The Heber Springs Panthers couldn’t overcome a slow start and lost to Ozark 57-28 in a 4-4A Conference basketball game at the Panther Den Friday.
It was the conference opener for the Hillbillies. The Panthers lost their conference opener at Subiaco Academy last week.
Ozark (1-0 in conference, 9-1 overall) built a 16-3 first-quarter lead and never trailed. The Panthers (0-2 in conference, 1-10 overall) picked up the pace during the second quarter. Ozark outscored Heber Springs 14-11 and led 30-14 at halftime.
The Hillbillies didn’t slow down during the second half and increased their lead to 43-22 going into the fourth quarter.
Garrett Schaffer scored a game-high 30 points for Ozark. Jaxson Harris had 12 points. Conner Riddle led the Panthers with 11 points.
Heber Springs will not play again until at Sheridan on Dec. 30. Home games scheduled this week with Newport and Cedar Ridge were canceled.
The next scheduled home game will be against Rose Bud on Jan. 2.
It was one of those nights that the Heber Springs Lady Panthers will try and forget quickly.
Heber Springs trailed 18-8 after the opening eight minutes, while Ozark dominated the final three quarters and defeated the Lady Panthers 54-25 in the 4-4A Conference basketball opener at the Panther Den Friday.
Ozark outscored Heber Springs 32-17 during the final three quarters.
“The big difference in the game was our inexperience,” Heber Springs coach Jamey Riddle said. “We were off 10 days from our last game, but had a good week of practice. When game time came, we just didn’t do what we needed to do to win.”
The Lady Panthers trailed 12-4 midway through the first quarter. Hailey Bresnahan reduced Ozark’s lead by making two free throws. Ozark responded with a 6-2 scoring spurt and led 18-8 going into the second quarter.
Heber Springs’ shooting remained cold from the field. The Lady Panthers scored four points during the next eight minutes and trailed 34-12 at halftime.
Ozark increased its lead to 49-19 by the end of the third quarter. Kelsee Barnett, Carter Crane and Briley Burns each scored 11 points for Ozark. Jaylea Hooten led Heber Springs with nine points.
Home games against Newport and Cedar Ridge scheduled for Monday and Tuesday have been cancelled. The Lady Panthers (0-1 in conference, 7-5 overall) will return to action at Sheridan on Dec.
“Sheridan is a very good team,” Riddle said. “We’ve got to keep getting better evert game and learn from our mistakes. We can’t keep using our inexperience as an excuse, and I think we will. The girls come each week to practice and are doing the right things. We just need to to extend what we are doing right to the court.”
The next scheduled home game will be played on Jan. 2 against Rose Bud.
Ozark 18 16 15 5–54 Heber Springs 8 4 7 6–25 Ozark scoring — Kelsee Barnett 11, Carter Crane 11, Briley Burns 11, Autuman Joy 6, Jaci Bonds 5, Anna Woolsey 4, McKenzie Powell 4, Gillian Lachowsky 2. Heber Springs scoring — Jaylea Hooten 9, Hailey Bresnahan 4, Sophie Stone 4, Olivia Norton 4, Madison Clemons 2, Brandi Meredith 2.
Ready or not, the Heber Springs Panthers will begin the 4-4A Conference basketball schedule at Subiaco Academy on Friday.
In a final tune-up, the Panthers (1-7) led 40-39 going into the fourth quarter against Class 6A Searcy at the Panther Den Tuesday before dropping a 60-55 decision to the Lions in a nonconference game.
“The guys competed hard,” Heber Springs coach Dusty West said. “We made a lot of big shots during the first half and cooled off in the second half. Our defense was scrambling, and we were out of position at times, but the players gave great effort.”
Sophomore Conner Riddle scored a game-high 24 points for the Panthers. Braden Watson led Searcy with 16 points. Cameron Hicks contributed 14 points.
West said Riddle continues in his development not only as a scorer, but running the team’s offense.
“Conner had another great game,” West said. “He is handling the pressure of running the offense. He generated a lot of offense not only with his scoring, but getting the ball to other players for open shots.”
Ryan Crocker had one of his best performances this season by scoring 20 points.
“I challenged Ryan to be that type of player before the game,” West said. “He handled the pressure, did a good job of rebounding, utilized his size on defense and gave the other team a lot of trouble. He also did a good job of driving to the basket. We need to get that every game from him to do well in conference.”
After a 12-12 tie at the end of the first quarter, Heber Springs pulled ahead by scoring scoring quickly during the next two minutes. Logan Monahan made a 3-pointer and Riddle’s basket built the lead to 17-12.
