Statis­tics, statis­tics, statis­tics

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

Well, the reg­u­lar sea­son is over and now we are headed for the Dis­trict, Re­gional and State play­offs.

I have com­piled some statis­tics though do­ing so re­minds of some­thing Mark Twain once said, I am para­phras­ing here, “There are lies, then there are re­ally bad lies, and then there are statis­tics.”

Stats don’t tell the whole story of a team. For ex­am­ple, the top of­fense in the state is West He­lena’s 71 points per game av­er­age. How­ever, they played five of their 21 games against Lee High School, one of the weak­est teams in the 3A clas­si­fi­ca­tion, scor­ing a bunch against their much weaker op­po­nent. Though they lead the state in scor­ing, they might not sur­vive the first round of the dis­trict play­offs next week. Five teams in the states Top 10 are from the 4A-2 Dis­trict (Bap­tist Prep No. 3, South­side No. 3, Stuttgart No. 5, West He­lena No. 6 and ESTEM No. 9). It ap­pears West He­lena will be play­ing No. 17 Riverview, a dan­ger­ous team.

Ac­tu­ally, all the stats are skewed this year as far as 4A teams are con­cerned be­cause the AAA ar­ranged to have the 4A schools play a big chunk of their games against 3A op­po­nents. Teams like the pri­vate school in Spring­dale of­ten ran up the scores on their over matched op­po­nents, thereby in­flat­ing av­er­ages and records.

Teams like Pea Ridge, for ex­am­ple, rou­tinely sent in bench play­ers to fin­ish games that have been ir­re­vo­ca­bly won. Lead­ing by 20 with a quar­ter left is pretty much a done deal in the huge ma­jor­ity of games. The ’Hawks av­er­aged nearly 58 points per game this sea­son and if we were like some other teams who have a ten­dency to run up scores, we could have av­er­aged close to 70. That would have also im­proved our de­fen­sive av­er­ages as well.

Prop­erly done, coaches who have se­cured a vic­tory for their team will then work on gain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for the younger, less used play­ers who will be the team of the fu­ture. Pea Ridge has long been known for this.

There is one stat that does have a bear­ing on the game and the chances for the ’Hawks’ suc­cess in the near fu­ture. The Black­hawks have had five sep­a­rate play­ers who have led the team in scor­ing in a game. Av­er­age wise, Hay­den Holt­grewe and Nick Coble are av­er­ag­ing nearly 13 points per game with Kobe Rose al­most av­er­ag­ing 12. Cen­ter Mike Ma­honey is close to 10 points per game in his scor­ing which demon­strates the bal­anced scor­ing Pea Ridge can em­ploy in their of­fense.

The mean­ing of these par­tic­u­lar stats is that no team’s de­fense can key on a sin­gle player in their quest to de­feat the ’Hawks.

The Black­hawks also have play­ers that can come off the bench to pro­vide some of­fense, a key stat that never shows up in charts.

Stats are for sports writ­ers, fans and par­ents. They are fun to read and sur­mise, but they only tell a par­tial story.

’Hawks win con­fer­ence by a whop­ping four games

The ’Hawks’ 65-47 whip­ping of the Elkins Elks brought the cur­tain down on the 2017-2018 reg­u­lar sea­son for the Pea Ridge cagers. Not fa­vored to win the league by nearly any­one this sea­son, to win by four games was sur­pris­ing to a bunch of folks.

The 4A-1 dis­trict seed­ings came out Fri­day be­fore the game with Pea Ridge earn­ing the top seed fol­lowed by No. 2 seed Gravette.

There was some hope in Ber­ryville that the Bob­cats might get that seed but the coaches voted in the Lions. That hope was be­fore Ber­ryville lost to Huntsville 54-50 last Tues­day. That was a big up­set af­ter Ber­ryville whipped the Ea­gles 55-29 ear­lier in the year.

An­other shocker was last Fri­day when the con­fer­ence’s last place team, Green­land, beat Gravette 45-42. The game was one of those trap games, a game in which the fa­vored team had noth­ing to win or lose rel­a­tive to the out­come of the game.

The Lions al­ready had their No. 2 seed locked up and their post sea­son path laid out for them. Green­land was hav­ing se­nior night and were likely look­ing for­ward to the 3A-1 Dis­trict Tour­na­ment. Only two of the teams in that dis­trict have win­ning records.

In ad­di­tion to the Gravette shocker and the ’Hawks’ win over Elkins, Shiloh crushed Gen­try 70-54, Prairie Grove de­stroyed Haas Hall 73-49 and Lin­coln got past West Fork 63-52 to round out the fi­nal night of con­fer­ence com­pe­ti­tion.

Now to the dis­trict sched­ule. The top two seeds played Tues­day night in the first round of the 4A-1 tour­na­ment be­ing held in Lin­coln. Pea Ridge played in the early 5:30 p.m. game against the eighth seed Gen­try and that game was fol­lowed by No. 2 seed Gravette tak­ing on host No. 7 seed Lin­coln. Af­ter see­ing the Green­land score, the Wolves might have been think­ing up­set on their home court. Not likely, as the Lions are aware that a loss Tues­day ends their sea­son.

Wed­nes­day night’s games see No. 3 Ber­ryville bat­tling No. 6 Huntsville at 5:30 p.m. with No. 4 Prairie Grove tak­ing on No. 5 seed Shiloh at 8:30 p.m. The Bob­cat/Ea­gle matchup will be in­ter­est­ing, es­pe­cially af­ter Huntsville scored the up­set last week.

