Highlanders fall to Bobcats, rebound in conference game

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The Eureka Springs Highlanders came up a little short against a Carroll County rival last week, but it didn’t take long for the Highlanders to get back on track.

Eureka Springs shook off a 58-35 nonconference loss at Berryville on Tuesday, Dec. 14, to beat Life Way Christian 68-33 in 2A-1 conference play last Friday at Highlander Arena.

“They have a hard time scoring because they only have one guy who can create,” Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo said of the Warriors. “We came out and trapped him early and made him give the ball to the other guys. They ended up turning the ball over against our traps and gave us some easy runouts. In high school basketball, especially when you’re playing at home, if you get easy buckets and the crowd gets involved and your team gets a lot of energy, it can get away from you in a hurry. I think we jumped on them pretty early and got them down.”

In addition to hounding Life Way defensively, the Highlanders (16-3) also benefited from a good shooting night and a balanced offense. Senior guard Matthew Lester led Eureka Springs with 18 points while junior forward Dylan Johnson made five three-pointers and scored 17 points. Senior forward Kegley Ertel added 15 points, with senior guard Teagan Farriester scoring 10 and senior center Shane Holloway chipping in nine.

“We almost had all five starters in double figures,” Rambo said. “We shot it really well that night.”

The loss to Berryville was the Highlanders’ third loss of the season to a Class 4A opponent.

Berryville pulled away in the second half after leading 29-17 at halftime. Lester was the only Eureka Springs player to score in the first half and finished with 29 of the Highlanders’ 35 points.

Eureka Springs won’t return to game action until Jan. 4, and Rambo said the break comes at a good time for the Highlanders.

“We need the break just to kind of regroup and get healthy again,” Rambo said. “We’ve already played 19 basketball games so we’re starting to get some of those mid-season ding-ups and tired muscles, so the break’s going to be good for us.”

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