The second half of the 7A/6A-Central schedule just got a little harder for Greenwood.
The Bulldogs will be without Ryan Davis for the rest of the season. Davis, a 6—foot-5 senior, gave the Bulldogs size and experience, two things they are short on this season.
Davis broke his wrist before the season started but surgery would have forced him to miss the entire season. Instead, Davis sat out the first six weeks of the nonconference schedule in hopes of healing enough to play through the conference season.
"We held him out for six weeks at the beginning of the year," Greenwood head coach Brian Martin said. "He really wanted to come back in mid-December, but we wouldn’t let him. We really wanted him for conference. We threw him in the six games around Christmas just to get him some reps to get ready for conference."
In his final game, Davis led the Bulldogs with 17 points at Little Rock Catholic in a 52-45 loss. He was a perfect 7-for-7 shooting and had eight rebounds. He also had 15 points in a loss to Hall.
"It was definitely bothering him," Martin said. "The doctor just advised us that we really need to get a cast on there. We hate it for him as a senior. It was his first year to get big minutes. We’ll play for him the rest of the year. We definitely going to miss him, but more than the team I hate it for him."
In his absence, 6-8 senior Jordan Hernandez will be asked to play more minutes and contribute more scoring.
"We had good size with those two in," Martin said. "We still have Jordan and will move to a four-guard lineup. It does make us smaller defensively."
Hernandez will be Greenwood’s only starter taller than 6-1.
"We’ve challenged Jordan," Martin said. "If he gives good effort, we have a chance to stay in the ballgame. When he does that, we’re a lot better team."
Hernandez had a solid outing in Greenwood’s first game without Davis. In a 47-40 loss to Russellville, Hernandez had 13 points, seven blocked shots and six rebounds.
"He blocked some shots and altered some shots," Martin said. "He protected the rim for us. He limited buckets in the paint, which have hurt us lately."
Hernandez even popped a 3-pointer when left alone against Russellville.
"Jordan, just like every big man, wants to be a guard," Martin said. "He’s proven he can knock down the 3. He doesn’t take many, but he knows when he’s open he can knock it down."
Greenwood is currently the eighth seed in the 6A-South standings according to the rating system. The Bulldogs will try to move up in the second half of the round robin, which begins on Friday at Little Rock Parkview.
"We’ve got guys playing a lot of minutes, so we’re rest up and take a deep breath and get ready for last go around," Martin said. "We have four games at home in the second round. We want to tweak some things before we head into the state tournament. We’re typically a lot better team in February than we are in January."
The state tournament brackets have been released. If the Bulldogs are the last seed, they will play March 4 at 2:30 p.m. If the Bulldogs move up to the seventh seed, they will play March 5 at 2:30 p.m. The 6A state tournament will be held at Jonesboro High School.
Lady Bulldogs In First
The Lady Bulldogs are currently the top seed in the state tournament and are 22 points ahead of Searcy in the rating system at the halfway point of the 7A/6A-Central schedule.
Searcy is tied for third in the 7A/6A-East with Little Rock Central and behind West Memphis and North Little Rock.
If Greenwood holds on to the top seed, the Lady Bulldogs will play March 4 at 7 p.m. in the first round of the state tournament. If they advance to the second round, they will play on March 7 at 4 p.m. The semifinals will be 6 p.m. on March 8.
The 6A State Tournament will be held at Jonesboro.
Greenwood begins the second half of round-robin play at Parkview before returning home on Tuesday for the rematch against Northside. The Lady Bears are currently the top team in 7A while Greenwood is the top ranked team in 6A.