It's noted that White Hall Bulldogs Head Coach Marc Stringer is currently battling his second stint with cancer. Stringer missed Tuesday's game at Little Rock Mills due to a late flight back from Houston, where he had a few medical check-ups.
Stringer doesn't plan on missing another game.
"I shouldn't miss anymore," Stringer said. "I was down in Houston, and I couldn't make it back in time. I was down there getting check ups, and unfortunately my flight didn't get back in time, but I shouldn't miss anymore."
Tonight, the Bulldogs will play the Benton Panthers, a team they lost to 59-55 earlier this season.
The Bulldogs had an resurgence of energy in the wake of Stringer's return to the team, and on Wednesday they fell by one point to Pine Bluff 57-56. Although they played a good game and even led for the majority of time, they couldn't finish, something Stringer sees as a reoccurring problem going back to the Watson Chapel game.
"That's two in a row, not counting Mills, which was a different story," Stringer said. "Against Pine Bluff and Chapel, we had leads and didn't finish the game. What we have to learn how to do is finish."
This Bulldogs team is led by a veteran group of seniors in Tylin Walker, Quentin Urquhart, Jabari Blackmon, Devin Koonce and Ollie Reddick. Stringer has brought it to their attention that for them this is it.
"I've brought up to them (that) is this how you want your senior year to end?" Stringer said. "They won't get another chance to play Pine Bluff and Chapel. We're trying to get that sense of urgency going because this is their last go around."
In their previous match up, White Hall fell just short of Benton, and Stringer believes they have what it takes to beat the Panthers. They just have to lock in.
"They're a lengthy team," Stringer said of Benton. "They're well coached, and they're good at what they do. We have to cut down on turnovers at critical times, and we have to hit free throws and make shots. We've been streaky at best shooting the ball. We have to lock in on defense, and we can't make the silly mistakes that we're making right now.”
White Hall and Benton are set for a 7 p.m. tip off.
The Watson Chapel Wildcats (10-9, 3-2) didn't have time to dwell on the 76-73 loss to their crosstown rivals Pine Bluff on Tuesday.
This weekend, the Wildcats have games on back-to-back nights against the Little Rock McClellan Lions and the Little Rock Mills Comets.
The McClellan game is set for 6 p.m. today. The Mills game is set for 1 p.m. Saturday.
Head coach Marcelle Goins feels like the guys have done a nice job dealing with what they have in front of them, and he hopes that they're locked in for going forward.
"I feel we've handled it well," Goins said. "We just ran out of time. There's no reason to go back and harp on it. We talked about our mistakes and now we must move on."
As far as the two games this weekend, Goins eluded to their off season schedule and how they've played a number of games in a short amount of time.
"I don't think it has bothered them with our previous schedule. We've had weeks when we've played multiple games," Goins said. "We just have to make sure it hasn't affected us mentally."
The mixed league that the Wildcats are playing in was more top heavy last season as compared to this season, where there's a lot of parody. Goins and his guys were prepared for a year like this heading into the season.
"We knew it was going to be like this from the jump," Goins said. "That's why I've been preaching being focused from game to game. We have to tackle it one game at a time because it'll be important. The teams we play now we won't play in our conference tournament, and this is how we get our seeding."
The Wildcats previously played McClellan this season, and they beat the Lions by a final of 68-53. Mills is currently the number one team in the state with a 16-2 overall record, and Goins looks forward to the challenge. Goins actually likes playing on back-to-back days because it helps simulate a tournament-style scenario.
"I expect for us to play hard," Goins said. "We already played McClellan, and it's tough to go in there and win on a Friday. We turn around and play the top team in the state. If we're going to be what we want to be we have to get through stretches like this. I like playing back-to-back because it's similar to tournament format."
The Pine Bluff Zebras are traveling to Sheridan tonightlooking for their third straight road win as they face the Sheridan Yellowjackets.
The Zebras are meeting the Yellowjackets for the second time this season. In the first meeting between the two teams, the Zebras escaped Sheridan 39-36 in a game that came down to the last few possessions.
Kendrick Thorn played limited minutes against Watson Chapel on Tuesday due to ejection, which caused him to sit out against White Hall on Wednesday.
Thorn, who had 14 points to lead the Zebras against Sheridan in the first meeting, looks to return with the idea of keeping the Zebras on the right track.
In the last three games, Kaleb Higgins has been the leading scorer in each game for the Zebras and their opponent.
Higgins scored a season-high of 38 points against number one-ranked Little Rock Mills last week.
Higgins also scored game-highs of 31 and 29 points against Watson Chapel and White Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday, and plans to keep his scoring performance going against the Yellowjackets on Friday.
Alongside Thorn and Higgins, Harris Martin and Kaezron Washington have done some good deeds in the last few games.
Martin has averaged 15 points in the last two games, with 17 against Watson Chapel and 13 against White Hall as a starter.
Washington was a starter at the beginning of the season, but has now found a great role to come off the bench and help the Zebras when needed.
On Wednesday, Washington scored the go-ahead basket that would eventually win the game against White Hall.
The Zebras have won the last 4 out of 5 games and are currently one of the top teams in their conference.
Pine Bluff will tip-off against Sheridan beginning at 7 p.m. at Sheridan High School.