High school basketball is always wild, but the 2020-21 season will be like none other as schools will have to adapt on the fly to the ongoing pandemic as cancellations will be the norm.
“It will certainly be a year to remember,” Maumelle boys coach Michael Shook said. “We have had to cancel two games already and I'm sure there will be more.”Maumelle, 3-1 on the season so far, and beat traditional power Morrilton 66-63 on Tuesday night.Some Maumelle games will be livestreamed and can be viewed here and next up is a trip to Bryant on Thursday, according to the school’s schedule on Scorebook Live.Shook said his team was, “going to do our best to wear masks and social distance so hopefully we don't have anyone get sick and can minimize how many games we do cancel.”
That’s good for Maumelle because the Hornets will again be one of the state’s best teams.
The Hornets went 22-8 last season and finished as the Class 5A semifinalist after losing to West Memphis. It was, essentially, a quasi-state championship game, as West Memphis didn’t move on to the finals after they were cancelled due to Covid-19.
Shook added, “[Covid] has already impacted everyone's offseason and summer to prepare for the season. We will all miss games and it will impact many players' conditioning when they have to quarantine for two weeks.”This is Shook’s ninth year at helm in Maumelle and the Hornets have been consistently good the previous eight seasons as Maumelle has won its conference five times and have twice played for state championships. They’ve also sent a high number of players off to college basketball as well with former Maumelle players Shawn Williams, Nicholls State; Tremont Robinson, East Carolina; Ibby Ali, Tulane; Terrell Curtis, UALR; Brahm Harris, Three Rivers and Mason Mathews, Tyler Junior College.
Shook is anticipating a high level of success this year.“We expect to be highly competitive,” he said. “We will play fast and if we play together we have the pieces to be really successful. We expect to be in contention for the conference title and hopefully a state title contender as well.”
He has some pieces back from last season as well with Josh Denton and Darvis Rasberry returning as starters. Denton goes 6-foot-5 and was good for 8 points a game, while Rasberry, imposing at 6-4 and 220 pounds, was All-State last season and averaged 6 points and 5 rebounds a game.Shook said other players to watch include: Carl Daughtery Jr., Riley Wade, Kaleb Thurman, Nico Davillier, Da’Shaire Ford-Burton and Jaylon Smith
As for now, Shook is just hopeful for the opportunity to play.
“Hopefully things improve and we get the opportunity to finish the season,” he said.
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Calli De Los Santos was hired to replace former Maumelle girls coach William Rountree this season, but she won’t be at the helm of the program.
De Los Santos will be on maternity leave for much of the season, Maumelle athletics director Kirk Horton said and assistant coach James Pearson will be filling in.Rountree, now the superintendent at Carlisle schools, took the Hornets to a 9-19 season overall and was 5-9 in the conference to finish fifth.
Maumelle is 2-2 this season, with wins against Pine Bluff and Mount St. Mary.
The team’s 2020-21 schedule can be found here and the next scheduled game is Dec. 19 for a trip to Hot Springs.The team’s roster on the school’s Scorebook Live page is below.
Maumelle 2020-21 roster
Rhyan Curtis ... Sr.
Taijah Jackson ... Soph.
London Robinson … Jr.
Destiny Henderson ... Jr.
Brailyn Thompson ... Soph.
Saniya Mcknight ... Soph.
Savanna Zabala ... Soph.
Jikirah Riley ... Jr.
Ra Niya Keaton ... Soph.
Kennedi Borkins ... Sr.
Trinity Walker ... Soph.
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