Carlisle’s Bison beat Hazen last week, 62-59 — three days after losing to the Hornets by six points — for their sixth win, tying the most wins in a season since 2013.
Brad Slatton’s team (6-18) secured the third seed from the South for the 3-2A District Tournament, which starts Monday at Carlisle. First-round games are set for Monday and Tuesday with the quarterfinals Thursday, semifinals Friday and championship and third-place games Saturday.
Besides Earle at No. 1, seedings for the North won’t be finalized until Friday, but the South seeds include Clarendon first, followed by Brinkley, Carlisle, Palestine-Wheatley and Hazen. Carlisle will play the fourth seed from the North at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13. The winner will advance to Thursday’s 5:30 p.m. quarterfinal with that winner earning a berth to the Class 2A North Regional at Marked Tree.
The Bison will play at Class 1A Concord on Friday to finish the regular season. The Pirates opened the week 24-3 and ranked fifth in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Class 1A state rankings.
“We hope we can get another few (wins),” Slatton said Sunday. “We felt like we were going to have an opportunity at Hazen; we just had to execute and do what we needed to do. We came up with a different look for them on defense, and it caught them. That allowed us to get away from them.”
Carlisle built a 13-point lead at halftime and maintained it after three quarters, but the Hornets rallied to take the lead down the stretch.
“Our kids decided they weren’t going to lay down,” Slatton said. “After they took the lead, we went back and forth. We were up one with, I think, 6.8 seconds left. We got fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Baylor Craig got the rebound and put-back (for the three-point win).”
He said for the first time this season, the Bison had four players in double figures — sophomore Kamryn Taylor with 16 points, junior Craig and senior Caleb Jones with 13 each and junior Braiden Jenkins with 12.
“It was a good win,” Slatton said. “The kids were excited. That helped us get the 3 seed, and we hope we can take advantage of that.”
He said he thought his team had momentum heading into the post-season.
“We felt pretty good about the win, and with the tournament at our place, we give ourselves the best chance to be successful,” Slatton said. “We’ve still got to go play, no matter who it is. We’re definitely not a team that can overlook anybody, but I’m hopeful.
“I saw a few things that were positives in that Hazen win, and we’re building. It just never goes as fast as anybody wants it to.”
Before the win at Hazen last week, the Bison lost to Hazen on Monday, 60-54; and England on Tuesday, 78-40.
“England’s pretty good, and pretty tough at their place,” Slatton said. “We just turned the ball over a few too many times and gave them some easy looks. We played hard; we just made too many mistakes to beat a team of that caliber.”
But he said he was excited to see what his team can do in the post-season.
“I think we’ve figured out a little bit what we’re trying to do, knowing we need to play a certain style to give ourselves the best chance to be successful,” he said. “They’re just now buying into that and understanding it better.
“I’ve been in this situation before. It never happens as quick as you want it to. It’s just kind of a growing process.”