3A/4A This Week 2.6.17

A difficult season got tougher for Lincoln (4-20) when Brian Davenport was relieved of his head coaching duties with the Lady Wolves.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE Lincoln relieved girls coach Brian Davenport of his duties after a heated argument during practice with one of his assistants, who also was removed from the program.
NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE
Lincoln relieved girls coach Brian Davenport of his duties after a heated argument during practice with one of his assistants, who also was removed from the program.

The decision was made after Davenport and his assistant coach got into a heated argument in practice that led to both being removed. Stan Karber, an assistant principal at the middle school and strength and conditioning coach, was at the head of the bench on Friday when Lincoln lost 50-36 to Prairie Grove.

He was joined by Lincoln boys coach Tim Rich and Lincoln girls assistant coach Michelle Lumsargis. The defeat was the 11th in the past 12 games for the Lady Wolves.

“They’ve had this hand dealt to them and a group of kids shouldn’t have to go through something like this,” said Karber, who will guide Lincoln the rest of the way on an interim basis. “They’re going to keep moving forward, not only as basketball players, but as strong young ladies. We’re not going to bail out on each other.”

Karber said he’s pleased to receive help from Rich and Lumsargis, a young assistant and former all-state guard at Prairie Grove.

“Michelle has an unbelievable basketball mind,” Karber said. “Somebody’s going to be lucky someday to have her as a head coach.”

— Rick Fires * @NWARick

Seeding Meeting

On Wednesday morning, coaches from the 4A-1 will meet to decide seedings for the conference tournament, which begins next week in Berryville.

There will be a major hurdle during the meeting between boys coaches thanks to the first season of blended districts.

The conundrum is because Pea Ridge and Huntsville are both undefeated in district play. The Blackhawks are 16-0 while the Eagles are 12-0. Because the top two teams in the conference have not played one another, how will the No. 1 seed be decided?

Coaches are expected to debate the issue before voting. It should be an interesting argument, especially considering there won’t be any concrete evidence to support either team’s claim to the top spot.

Fortunately, the top seed for regionals will be decided on the court. If that conference championship game ends up Huntsville vs. Pea Ridge, then fans will find out what team truly is the best from the 4A-1.

— Mike Capshaw • @NWACappy

The Shiloh Standard?

Gravette, which is locked in at the No. 3 seed, handled Gentry’s full-court press with relative ease during a win on Friday.

Lions first-year coach Matt Busch had an interesting take on why his team didn’t get rattled when the Pioneers jumped into a press defense during the third quarter.

“When you play Shiloh a couple of times, you’ve got to learn or burn as far as handling pressure because they’re going to really pressure you,” Busch said. “I think preparation for them and just playing them has helped us, so anytime you see pressure in nonconference or conference, you’re going to learn.

“You’re going to lose a few possession because you’re going to throw it away a couple of times, but playing against it against Shiloh, then you can handle it better when a team throws it at you a couple of times a game instead of coming at you for an entire game like Shiloh does.”

— Mike Capshaw • @NWACappy

Team to Watch

Gravette’s girls will learn where they’re seeded on Wednesday and is a team no one wants to face because of their ability to beat any team at any time.

The Lady Lions may be the most dangerous team in the tourney because of their defense, especially when they jump into their 1-3-1 full-court press.

As a team, coach Will Pittman likes his team’s chances.

“I feel good about where we are,” Pittman said. “We have a couple of bumps and bruises, but I think we’ll be ready by the time the conference tournament gets here.

“Our effort is great. Our intensity is great and we’ve had different kids step up at different times all year, so I feel good about where we are.”

— Mike Capshaw • @NWACappy

Another One to Watch

Gentry’s boys have won four of their last five games with the lone loss coming at Gravette on Friday.

First-year coach Brent Hester believes his team is in a solid position. The Pioneers are 9-7 in district play heading into its final two games this week.

“We’ve been playing well,” Hester said. “If we play well in our last two, we like where we might land in the district tournament and we’ll be one game away from regionals at that point.

“That’s been our goal all year, so we’ll see.”

— Mike Capshaw • @NWACappy

Mike Capshaw
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Mike Capshaw

Sports writer at NWA Media
Mike primarily covers Fayetteville and Farmington.
Mike Capshaw
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