PRAIRIE GROVE -- Don't write the Tiger boys basketball team off just yet.
Prairie Grove dropped a pair of conference games last week, 53-43 on the road at Shiloh Christian Tuesday, Jan. 29 and 48-37 to Pea Ridge (19-6, 8-3) Friday at Tiger Gymnasium, but veteran coach Steve Edmiston thinks the upcoming district tournament hosted by Harrison could be a different story.
"The big thing with us, this time of year looking at records and you're not where you really hoped to be, it's easy at times to kind of say, 'yeah, we're going to be there, but how much are we really there?" Steve Edmiston said.
The Tigers (6-14, 3-8 4A-1 West) were in Friday's game at the end of the first quarter, trailing 12-11 despite shooting barrage of four 3-pointers made by Pea Ridge senior Nick Coble.
"I think he's one of the best players in the conference, if not the best player in the conference," Steve Edmiston said. "He's a tough guard. We came out and tried to zone them a little bit knowing that we were going to give a few things up, but he comes out, gets out, kind of forced our hand."
The Tigers, too, clicked early on long-range shots. Alex Edmiston, the coach's son, and senior Riley Rhodes, who made a pair of treys, provided offense along with Nick Pohlman's free throws.
In the second quarter, Prairie Grove shifted into a man-to-man defense largely containing Coble over the middle two quarters when he was held to 5 points. Pea Ridge gradually extended its lead to 24-19 at the half and 32-25 after three quarters to spoil Colors Day for the Tigers.
The problem was Prairie Grove went cold.
The Tigers produced only six points in the third quarter.
"Balance is important for us. Tonight we struggled offensively. Pea Ridge is a good defensive team. As well as they score it, they're a good defensive team," Steve Edmiston said.
"It's something we've kind of struggled with and tried to work on all year long is our offensive efficiency. We shoot 30 percent from the field. We got shots we wanted. We just simply couldn't get the ball in the basket. Against a team like that we can't overcome four or five, six straight possessions without getting baskets. That just puts so much pressure on you defensively and with a team like Pea Ridge it's just tough to overcome that."
Coble challenged the Tigers by getting into the interior of their defense in the fourth.
"Even in the second half, we kind of took that (3-point shot) away and he's a solid player, he's very versatile. He starts driving a little bit, (hitting) pullups, and he's that good offensively. Yeah, he's a tough guard, there's no doubt," Steve Edmiston said.
Pohlman and Alex Edmiston each contributed a pair of buckets in the fourth while Rhodes and John Mayer combined to make 4-of-4 free throws, but the Tigers were outscored 16-12 in the quarter and lost 48-37.
Prairie Grove's defensive play has kept them in games and limited opponents. If the Tigers can find a hot hand come tournament time they could very easily play their way into Regionals, which will be hosted by Morrilton.
"Right now, we're still battling, we're still working, we're still trying to get better and that's probably what I'm most proud of because the unique thing about basketball is - you know here in another week everybody's got a shot," Steve Edmiston said. "Got that second season so there's still something to play for. Our fate is not sealed yet. You never know with the capable personnel we got. I think that if we put things together, you could see an entirely different bunch so the idea is we just got to keep believing, keep working and try to do the best we can."
PEA RIDGE 48, PRAIRIE GROVE 37
Pea Ridge (19-6, 8-3): Nick Coble 9 0-0 24, Wes Wales 6 0-0 12, Will Feemster 2 0-0 4, Carson Rhine 1 0-0 3, Brandon Whatley 1 0-0 3, Noah Peterson 0 2-2 2. Totals 19 2-2 48.
Prairie Grove (6-14, 3-8): Nick Pohlman 5 2-2 12, Riley Rhodes 3 2-2 10, Alex Edmiston 3 0-0 7, John Mayers 1 2-2 4, James Millwood 1 0-0 2, Braden Risner 0 2-2 2. Totals 13 8-8 37.
3-Point Goals -- Pea Ridge 8 (Coble 6, Rhine, Whatley). Prairie Grove 3 (Rhodes 2, Edmiston).
Shiloh Christian 53, Prairie Grove 43
Drew Dudley twice hit 3-pointers and Seth Rosenfeld added another as the Saints (6-18, 4-6) jumped out to a 12-4 lead with 2:21 remaining in the first quarter.
Trailing by a point the Tigers (6-13, 3-7) had a chance to take the lead but Rosenfeld blocked a Prairie Grove shot in transition. He saved the rebound while falling out-of-bounds and Jaiden Henry nailed a three at the other end to put the Saints up, 20-16.
Henry's trey marked the turning point in the contest as Shiloh Christian scored 13 unanswered points. As a trailer on the break Jaret Russ got a wide open look for a 3-pointer as the Saints built a 31-18 halftime lead.
Prairie Grove's best offensive production came in the third quarter when the Tigers outscored Shiloh 17-14, but they could only trade points the rest of the way.
Rosenfeld scored 17 points while Blake Thomson added 12 and Dudley 10 for the Saints.
Pohlman was the only Tiger in double figures with 16 points.
Prairie Grove (6-13, 3-7): Nick Pohlman 16, Riley Rhodes 9, Alex Edmiston 7, John Mayers 5, James Millwood 3, Braden Risner 3.
Shiloh Christian (6-18, 4-6): Seth Rosenfeld 17, Blake Thomson 12, Drew Dudley 10, Malachi Henry 4, Jaret Russ 4, John Morrison 2, Cole Oswald 2, Harrison Williams 2.Sports on 02/06/2019
Print Headline: Don't Write Tigers Off Yet