20211230-NevilleAtWestMonroeMBB

Played in the Sidney Smith Tourney at West Monroe HS, West Monroe, La. Photo by TOM MORRIS/The Ouachitda Citizen. c.2021.TomMorrisPhotos.com. All Rights Reserved

The (18-3) Neville boys basketball team is clicking on all cylinders.

The Tigers have made one statement after the next in the last month with a win streak that's propelled Neville to No. 5 in Class 4A, according to GeauxPreps.com. Just look at what all the Tigers have done... 

Pass a big 5A test against West Monroe? Aced.

Avoid a slip-up against a dangerous Carroll team at home? Check.

Maintain dominance in district? Consider it done with Neville’s 1-0 start in district play.

And while you're at it, go ahead and add a road victory to the growing list of achievements for Phillip Craig’s ball club, as the Tigers’ 56-55 win against the Hornets saw Neville’s win streak grow to 11 straight.

“We don’t talk about the (win streak) from that point of view. Our mindset is whoever is front of us is next,” Craig said. “One at a time. Take care of business. Really the ultimate goal of where we want to be. It’s not necessarily beating Rayville. It’s nice to look back and see you have a lot of wins against quality teams. It gives some validity to what we’re doing, and that can almost be a snowball effect for kids to buy into it more.”

Craig emphasized sustaining the success going into the Rayville game, and with the one-point victory, the Tigers did just that. Daylan Robinson drained a clutch 3-pointer in the final seconds to tie the contest before Nick Gipson sunk a free throw with 0.2 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

P.D. McCraney led the team with 24 points, while Baba Armstead added 12 points and 11 boards in the victory for Neville. Armstead has elevated his game this season, which has been a major bright spot for the Tigers on the floor.

“P.D. or even Mack (Jones) get to generate a lot with their shots because of their guard play, but (Armstead) generates it with his rebounds,” Craig said. “He’s an all-around guy. He can put it on the floor too. His value, when you look at him on the boards and how unorthodox his game is compared to other post players, he’s got that finesse to him. We knew what we were going to get out of P.D. and Mack too if he’s hot shooting, but Baba has to be the one that’s risen up to be the difference maker. We knew he was capable of doing it, but that (potential) is not always reached.”

The Tigers will look to make it 12 straight and improve to 2-0 in district play with a victory against (9-13) Bastrop.

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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