Mohawks Come Up Short Against Hornets
The Piggott Mohawks fell to the host Harrisburg Hornets 64-61 Monday night in the first round of the 3A-3 district tournament. Playing without the services of senior post man Trevor Grubb, who was out due to illness, the Tribe gave the Hornets all they wanted and more as the Harrisburg squad squeaked into the second round and a Tuesday night contest with third seeded Earle.
Although they found themselves down by double figures at several points, the Mohawks got a huge game from seniors Austin Murray and Will Jett. Down the stretch the Piggott squad was able to put themselves in a position to win, but fell victim to several questionable calls by the referees. As for the Hornets, they weathered a dismal second half from the free throw line, and had a combined 46 points from two of their starters to advance.
The contest came on the heels of a disappointing senior night loss to Manila, and the emotional season finale' victory at Rector.
Playing for the fourth time this season, the Mohawks took on the Hornets for the final time as a conference foe Monday night. Early in the season the Mohawks had pounded Harrisburg in tournament play, but the Hornets took both of the regular season match-ups.
As the contest got underway both teams got off to a relatively slow start, and the score stood knotted at 13-13 after one. In the second quarter the Hornets went on a run, outscoring the Mohawks 18-11 in the period--the only one in which they outscored the Tribe.
Following intermission the Mohawks put on a strong showing behind Murray's shooting from the floor, and the charity stripe, as the Piggott squad outscored their hosts 18-17. In the fourth they continued to battle back, and erased an 11 point lead to tie the game with 4:42 to play. Down the stretch the Mohawks continued to answer every Hornet score, including several fast break lay-ups while the home team celebrated a made basket.
Murray was a force to be reckoned with, nailing two key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finishing a perfect 11 for 11 from the free throw line en route to a game high 27. Jett also had a big fourth quarter, scoring 12 of his 19 points on the game in the final frame. Sophomore guard Brayden Brewer also stepped-up his game in the fourth, hitting a key 3-point basket as he was also in double figures with 11.
But, the senior rich Hornets shot well from the field and battled back to take a three point lead late. At that point the game fell into the hands of the officials, as several calls in favor of Harrisburg provided them the chance to earn the victory.
As for the Tribe, without the services of Grubb the underclassmen were called upon and they responded. Complimenting the play of seniors Murray and Will Jett, the Mohawks benefited from good minutes from junior Nick McKinnie, along with the talented group of sophomores which includes Brewer, Nicholas Harris, Logan Dixon, Noah May and Beau Jett. Also coming off the bench for the Tribe was freshman Bret Fuller, who moved up from the junior squad following their season finale'.
In fact, throughout the contest the Mohawks played a variety of underclassmen, lending their support to the senior duo of Will Jett and Austin Murray, which bodes well for the prospects for next year's squad.
"Once we got up by four I thought we had them," Coach David Reynolds said of the disappointing loss. "There was a point where all we needed was one stop and one basket and I think we could have put them away."
Adding to the difficulties were several close calls which went to the Hornets, including a late offensive foul on Murray and a 3-point shot miss by Jett, which left the talented senior sprawled on the floor in what appeared to be a foul and a late out-of-bounds call.
"If that one out-of-bounds call had of gone our way things may have been different," Reynolds surmised. "I really thought it went off the Harrisburg kid, but they got the ball and took it down for a layup. But, we sure didn't lose the game because of any one call."
Also scoring for the Mohawks were Nicholas Harris with 2 points, as he found himself in foul trouble, and Beau Jett came off the bench with 2 points as well. Meanwhile, the Hornets had four players in double figures.
Next season Harrisburg move up to 4A and will join the potent conference which includes Brookland, Gosnell, Cave City, Highland, Pocahontas, Westside and Trumann.
In the early boy's game at Harrisburg Monday night the eighth seeded Corning Bobcats posted an upset win over the fifth seeded Hoxie Mustangs, in overtime, as they advanced to take on fourth seeded Osceola on Tuesday evening.
The Mohawks observed senior night last Tuesday, Feb. 11 as they hosted the Manila Lions at PHS. The Tribe had three players score in double figures, as Murray and Harris had 12 each and Will Jett finished with 10. But, the Lions got 26 points from Caleb Reinhart and 20 from Scott Eubanks as they posted the 70-50 decision. Also in the scoring column for the Mohawks were Nick McKinnie with 8 Grubb with 6 while Jeff Meuir and Logan Dixon each had 1 in the loss.
Earlier in the evening the Tribe joined the Lady Mohawks for senior night festivities, as the four members of the class of 2014 were recognized. This year's seniors include Austin Murray, Will Jett, Trevor Grubb and Jeff Meuir. Members of the team also presented coaches David Reynolds and Michael Harrell with autographed basketballs as a token of their appreciation.
Along with Harrisburg, the Earle Bulldogs will also leave 3A-3 for next season as they drop down to 2A leaving just six in the conference including the Mohawks, Corning, Hoxie, Manila, Osceola and Rivercrest. For the Tribe the prospects are bright, as they will return a wealth of playing experience from this year's squad.