Eagles fall short in 1A title game

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By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

HOT SPRINGS – Viola converted 23 West Side turnovers into 27 points and pulled away during the second half and won the Class 1A state basketball tournament championship 62-47 at the Bank OZK Arena on Thursday.

West Side played for the second time in school history for the boys’ state title. The Eagles defeated Gould 43-42 in the 1983 championship game.

It was the fifth game this season between the two teams and the third time in a tournament final. Viola also defeated West Side in the conference and regional tournaments.

West Side Greers Ferry coach Keith Brown. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Malachi Miller led West Side with 18 points and Travis Gentry had 15 points. Game most valuable player Mason Luna scored a game-high 21 points for Viola. Bryson Luna contributed 16 points and Gage Harris chipped in 13 points.

West Side (28-7) utilized the inside game with Miller, who scored 10 points for a 14-8 lead after the first quarter. Viola rallied late in the second quarter and took a 28-25 lead into the dressing room at halftime.

Viola (37-6) began its push with a 15-7 scoring run and increased the lead to 46-34 going into the fourth quarter. The Longhorns put the game early in the fourth quarter with a 7-0 scoring run.

“We had a great year,” West Side coach Keith Brown. “I could not be more proud of a group of players. I wouldn’t trade them for anybody. They are good kids and will do outstanding things in life. The team took me on a great ride. We didn’t get it done tonight Thursday) and it stings right now.”

West Side Greers Ferry’s Jacob Ballard. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

First-year Viola head coach Rick Luna, who led Dora to the Missouri Class 1A last season, said all of the credit goes to his players.

“The players motivate each other and hold each other to a high standard,” Luna said when asked about the team’s performance during the second half. “We came out, refused to lose and did what was needed to win.”

West Side held a 32-20 rebounding advantage, including 18-12 on the offensive end. The Eagles scored six points off 12 Viola turnovers.

“We changed things from previous games against them and had a good plan, but they are a very good team,” Brown said. “We didn’t take care of the ball at times.”

Rick Luna said it was important to keep changing defenses during the second half.

“We wanted to keep giving them different looks,” Luna said. “Good teams will adjust if you keep doing the same thing all of the time. We felt forcing turnovers was important. Our best offense was our defense.”

Brown credited Viola for forcing his team into turnovers.

“We were not trying to turn it over,” he said when asked about the turnovers during the second half. “Viola played the same press against us in the other games.”

West Side Greers Ferry’s Ashton Klepko. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

West Side gained the lead 9-8 on Ashton Klepko’s field goal late in the first quarter. Miller made a 3-pointer and on the next trip down the court, he hit a short jumper as the Eagles led 14-8 going into the second quarter.

Viola tied the game at 16-16 with an 8-2 scoring run. The Longhorns held the lead until Miller’s field goal late in the first half put the Eagles ahead, 25-24. Viola scored the final four points and led 28-25 at halftime.

The Longhorns pulled away on a 18-9 third-quarter scoring run and led 46-34 going into the fourth quarter.

Viola started the fourth quarter on a 7-0 scoring and later built its lead to 22 points. West Side showed no quit and pulled to within 15 points before the final buzzer.

Viola 8 20 18 16-62
West Side 14 11 9 13-47
VIOLA (62): Mason Luna 21, Bryson Luna 16, Gage Harris 13, Kenneth Marberry 9, Austin Luna 3.
WEST SIDE GREERS FERRY (47): Malachi Miller 18, Travis Gentry 15, Ashton Klepko 6, Nate Bittle 4, Brenton Knapp 2, Jared Cothren 2.  
VIOLA STATISTICS: Kenneth Marberry 1 steal, 1 assist, 1 blocked shot; Bryson Luna 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist; Gage Harris 1 rebound, 6 2 assists; Mason Luna 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 assists; Austin Luna 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist; Andrew Cantway 1 rebound.
WEST SIDE GREERS FERRY STATISTICS: Jake Ballard 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist; Ashton Klepko 3 rebounds, 1 assist; Travis Gentry 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist, 1 blocked shot; Brenton Knapp 3 rebounds, 1 blocked shot; Malachi Miller 8 rebounds1 assist, 2 blocked shots; Kirby Cothren 1 rebound; Nate Bittle 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 blocked shot; Zack Birmingham 2 rebounds.

Eagles looking to make history

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

GREERS FERRY – The West Side Eagles hope to earn its place in school history and become the third team to win a state basketball championship.

West Side (28-6) will play conference rival Viola at 7 p.m. Thursday for the Class A state tournament championship at the Bank OZK Arena in Hot Springs.

The Eagles look to duplicate the accomplishment of the 1983 team that capped that season with a 43-42 win against Gould in the state finals. West Side finished that year at 36-1 with its only loss to Camden Fairview at the state overall tournament.

The Lady Eagles won the 1999 state championship.