The win­ner of Pea Ridge/Gen­try will play the win­ner of Prairie Grove/ Shiloh at 5:30 p.m. Fri­day with the Ber­ryville/Huntsville and Gravette/Lin­coln sur­vivors fac­ing off at 8:30 p.m. on the same night.

The semi­fi­nal win­ners will play for the cham­pi­onship at 8:30 p.m. Satur­day with the semi-losers to play for third place at 5:30 p.m.

All semi­fi­nal­ists will qual­ify for the North Re­gion Tour­na­ment to be held next week in Ber­ryville. They will play the top four from the 4A-4 Dis­trict with the top con­tenders from that tour­na­ment be­ing Pottsville, Ozark, Su­bi­aco, Dar­danelle and Booneville.

MaxPreps Boys 4A-1 Dis­trict poll

1. Pea Ridge 23-4

2. Ber­ryville 19-8

3. Gravette 18-7

4. Shiloh 14-9

5. Prairie Grove 14-12

6. Huntsville 13-12

7. Lin­coln 11-17

8. Gen­try 10-17

Boys 4A North Re­gion poll

1. Pottsville 21-2

2. Ozark 19-3

3. Pea Ridge 23-4

4. Su­bi­aco 12-7

5. Ber­ryville 19-8

6. Gravette 18-7

7. Dar­danelle 13-11

8. Booneville 16-9

9. Shiloh 13-9

10. Prairie Grove 14-12

Boys 4A State poll

as of Feb. 9, 2018

1. Pottsville 22-2

2. West­side 18-5

3. Bap­tist Prep 22-5

4. South­side 23-4

5. Stuttgart 19-3

6. West He­lena 20-1

7. Brook­land 16-8

8. Ozark 21-4

9. ESTEM 20-10

10. Pea Ridge 23-4

11. Baux­ite 19-7

12. Robin­son 16-9

13. War­ren 17-6

14. Su­bi­aco 15-8

15. Ber­ryville 19-7

16. Malvern 19-5

17. Riverview 21-6

18. Ash­down 15-5

19. Gravette 18-7

20. Tru­mann 13-13

21. Du­mas 14-10

22. Foun­tain Lake

23. Star City 12-9

24. Nashville 18-6

25. Mena 17-9 other teams from the 4A-1

29. Shiloh 13-9

32. Prairie Grove 14-12

34. Huntsville 13-12

42. Lin­coln 11-17

45. Gen­try 10-16

Lady Black­hawks start dis­trict play with Gravette

Heath Neal’s Lady Black­hawks opened dis­trict play Tues­day night by bat­tling No. 2 seed Gravette in the open­ing round of the 4A-1 Tour­na­ment.

The win­ner of Tues­day’s game is sched­uled to take on the win­ner of the Gen­try/Huntsville game at 7 p.m. Fri­day. Gen­try is the No. 3 seed with Huntsville hold­ing the No. 6 seed.

The other girls game Tues­day was the top-seeded Ber­ryville game with last seeded Shiloh. The Bob­cats are the 4A state’s sec­ond ranked team with a sparkling 26-1 record. The Ber­ryville/Shiloh win­ner plays the win­ner of the No. 4 Prairie Grove/No. 5 Lin­coln matchup. The win­ners of these two games will play at 4 p.m. Fri­day with the dis­trict fi­nal set for 7 p.m. Satur­day. The third place game will be held at 4 p.m.

Girls 4A-3A-1 Fi­nal con­fer­ence record

1. Gravette 15-3

2. Gen­try 13-5

3. Elkins 12-6

4. Prairie Grove 12-6

5. Lin­coln 10-8

6. Pea Ridge 8-10

7. West Fork 8-10

8. Shiloh 7-11

9. Green­land 4-14

10. Haas Hall 0-18

Girls 4A-1 Dis­trict poll

1. Ber­ryville 26-1

2. Gravette 19-6

3. Prairie Grove 16-10

4. Gen­try 16-10

5. Huntsville 12-17

6. Lin­coln 15-12

7. Shiloh 12-12

8. Pea Ridge 11-16

MaxPreps 4A State poll

As of Feb. 9. 2018

1. Cen­tral Arkansas 27-1

2. Ber­ryville 26-1

3. Pottsville 21-4

4. Ozark 23-0

5. Gravette 19-6

6. Brook­land 18-6

7. Batesville SS 18-9

8. Star City 20-6

9. Riverview 20-7

10. ESTEM 16-6

11. Lonoke 21-7

12. Poc­a­hon­tas 17-9

13. West He­lena 17-4

14. War­ren 22-4

15. Mon­ti­cello 20-6

16. Ash­down 13-9

17. Dar­danelle 16-10

18. Baux­ite 16-9

19. Stuttgart 18-7 20.Heber Springs 12-10

21. Du­mas 18-6

22. Prairie Grove 16-10

23. High­land 13-12

24. Gen­try 16-10

25. Huntsville 12-17 other teams from the 4A-1

26. Lin­coln 15-12

29. Shiloh 12-12

31. Pea Ridge 11-16

•••

Ed­i­tor’s note: John McGee is an award-win­ning colum­nist and sports writer. The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor. He can be con­tacted through The Times at prt­news@nwadg.com.

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