The Batesville Pioneers and Lady Pioneers were supposed to be getting ready to play their longtime rivals from Searcy Tuesday night.
Instead, they will be gearing up for the conference tournament. The Lady Pioneers will be at home Monday night to host the Searcy Lady Lions, while the Pioneers will travel to Marion to take on the Patriots Tuesday night.
Both the Pioneers and Lady Pioneers found out Wednesday afternoon that the tournament was starting in just a few days.
The Lady Pioneers are the number one seed in the conference. They will host every game they play in during the tournament. The Pioneers are a seven seed and will likely be on the road for their games.
With the regular season ending early, the Lady Pioneers claimed a regular season conference championship.
Head coach of the Lady Pioneers Stan Fowler said “This [format] will be good for us as long as we win.”
“Our one loss was on the home court, but it means more to be home. Instead of having to load the kids up and play the tournament somewhere else. If we keep winning we’ll keep playing the games at our place.” Fowler added “All the girls seem to shoot so much better” at Pioneer Gymnasium.
“This conference is just so tough it almost doesn’t matter who you play, you’re going to have some hard games ahead of you in this tournament,” Fowler said
The Lady Pioneers last practice was last weekend before the snow set in.
Fowler said “When the road are safe I’m going to get the kids out and we’re going to hit it and go after it. It’s the big final push.”
While the Lady Pioneers will stay at home, the Pioneers will be on the road to finish out an “unconventional season,” according to Chad LaRose.
When asked about what the sudden schedule changes meant to his team, LaRose said “I think they’re teenage boys, I think they’re just ready to get out of the house and play.”
“If we would’ve taken care of business versus Nettleton and Searcy, we would’ve been in that four-five game,” LaRose said.
The Pioneers last game was a road game against the Patriots that they lost 56-35. LaRose said “we get of feel for a two hour trip, getting out and get the legs going and take care of business.”
LaRose said even though the start of the conference tournament was just verified yesterday, he has been preparing to play Marion since Saturday.
“I think it worked out well since we got together and decided to move Senior Night up. Getting that in defiantly helped. You never want to lose any games, especially home games.”
LaRose finished by saying “It’s just one game to state. If we go in and play a full 32 minutes I think we do have an opportunity. I don’t think the number two in front of their name or the number seven in front of our name really means anything, as long as we go in a play smart and don’t give the ball away. I think we have an opportunity.”