“We know what the 1983 team did and hope that people will talk the same way about the 2021 team in 20 years,” West Side coach Keith Brown said. “We respect everything that team did. That gives them more incentive to win. We have received great support from those guys as well as other alumni. We want to keep the tradition going.”

“Winning a state championship would mean everything,” starting guard Travis Gentry said. “I’ve been at this school for most of my life and watched all of the teams play.”

Gentry said he welcomed the opportunity of playing in Thursday’s game.

“I’m happy for the opportunity to lead the team to the state championship game,” he said. “Going into the season, I felt this might happen. We didn’t end our season last year well. I felt like it could happen if we played well.”

Gentry said he and his teammates admire the 1983 team and hope fans will remember this year’s team in a similar way.

“We want people to talk about us in 20  years like they are talking now about the 1983 team,” he said. “We hope they will talk about us for years to come.”

Senior Zack Birmingham made two of the most important free throws of season late in overtime against Izard County. Birmingham’s free throw clinched a win and a spot in the state finals.

“I had a similar experience in junior high, but that game was not as big,” Birmingham said. “I knew the first one was going in because of how I felt when the ball left my hand. The second free throw didn’t feel as comfortable, but it went in.”

Birmingham has attended West Side school since kindergarten and winning the title would cap his senior season.

“It would mean a lot if we won,” he said. “I am glad to be a part of this team. I can’t wait to get to Hot Springs.”

Brenton Knapp moved to West Side at the start of his fifth grade year. Knapp remembered games during recent years, and he hopes this year’s team will bring back the state championship to the school.

“It would mean the world to me,” he said. “I came to many games and watched teams that came close. We have a chip on our shoulders after losing last year at the district tournament  We wanted to come back strong and take care of unfinished business.”

Knapp said he and his teammates wants to win and add to the trophy case.

“We hope to become the third team to win a state championship,” he said. “I just want to contribute to the team. My role is to rebound and score on putbacks and whatever else the team needs me to do.”

Seniors Jake Ballard and Malachi Miller arrived before the start of last season.
Ballard played a big role in the win against Izard County by hitting four 3-pointers and scoring 14 points. He hopes to earn a championship ring and match the accomplishment of his brother, who was a member of the 2017 state champion Guy-Perkins.

“We hit our stride during the second half and realized we could win the game,” referring to Monday’s semifinals, Ballard said. “I made two threes early in the game and two more threes during the second half. I needed to make those shots to get us back in the game.”

Despite playing with new teammates, Ballard said he was accepted from the beginning and happy to be playing for the Eagles.

“I was accepted right away,” Ballard said. “I remember my first game when fans told me they were glad I decided to come to West Side.”

Ballard said he heard the stories about the 1983 team and glad to be a part of the team that may bring back another championship.

“I’m looking forward to playing in Hot  Springs with guys like coach Brown, Malachi, Travis and everyone on the team.” Ballard said. “This is a great group of guys to be around. It would mean the world to win on Thursday.”

Miller, who scored a game-high 25 points against Izard County, said he also felt welcomed from his first day at West Side.

“I felt a part of this team since I came,” Miller said. “I knew we had a good chance to be where we are right now. Stats are not that important. I’m happy we are winning games whether I have 10 rebounds or scoring 10 points. It’s a great feeling to have a chance at making history.”

West Side practiced on Tuesday afternoon and left at noon Wednesday for Hot Springs. The Eagles plan their final practice at Lake Hamilton High School before the championship game.

“I tried to keep practice as normal as possible,” Brown said. “We know Viola well. We will be trying to do things different, so we can have success. Neither team will have anything to hide after playing so many times. It will come down which team executes its game plan better.”

West Side and Viola split games during conference play. Viola defeated the Eagles in the finals of the conference and regional tournaments.

“The big keys are taking good care of the ball and rebounding,” he said.

Eagles earn first finals trip since ’83 with overtime win

The West Side Greers Ferry Eagles punched their ticket to the 1A state finals in Hot Springs on Monday in Greers Ferry. PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELLE MCCARTY

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

GREERS FERRY — The West Side Eagles didn’t take the easy path back to the Class 1A state championship game. West Side, which will make its return to the finals for the first time since 1983, trailed by nine points after three quarters, but rallied to force overtime.

The Eagles made 8-of-11 free throws during overtime and emerged with a 66-62 win against conference rival Izard County at Brady-Hipp Arena Monday. The win was the third this season against the Cougars, all close games.

West Side (28-6) will play Viola, another conference rival, at 7 p.m. Thursday for the state championship at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

Malachi Miller, who led all scorers with 25 points, made 3-of-4 free throws for the Eagles during overtime. Travis Gentry, Jake Ballard and Zach Birmingham each hit 2-of-2 attempts and Ashton Klepko connected on 1-of-2 at the free-throw line.

Birmingham’s two free throws with less than 10 seconds remaining made it a two-possession for a 66-62 lead.

