The two-month long fog over the 6A/5A-1 blended conference has begun to lift, and post-season play is finally clearing up albeit still not without some discombobulation.
The 6A-West district brackets were released on Wednesday with still a game left to be played on Thursday night between Greenwood and Russellville, which evidently had no bearing for either the boys or the girls.
“I didn’t agree with it because we still have games to play, and they’re 6A games that matter,” Dr. Dustin Smith, Greenwood Athletic Director, said on Thursday after the release of the brackets. “It was the will of the masses. It’s the hand we’re dealt.”
There was also no actual meeting of school officials at a neutral site. Rather, everything was done by electronic mail back and forth among athletic directors and coaches. Coaches from all of the teams in the 6A-West submitted rankings and votes were tallied with also Maxpreps being used as a tool as well for deciding seedings for the district tournament. The final votes among athletic directors was 7-1 in favor of the bracket as it was released by Russellville athletic director Johnny Johnson, the basketball spokesman for the conference.
The Lady Bulldogs are seeded fifth and will travel back to Russellville, seeded fourth, for the first-round district-tournament game on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on KFPW-96.7-FM/1230-AM.
The winner will play the winner of another first-round game of eighth-seeded Texarkana at top-seeded Lake Hamilton on Tuesday. The losers of the two games will also play on Tuesday at the site of the higher seed.
If Greenwood loses at Russellville on Saturday, and Texarkana loses, then Greenwood will host Tuesday’s game against Texarkana at 5 p.m. If Greenwood wins at Russellville, and Lake Hamilton wins, then Greenwood will travel to Lake Hamilton.
The Bulldogs, seeded seventh, will travel to Texarkana, seeded second, for the first-round boys game on Saturday at 6 p.m. That game will be broadcast on KHGG-103.1-FM.
Texarkana and top-seeded El Dorado with Razorback signee Daniel Gafford split their two-game series with El Dorado winning, 104-97, in overtime in December and Texarkana winning, 64-61, three weeks ago.
Tim Terry will be behind the microphone for both Greenwood games on Saturday.
Both teams will also play again on Tuesday whether in winner’s bracket or loser’s bracket games. Teams that lose on both Saturday and Tuesday are eliminated.
Alma finishes off the regular season today when the Airedales and Airedalettes travel to Clarksville.
The Airedales can force a three-way tie for second place in the 5A-West part of the 6A/5A-1 with a win along with a Harrison win over Farmington. The Airedales, though, can finish no higher than the third seed and must beat Clarksville by nine points or more along with a Farmington loss to avoid the fourth seed. Clarksville can be the second seed with a win along with a Farmington loss.
Harrison has already wrapped up the outright overall conference championship as well as the top seed from the western part of the 5A-West in next week’s district tournament at Greenbrier.
The girls’ game means nothing as far as the final standings. The Airedalettes will be seeded fourth from the west in the 5A-West tournament and will play on Monday at 4 p.m. at Greenbrier against Vilonia, top seeded from the east. Clarksville is seeded third and will play Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. against Morrilton or Greenbrier.
Farmington travels to Harrison on Friday night to decide the top seed from the west in the district tournament as well as the overall conference championship.
Harrison is 10-1 in the conference, and Farmington is 9-2 but both teams are 4-1 against 5A-West opponents inside the conference.
Alma games in the district tournament on Monday as well as Friday’s games will be broadcast on KHGG-103.1-FM with Toney McMurry providing play-by-play.
Van Buren hits the road
After enjoying three home games in the last two weeks, Van Buren hits the road to Washington County for consecutive playing dates.
Van Buren travels to Springdale today and to Tontitown to play Springdale Har-Ber on Tuesday.
The Pointers toughed out a 47-38 win over Rogers on Tuesday but didn’t pull away until the last two minutes.
“I’m glad we won the game,” Van Buren head coach Austin Trembley said. “We’re going to have to build on some strengths and learn from some things we need to do to get better. We’re going to have to play better on Friday night to win, I really do. I’m proud of our guys, but the important thing is that we come to get better the next two days because we’re going to have to.”
The win coupled with the loss by Rogers Heritage on Tuesday put Van Buren into sole possession of third place at 7-4 in the 7A-West, a game in front of Heritage and two games ahead of Bentonville West and Fayetteville.
“That’s a good position to be in,” Trembley said. “We’ll take it one game at a time and one possession at a time, and hopefully we can finish there in the top three. That would be really good.”
The Lady Pointers also took a step ahead of a challenger on Tuesday night with their 50-47 win against Rogers.
Jentry Myers led Van Buren with 21 points. Jamilyn Kinney scored eight of her 11 points in the fourth quarter when the Lady Pointers rallied from a 45-40 deficit.
“There was never any doubt in her’s or any of the other kid’s minds that we were going to find a way to get it done,” Van Buren head coach Chris Bryant said.
Van Buren remains in sole possession of second place at 10-1 in the conference, three games ahead of Springdale. A win on Friday would cinch at least second place and first-round bye in the Class 7A state tournament.