Losing two valuable players off of one’s bench in the middle of the season is far from ideal. Missing said players for matchups against Top 5 teams in other classifications, well, that’s just untimely.

And that was reality for the Neville boys basketball team, as the Tigers dropped contests to Carroll (55-45) and Rayville (91-62).

“It certainly would be nice to be playing weaker teams to work through that, but we’re having to play them while we’re trying to get our lineup situation,” Neville head coach Phillip Craig said. “We had an eight-man rotation that’s now down to a six-man. At one point in the Carroll game, I stood up and was looking down the bench. One of my assistants said, ‘Who you want, Coach?’ I smiled and said, ‘I don’t see anybody.’ We’ll get it worked out.”

The mission now for Craig and his coaches is to assure the Tigers that they are still in a good position despite losing to good teams. After all, the Tigers remain No. 8 in the unofficial power rankings, despite an 8-6 record.

“Power rankings-wise, we’re OK,” Craig said. “But it’s kind of hard for 15- and 16-year-old men to hear that. All they see is they got beat. But you have to realize you got beat by a team that’s beaten a lot of people. I think we’re a good team, and we have the potential to do something. But we’re just wavering a little bit.”

The Tigers attempted to rebound against Bastrop Friday night, and though the Rams put up a good fight at home, Neville was able to escape with a two-point win to get back on track.

After the victory against Bastrop, Neville held firm at No. 8 in the Class 4A power rankings.

Award-winning sports writer for columns and features since joining the field in 2013. As the first-ever featured columnist of the month at Bleacher Report, Martin cut his teeth with online media before joining the newspaper business in 2014.

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