Searcy responded with three unanswered baskets, but the Panthers regained the lead on a 3-pointer by Riddle, 20-18.
Searcy rallied for a 23-18 lead, but the Panthers finished the second quarter strong, outscoring the Lions 9-1 and led 29-24 at halftime.
Heber Springs survived a charge by the Lions during the third quarter. Crocker scored at the buzzer, giving the Panthers a 40-39 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Searcy took the lead midway through the fourth quarter and held off Heber Springs’ late challenge.
“Searcy switched from a zone to a man-to-man defense in the second half,” West said. “That was the difference in the game. I told the players before the game that the pressure was not on us to win because Searcy is a 6A school. The games that matter are conference games. We just need to go out there and give it our best shot, and we did that.”
Five nonconference games remain, but West said the team’s focus will be to become successful during conference play and make a run for the regional tournament.
“Games like against Searcy will help get us ready for conference play,” West said. “Our last two games (Riverview and Searcy) are similar teams in playing style of most of the conference teams. We are excited about Friday’s game.”
Searcy 12 12 15 21–60 Heber Springs 12 17 11 15–55 Searcy scorers — Braden Watson 16, Cameron Hicks 14, Ckyler Tenger 7, Jack Stafford 6, A’mariyon Briscoe 5, Willie Bowser 4, Landon Hambrick 2, Daniel Perry 2, Zyron Williams 2, Eli Wilson 2. Heber Springs scorers — Conner Riddle 24, Ryan Crocker 20, Logan Monahan 7, Gus Hannah 2, Austin Winchester 2.
Trailing by 16 points midway through the second quarter didn’t discourage the Heber Springs Lady Panthers for long.
The Lady Panthers trailed 28-12, reduced Searcy’s lead to nine points by halftime and four points going into the fourth quarter. Heber Springs tied the game twice during the final minutes, but fell to the Lady Lions 58-54 in a non-conference basketball at the Panther Den Tuesday.
The loss ended a four-game win streak for the Lady Panthers.
Heber Springs’ Ellie Riddle made two free throws and tied the game at 51-51 with 3:13 left. Madison Clemons made a 3-pointer and tied the game at 54-54 with 1:01 remaining. Ashria Brown put Searcy ahead to stay 55-54 with 39 seconds to play.
“We finally started to make shots,” said Heber Springs coach Jamey Riddle when asked what triggered the second-quarter turnaround. “We capitalized on rebounds, slow down our offense and got better shots. We tied the game, but turnovers prevented us from taking the lead.”
Naliyah Hadley led Searcy’s attack by scoring 13 points. Ashria Brown had 11 points. Hailey Bresnahan came off the bench for the Lady Panthers and scored a game-high 17 points. Jaylee Hooten added 14 points.
“Searcy played more physical during the first half, and we came back and played more physical during the second half,” Riddle said. We can’t start games like that and win.”
Searcy dominated the first quarter and built an 18-8 lead. The Lady Lions increased the lead to 16 points before Heber Springs started its comeback. The Lady Panthers went on a 12-5 scoring run and trailed 33-24 at halftime.
Heber Springs (6-4) closed the gap by outscoring Searcy 19-10 and trailed 47-43 going into the fourth quarter.
Riddle said Bresnahan, who missed the second half of last season with knee surgery, continues to play well off the bench, and she was a major part of the comeback.
“Hailey is finding her rhythm,” Riddle said. “She could become our third or fourth scorer (behind Ellie Riddle and Hooten). It came down to making plays at the end of the game. We need to learn from this game and move on.”
Searcy 18 15 14 11–58 Heber Springs 8 16 14 11–54 Searcy scorers — Naliyah Hadley 13, Ashria Brown 11, Kendricka Turner 9, Olivia Robertson 9, Ashley Brown 7, Chelsea. Johnson 5, Blair Henry 4. Heber Springs scorers — Hailey Bresnahan 17, Jaylee Hooten 14, Ellie Riddle 8, Sophie Stone 7, Madison Clemons 6, Kylie Carr 2.
Heber Springs never successfully solved Conway St. Joseph’s change of defense during the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s nonconference basketball game at the Panther Den.
St. Joseph went on a 21-7 fourth quarter scoring run and defeated the Panthers, 43-33.
Heber Springs led 18-16 at halftime and took a 26-24 lead into the fourth quarter.
“St. Joseph made defensive adjustments against what we were doing in the first half at halftime,” Heber Springs coach Dusty West said. “They were playing a 2-3 zone and a soft man-to-man defense during the first half. They switched to a full-court man defense and forced us to play at a different pace during the second half. We took a lot of quick shots and were held to seven points in the fourth quarter.”
