Smackover ready to host district tourney

Coaches will sometimes break seasons down into three parts with the postseason being the final component.

For Smackover, it means a new slate after a difficult conference campaign.

After winning two tournaments over the holiday break, the Bucks entered the new year aiming to contend in the 8-3A, but after falling to Lake Village 65-60 on Thursday, Smackover finds itself without a win so far in 2024.

On Monday, the Bucks will try to reverse that trend when they face DeWitt in the opening round of the 8-3A District Tournament, which Smackover is hosting.

Game time is set for 7 p.m.

The Bucks (10-16, 1-11) are the No. 7 seed, while the Dragons (8-15, 3-9) are the No. 6 seed.

Smackover topped DeWitt 71-66 at home on Dec. 8 for their lone conference win. The Dragons won the rematch 67-47 on Jan. 23. The Dragons also enter the postseason with some momentum after topping Drew Central 50-46 in their regular-season finale on Thursday.

“In the first game, we played OK, had a few turnovers, but found a way to win,” Smackover coach A’Darius Wallace said. “The second game, we went to DeWitt and we didn’t show up. The scoreboard showed that. They played hard. They came out hot in the first quarter and shot the ball very well.”

Wallace said freshman Keith Xavier Cox and senior Braylon Brown are two players the Bucks will have to account for.

“He’s pretty quick and he scored the ball very well,” Wallace said of Cox. “They’ve got another big kid (Brown) who is very physical. They showed up to play and they were ready to play.”

Although the Bucks have struggled, Wallace believes his team has a chance to make a run.

“I feel pretty good,” Wallace said. “It’s been a rough little season. We started off hot and went through the (conference) season 1-11, but I believe in learning along the way, so maybe we can take all of those and build something and make a run in this tournament.”

When asked specifically about the Bucks’ struggles, Wallace said turnovers have been at the forefront.

“Just valuing the ball,” Wallace said. “We just turn the ball over. Sometimes we’ll make shots, rebounding, basics, things we have to control and things we can’t control that we have to be better at.”

Wallace added that he moved up freshmen Carter Walker and Dylan DeTraz for the postseason.

“They can help us on the rebounding side with their length,” Wallace said.

For Wallace, the Bucks’ slate is now a clean one.

“I’m getting ready for next week,” Wallace said. “It’s a 0-0 season and going from there.”

Upcoming Events