Well, the regular season is over and now we are headed for the District, Regional and State playoffs.
I have compiled some statistics though doing so reminds of something Mark Twain once said, I am paraphrasing here, "There are lies, then there are really bad lies, and then there are statistics."
Stats don't tell the whole story of a team. For example, the top offense in the state is West Helena's 71 points per game average. However, they played five of their 21 games against Lee High School, one of the weakest teams in the 3A classification, scoring a bunch against their much weaker opponent. Though they lead the state in scoring, they might not survive the first round of the district playoffs next week. Five teams in the states Top 10 are from the 4A-2 District (Baptist Prep No. 3, Southside No. 3, Stuttgart No. 5, West Helena No. 6 and ESTEM No. 9). It appears West Helena will be playing No. 17 Riverview, a dangerous team.
Actually, all the stats are skewed this year as far as 4A teams are concerned because the AAA arranged to have the 4A schools play a big chunk of their games against 3A opponents. Teams like the private school in Springdale often ran up the scores on their over matched opponents, thereby inflating averages and records.
Teams like Pea Ridge, for example, routinely sent in bench players to finish games that have been irrevocably won. Leading by 20 with a quarter left is pretty much a done deal in the huge majority of games. The 'Hawks averaged nearly 58 points per game this season and if we were like some other teams who have a tendency to run up scores, we could have averaged close to 70. That would have also improved our defensive averages as well.
Properly done, coaches who have secured a victory for their team will then work on gaining experience for the younger, less used players who will be the team of the future. Pea Ridge has long been known for this.
There is one stat that does have a bearing on the game and the chances for the 'Hawks' success in the near future. The Blackhawks have had five separate players who have led the team in scoring in a game. Average wise, Hayden Holtgrewe and Nick Coble are averaging nearly 13 points per game with Kobe Rose almost averaging 12. Center Mike Mahoney is close to 10 points per game in his scoring which demonstrates the balanced scoring Pea Ridge can employ in their offense.
The meaning of these particular stats is that no team's defense can key on a single player in their quest to defeat the 'Hawks.
The Blackhawks also have players that can come off the bench to provide some offense, a key stat that never shows up in charts.
Stats are for sports writers, fans and parents. They are fun to read and surmise, but they only tell a partial story.
4A Most victories/best records
1.^ Pea Ridge^23-4
4.^Baptist Prep ^22-5
4A Best defense (fewest points allowed)
2.^Batesville Southside^39.4 ppg
7.^Pea Ridge^45.7 ppg
8.^Prairie Grove^46.0 ppg
10.^Baptist Prep^48.5 ppg
4A Best offense (scoring average)
West Helena 71.3 ppg
Jonesboro Westside 68.4 ppg
Shiloh 67.9 ppg
Stuttgart 66.3 ppg
Berryville 66.2 ppg
Trumann 64.2 ppg
Baptist Prep 64.1 ppg
Malvern 64.3 ppg
Pottsville 63.2 ppg
Warren 61.8 ppg
Pea Ridge 57.7 ppg
'Hawks win conference by a whopping four games
The 'Hawks' 65-47 whipping of the Elkins Elks brought the curtain down on the 2017-2018 regular season for the Pea Ridge cagers. Not favored to win the league by nearly anyone this season, to win by four games was surprising to a bunch of folks.
The 4A-1 district seedings came out Friday before the game with Pea Ridge earning the top seed followed by No. 2 seed Gravette.
There was some hope in Berryville that the Bobcats might get that seed but the coaches voted in the Lions. That hope was before Berryville lost to Huntsville 54-50 last Tuesday. That was a big upset after Berryville whipped the Eagles 55-29 earlier in the year.
Another shocker was last Friday when the conference's last place team, Greenland, beat Gravette 45-42. The game was one of those trap games, a game in which the favored team had nothing to win or lose relative to the outcome of the game.
The Lions already had their No. 2 seed locked up and their post season path laid out for them. Greenland was having senior night and were likely looking forward to the 3A-1 District Tournament. Only two of the teams in that district have winning records.
In addition to the Gravette shocker and the 'Hawks' win over Elkins, Shiloh crushed Gentry 70-54, Prairie Grove destroyed Haas Hall 73-49 and Lincoln got past West Fork 63-52 to round out the final night of conference competition.
Now to the district schedule. The top two seeds played Tuesday night in the first round of the 4A-1 tournament being held in Lincoln. Pea Ridge played in the early 5:30 p.m. game against the eighth seed Gentry and that game was followed by No. 2 seed Gravette taking on host No. 7 seed Lincoln. After seeing the Greenland score, the Wolves might have been thinking upset on their home court. Not likely, as the Lions are aware that a loss Tuesday ends their season.
Wednesday night's games see No. 3 Berryville battling No. 6 Huntsville at 5:30 p.m. with No. 4 Prairie Grove taking on No. 5 seed Shiloh at 8:30 p.m. The Bobcat/Eagle matchup will be interesting, especially after Huntsville scored the upset last week.
The winner of Pea Ridge/Gentry will play the winner of Prairie Grove/Shiloh at 5:30 p.m. Friday with the Berryville/Huntsville and Gravette/Lincoln survivors facing off at 8:30 p.m. on the same night.
The semifinal winners will play for the championship at 8:30 p.m. Saturday with the semi-losers to play for third place at 5:30 p.m.
All semifinalists will qualify for the North Region Tournament to be held next week in Berryville. They will play the top four from the 4A-4 District with the top contenders from that tournament being Pottsville, Ozark, Subiaco, Dardanelle and Booneville.
4A-3A-1 Final conference standings
MaxPreps Boys 4A-1 District poll
Boys 4A North Region poll
Boys 4A State poll
as of Feb. 9, 2018
- ^Malvern 19-5
other teams from the 4A-1
Lady Blackhawks start district play with Gravette
Heath Neal's Lady Blackhawks opened district play Tuesday night by battling No. 2 seed Gravette in the opening round of the 4A-1 Tournament.
The winner of Tuesday's game is scheduled to take on the winner of the Gentry/Huntsville game at 7 p.m. Friday. Gentry is the No. 3 seed with Huntsville holding the No. 6 seed.
The other girls game Tuesday was the top-seeded Berryville game with last seeded Shiloh. The Bobcats are the 4A state's second ranked team with a sparkling 26-1 record. The Berryville/Shiloh winner plays the winner of the No. 4 Prairie Grove/No. 5 Lincoln matchup. The winners of these two games will play at 4 p.m. Friday with the district final set for 7 p.m. Saturday. The third place game will be held at 4 p.m.
Girls 4A-3A-1 Final conference record
Girls 4A-1 District poll
MaxPreps 4A State poll
As of Feb. 9. 2018
other teams from the 4A-1
Editor's note: John McGee is an award-winning columnist and sports writer. He is the art teacher at Pea Ridge elementary schools, coaches elementary track and writes a regular sports column for The Times. The opinions expressed are those of the author. He can be contacted through The Times at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sports on 02/14/2018
Print Headline: Statistics, statistics, statistics