West said work remains on the team’s conditioning, so the players can maintain that pace for four quarters.
“We looked tired and fouled too much,” he said. “We have been working on our conditioning. St. Joseph’s man defense made a difference in the fourth quarter. We were getting good shots in the second quarter, but we didn’t do that during the second half.”
St. Joseph built an 11-5 lead and increased it to 14-5 by early in the second quarter.
Conner Riddle led the Heber Springs’ rally, scoring eight points, while Ryan Crocker made a 3-pointer and Austin Winchester scored as Heber Springs led 18-16 at halftime.
The Panthers kept the momentum at the start of the second half and led 26-22 going into the fourth quarter.
Riddle scored 17 points for Heber Springs. Luke Bruich led St. Joseph with 18 points.
“Conner had a good game,” West said. “He handled the ball and the pressure of bringing the ball up well. I’m proud of how he played. The team keeps improving overall, but we let this game get away from us. We led going into the fourth quarter and had a change at winning.”
Heber Springs (1-5) will play Riverview in Searcy at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“Riverview will be a challenge,” West said. “It will be a different style of game because Riverview will play at a faster pace. We are giving a great effort, and that is all you can ask from them.”
Conway St. Joseph 11 5 6 21–43 Heber Springs 5 13 8 7–33 Conway St. Joseph scorers — Luke Bruich 18, Luke Pope 8, Jake Hill 7, Jacob Williams 6, Gage Kordsmeier 3, Matt Brorman 1. Heber Springs scorers — Conner Riddle 17, Ryan Crocker 6, Austin Winchester 4, Gus Hannah 3, Logan Monahan 3.
After a scoring marathon for 29 minutes, the Heber Springs Lady Panthers finally shut the door on Conway St. Joseph at the Panther Den Tuesday.
The Lady Panthers (5-3) went on an 11-2 run during the final three minutes and defeated St. Joseph 71-62 in a nonconference basketball game for their third straight win.
Heber Springs started the fourth quarter trailing 51-49 as the lead changed three times during the next five minutes. St. Joseph tied the game at 60-60 on Savannah Mooney’s 3-pointer before the Lady Panthers made their move. Hailey Bresnahan broke the deadlock by hitting a jumper and seconds later, she made two free throws, and Heber Springs never trailed again.
“I knew the first team that got a couple of defensive stops was going to win,” Heber Springs coach Jamey Riddle said. “We got deflections, rebounds and made shots. Our defense came through in a big way.”
Jaylee Hooten scored a game-high 29 points for the Lady Panthers, followed by Sophie Stone with 14 points and Ellie Riddle had 12 points. Stone and Bresnahan, who combined for 23 points, led the charge late in the game.
“They (Stone and Bresnahan) are capable scorers and understand their roles,” Riddle said. “They helped out the team in that situation.”
Savannah Mooney led St. Joseph with 22 points. Lilly Hill contributed 15 points and Livi Williams added 12 points. Maggie Mooney scored 11 points.
“St. Joseph’s shooting surprised us, but our defense didn’t rotate quick enough to the right spot,” Riddle said. “We didn’t slow down their passes.”
The two teams exchanged field goals during most of the first quarter. St. Joseph took a 16-14 before Hooten scored on an inside move and Riddle’s jumper put the Lady Panthers ahead 18-16 with 1:11 left in the quarter. Hill made 1-of-2 free throws and made a short jumper, giving the Lady Bulldogs a 19-18 lead going into the second quarter.
Heber Springs rallied for a 28-23 lead midway through the second quarter. The Lady Panthers maintained that margin and took a 35-30 lead into the dressing room at halftime.
St. Joseph took a 49-44 lead midway through the third quarter. The Lady Bulldogs survived Heber Springs’ rally and led 51-49 going into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Panthers hope to continue the momentum from the win against Riverview in Searcy at 6 p.m. Friday.
“We have played a lot of homes games and Friday will be an opportunity to show we can win on the road,” Riddle said. “Conference play is coming, and we need to learn how to win on the road. It will be a good test in preparing for the conference opener against Ozark, which had a great run late last season and returns experienced players.”
Conway St. Joseph 19 11 21 11–62 Heber Springs 18 17 14 22–71 Conway St. Joseph scorers — Savannah Mooney 22, Lilly Hill 15, Livi Williams 12, Maggie Mooney 11, Chloe Skinner 2. Heber Springs scorers — Jaylee Hooten 29, Sophie Stone 14, Ellie Riddle 12, Hailey Bresnahan 9, Melissa Clemons 4, Hope Turney 3.