1. Pottsville

2. Bap­tist Prep

3. West­side

4. Stuttgart

5. South­side

6. West He­lena

7. Brook­land

8. Ozark

9. ESTEM

10. Pea Ridge

11. Baux­ite

12. Ber­ryville

13. Ash­down

14. Gravette

15. Robin­son

16. War­ren

17. Malvern

18. Su­bi­aco

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

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Girls 4A-1 District poll

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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

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