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Weather leads to changes in conference tourneys

by Henry Apple | February 19, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.

Winter weather has caused the 4A-1 Conference to make some serious alterations to its postseason tournament.

The league's athletic directors voted Wednesday to revise the tournament schedule after inclement weather wreaked havoc on the remaining games. The quarterfinal games that were scheduled for Monday will now serve as winner-take-all affairs while the remaining games were eliminated.

The quarterfinal games will be played at 5 p.m. Monday, with Gravette at Berryville and Shiloh Christian at Farmington in girls games while Shiloh Christian is at Prairie Grove and Harrison at Huntsville in boys action. The winner of those four games will earn berths to the Class 4A North Region Tournament, which begins Wednesday at Ozark.

"This has been a season of many things, from covid to quarantines to winter weather and cancellations," Gravette girls coach William Pittman said. "I think the administrations have done a pretty good job so far of helping us to continue playing this season.

"It's still a must-win game, and it was anyway. It was that was the other night against Gentry. We have to win to keep playing. We're looking forward to the opportunity, and we appreciate being able to have some time to practice before the game Monday night."

The four teams who had byes to the semifinals -- Harrison and Pea Ridge girls and Farmington and Berryville boys -- will now receive automatic berths to the regional tournament.

Meanwhile, the 2A-1 Conference chose to start its tournament tonight, with semifinals set for Saturday and championship games on Monday. Four boys games are scheduled at 6 p.m. with No. 8 seed Decatur at No. 1 Flippin, No. 5 Eureka Springs at No. 4 Arkansas Arts Academy, No. 6 Alpena at No. 3 Life Way Christian and No. 7 Cotter at No. 2 Yellville-Summit.

On the girls side are two games: No. 5 Alpena at No. 4 Yellville-Summit and No. 6 Eureka Springs at No. 3 Flippin. Cotter is the top seed and drew a first-round bye, while second seed Life Way Christian moves on after Decatur's girls elected to forfeit the game.

In other conference tournament news involving teams from Northwest Arkansas:

• 4A-4 -- Its conference tournament was canceled following a meeting Thursday morning. The four teams with the best regular-season records in the boys and girls divisions will be awarded spots in the Class 4A North Region tournament.

Morrilton, Ozark, Dardanelle and Pottsville are the top four boys teams, while Morrilton and Pottsville are the top two girls seeds. The third and fourth seeds are currently dependent on a makeup regular-season game Saturday between Ozark and Dardanelle.

If Ozark wins, the Lady Hillbillies draw the third seed while Clarksville takes the fourth seed. If Dardanelle wins, it's Clarksville which gets the third seed. If the game isn't played, a coin flip between Ozark and Clarksville will determine the third and fourth seeds.

• 3A-1 -- The remainder of its tournament was canceled Thursday, and the four remaining teams in each division will go to the Class 3A Region 1 tournament at Bergman. The girls teams are Bergman, Valley Springs, Elkins and West Fork, while the boys teams consist of Bergman, Elkins, Valley Springs and Green Forest.

• 3A-4 -- The remainder of its tournament was canceled after a vote Wednesday by the league's school superintendents, and now the top four boys and top four girls teams advance to next week's Class 3A Region 1 Tournament in Bergman. Waldron, Cedarville, Charleston and Booneville will represent the conference on the boys side, while the girls teams include Danville, Cossatot River, Cedarville and Charleston.

"Honestly, I never thought about the conference tournament being halted by weather instead of covid," Charleston boys coach B.J. Ross said. "It put the conference in a tough situation. But at the end of the day, it's what is best for the kids.

"If I was a coach whose team was on the outside looking in, I would be disappointed for my kids but understand that life throws curveballs. We have to make sure everything still moves on."

• 3A-5 -- The conference already canceled its tournament earlier this week, and both Lamar teams will advance to the Class 3A Region 3 Tournament. It's the only regional tournament that will be split into two locations this year, with Central Arkansas Christian hosting the boys and Little Rock Episcopal taking care of the girls.

Lamar's boys are the fourth seed from the 3A-5 and will take on host CAC at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Lamar's girls are also the fourth seed and will play CAC, with that game scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Episcopal.

• 2A-4 -- The conference has two boys and two girls games scheduled for Saturday, with the winner of each game earning a berth to the 2A-West Region tournament in Magazine. The boys games are Mansfield at Magazine and Johnson County Westside at Lavaca, while the girls games are Lavaca at Magazine and Johnson County Westside at Mountainburg.

Mountainburg and Acorn are the top two boys seeds and have received regional berths, as will Acorn and Mansfield girls.

• 1A-1 West -- The conference's schools chose to cancel its tournament Thursday and the top four seeds advance to the Class 1A Region 1 tournament in Lead Hill. The boys seeds are The New School, County Line, Ozark Catholic and Mulberry, while the girls seeds are St. Paul, Mulberry/Pleasant View, County Line and Ozark Catholic.

• 1A-1 East -- The conference is holding out hope it can get at least four games in before Monday -- Omaha at Deer and Jasper at Kingston boys and Omaha at Ozark Mountain and Deer at Lead Hill girls -- to at least reach the semifinal round. A meeting of school officials will be held Sunday if that can't happen to determine regional seedings.

The conference's top two seeds -- Ozark Mountain and Lead Hill boys and Kingston and Jasper girls -- await semifinal games if they are played.

More News

At a glance

4A-1 Conf. Tournaments

Boys

Friday, Feb. 12

Game 1 E4 Harrison 64, W5 Gentry 26

Game 2 E3 Shiloh Christian 50, W4 Pea Ridge 46

Saturday, Feb. 13

Game 3 Harrison 69, W3 Gravette 66

Monday

Game 4 Harrison at E2 Huntsville, 5 p.m.

Game 5 Shiloh Christian at W2 Prairie Grove, 5 p.m.

NOTE Winners of Monday’s games will qualify for the Class 4A North Region Tournament, and the team with the best regular-season conference record earns the No. 3 seed. Division winners automatically qualify for regional, with Farmington the No. 1 seed and Berryville the No. 2 seed, based on head-to-head.

Girls

Friday, Feb. 12

Game 1 W5 Gentry 38, E4 Huntsville 28

Saturday

Game 2 W3 Gravette 50, Gentry 46

Game 3 E3 Shiloh Christian 51, W4 Prairie Grove 41

Monday

Game 4 Gravette at E2 Berryville, 5 p.m.

Game 5 Shiloh Christian at W2 Farmington, 5 p.m.

NOTE Winners of Monday’s games will qualify for the Class 4A North Region Tournament, and the team with the best regular-season conference record earns the No. 3 seed. Division winners automatically qualify for regional, with Farmington the No. 1 seed and Berryville the No. 2 seed, based on head-to-head.

Henry Apple can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @NWAHenry.

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