Carlisle’s Bison fell to their Lonoke County rival Lonoke on Saturday, 52-37, to fall to 2-7, but first-year CHS coach Brad Slatton found some positives.

“I was pleased with our effort,” he said. “I thought we grew up a lot. We played the pace we wanted to for probably three quarters. It kind of got away from us at the end, but we’re building; we’re getting better. I told our kids, ‘We got better tonight.’”

Will Carter’s 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer gave Carlisle a 13-12 edge, and the Bison maintained a one-point advantage at the break, 19-18. The Jackrabbits won the second half, though, 15-9 in the third quarter and 19-9 in in the fourth to break open the close game.

“The thing I’ve preached is this is a process, and we’ve just got to trust in it and not let go of the rope and stay with it,” Slatton said. “They’ve done that. And we played hard. We’ve given effort, and so I don’t have any complaints.

“We’ve just got to keep working and try to correct some of the things that will give us the best chance to be successful. Right now I’m pleased with where we’re at. I’d like for them to have some more success but they’ve been good.”

Braiden Jenkins was the only Bison in double figures with 12 points, but five other Carlisle players scored.

Carlisle will hope for a rematch next week in the Goldfish Classic at Lonoke Dec. 27-29.

The boys tournament will open at 12:15 with Carlisle facing Stuttgart. That winner will meet the winner of the 5:15 opening-round game between Des Arc and England in a 5:15 p.m. Thursday semifinal. Those losers will meet in a consolation game at 2:45 p.m. Thursday.

The top half of the bracket includes Lonoke against Bradford at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday and Malvern-Bald Knob at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday. Those winners will move on to Thursday’s 7:45 p.m. semifinal; losers will drop to the consolation bracket at 12:15 p.m.

Semifinal winners will meet for the championship at 6:40 p.m. Friday. Semifinal losers will play for third at 3:45 p.m.; the fifth-place game is set for 1:15 p.m.

Goals for the Bison?

“We just want to keep going in the right direction, getting better and learning how to manage different situations and hopefully execute a little bit better,” Slatton said. “I think we’re giving the effort. We’ve just got to learn how to manage certain situations and know there’s certain teams we have to play this way, depending on who we’re playing.

“We have to do the things that give us the best chance to be successful.”

He said he didn’t know much about Stuttgart, the Bison’s opening opponent.

“Obviously, a (Class) 4A school playing (Class) 2A is going to have some advantages, but the thing I know is our kids are going to show up, and they’re going to play hard,” Slatton said Sunday. “We’ll practice a couple of times before then. We’re in semester test time this week, so we’ll practice one day before I let them go for a little break for Christmas, then we’ll go play.”

Last week, the Bison lost to Clarendon, 65-24. The Lions improved to 7-1.

“They’re the best team we’ve played,” Slatton said. “We’ve played a couple of others that might be close to them, but Clarendon is a little different level. They’re a good team, and I thought we went out and tried to compete with them. They’re just awfully good. They’re a different level from us right now.”

Jenkins led Carlisle with 12 points.