The Dierks Outlaws and Coach Kevin Alexander put another basketball trophy in their case Friday night, beating the Murfreesboro Rattlers 69-43 in the district tournament finals and securing their fourth straight tournament title to add to their fifth straight conference titles.
The Outlaws are scheduled to enter the 2A South regional tournament in Fordyce Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. against the Ouachita Warriors with a trip to the state tournament on the line. The Rattlers, second in the conference, are scheduled to enter regional play Thursday, Feb. 23 at 5:30 against the Junction City Dragons. The Lady Rattlers, fourth in the conference, will also play Feb. 22 at 4:00 against Fordyce.
The Outlaws finished the year with a 21-3 record.
Coach Alexander said there were a lot of question marks on both ends of the court to start the season, plus the team needed to replace three senior shotmakers.
“Early in the year, we had some bumps while we were trying to figure out who our go-to scorers were and also we needed someone to step into the road of being our defensive stopper,” said Coach Alexander.
The coach found in his man in Issak Helms. “He really stepped up and gave us a spark on both ends of the court. He welcomes the challenge every night of guarding the best player on the other team and still has enough energy to score some big baskets in big games.”
Andrew Hill also stepped prominently into the post position and his coach said he had “done a fantastic job.”
“He’s been scoring about 16 points a game and grabbing over 10 rebounds per game. His presence in the middle has also made it tough on opponents to get anything easy at the rim.”
Rylan Hill was also noted by Alexander as a “tremendous shooter” who had multiple games where he hit five or more points and added “an extra dimension” to the Outlaw offense.
Eli Sharp moved into the point guard position and continued to make that spot a key to the Outlaw offense. “He rarely turns the ball over and plays great defense. He gets the ball to our scorers and if needed he will step up and hit shots.”
Andrew Mack has been the Outlaws’ leading scorer this year and his size and play made it hard for opposing teams. “He does more than just shoot three-pointers this year. He is averaging close to 21 points a game but on top of that he is averaging more than 10 rebounds a game.”
Alexander recognizes his team’s drive and said there is going to be more to come from the Outlaws on the hardwood.
“The best thing about this group is that they all work together on both ends of the court,” Alexander said. “I feel this group has not peaked yet and our best basketball is ahead of us.”