West Side Greers Ferry coach Keith Brown said the Eagles also won the rebounding battle, particularly during the second half.

“A big key in the second half was keeping them from getting an offensive rebound,” he said. “We did a good job of rebounding.”

Ballard followed Miller with 14 points. Caleb Faulkner led Izard County with 23 points, while Coby Everett scored 11 points and Chase Orf had 10 points.

“Ballard hit big shots throughout the game,” Brown said. “Miller also scored well. It was a team win, but those two players were battling and came through for us.”

Brown also credited the team’s mental toughness as another determining factor.

“Our mental toughness was a difference in the game,” he said. “The players have answered the bell all year and are as tough as nails. Nothing fazes them.”

West Side started the game with an 8-2 scoring run, but Izard County quickly answered. The Cougars rallied for an 12-11 lead and held a one-point lead until the final seconds of the first quarter. Miller scored on an inside move as the Eagles took a 16-15 lead going into the second quarter.

Izard County regained the lead midway through the second quarter and increased it later to eight points, 30-22. West Side closed the gap, but the Cougars scored the final five points for a 33-26 halftime lead.

West Side failed to make ground on Izard County during the third quarter and trailed 46-37 going into the fourth quarter.

The Eagles made through move by outscoring the Cougars 19-10 and forced overtime.

Miller made 1-of-2 free throws with 1:56 to go in overtime for a 61-60 lead and never trailed again.

“I’m very proud of this team,” Brown, who is in his third season at West Side, said. “I’m usually a man of many words, but speechless after the game inside the dressing room. The players deserve all of the credit. I thought three years ago they could reach the state finals if I didn’t mess them up too much.”

Izard County 15 18 13 10 6 –62
West Side 16 10 11 19 10–66
Izard County scorers — Caleb Faulkner 23, Coby Everett 11, Chase Orf 10, Noah Everett 9, Denton Reiley 6, Landon McBride 3.
West Side scorers — Malachi Miller 25, Jake Ballard 14, Travis Gentry 8, Nate Bittle 7, Zach Birmingham 4, Brenton Knapp 4, Ashton Klepko 4.

Eagles soar into 1A semifinals

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

GREERS FERRY – The West Side Eagles depended on their defense and opened the door to the Class 1A semifinals and an opportunity of earning a trip to the state championship game.

West Side (27-6) led from start to finish and defeated The New School (Fayetteville) 51-34 in Friday’s quarterfinals at Brady-Hipp Arena. The Eagles will meet Izard County at 1 p.m. Monday in the state semifinals.

“Congratulations for getting to the state semifinals,” West Side coach Keith Brown told his players after the game. “This is a good accomplishment. I’m very proud of them. The game turned into a defensive battle. I was pleased with our halfcourt defense. They (The New School) were averaging around 70 points a game, and we held them to 34 points.”

Travis Gentry led West Side with 16 points. Malachi Miller scored 14 points, and Nate Bittle came off the bench and contributed eight points. Michael Hardiman scored seven points for The New School.

The Eagles broke an early 2-2 tie by scoring nine unanswered points and never trailed. West Side led by as much as 14 points during the first quarter. The Eagles started the second quarter with a 20-7 lead.

Defense dominated on both sides as West Side scored seven points and held The New School to six points on the way to a 27-13 halftime lead.

“We got off to a quick start and would have liked if we had extended it,” Brown said. “The New School is a good team or it would not have advanced to the quarterfinals. They were 37-4 on the season.”

West Side increased its advantage during the third quarter, but it never could pull away. The Eagles took a 39-21 lead into the fourth quarter.

“We controlled the game and made shots when needed,” Brown said. “We did play with a lot of patience and tried to take what they were giving us. Defense was the difference. We played good man defense and did a good job of helping each other.”

Brown said another key to the win was the Eagles were able to control the inside.

“We also rebounded well,” he said. “When we rebound well, I knew everything would be fine for us. We were able to get the ball inside and got them into early foul trouble. We wanted to pound it inside.”

The New School 7 6 8 13–34
West Side 20 7 12 12–51
The New School scorers — Michael Hardiman 7, William Sturner 6, Holden Blankenship 6, Evan Goodman 5, Gunner Husnian 3, Max Warford 3, Quintus McNeal 3, Vontae Rimsey 1.
West Side scorers — Travis Gentry 16, Malachi Miller 14, Nate Bittle 8, Brenton Knapp 6, Jake Ballard 5, Zach Birmingham 2. 

Eagles advance to quarterfinals of 1A state tourney

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

GREERS FERRY – The West Side Eagles didn’t play one of their best games, but finished with a strong push and defeated the Bradley Bears 78-68 in the first round of the Class 1A state basketball tournament at Brady-Hipp Arena.

Bradley trailed after the first quarter before it rallied for a halftime lead before West Side pulled ahead by two points going into the fourth quarter.

“When you get to the state tournament, a team usually will have that one game when you didn’t play your best,” West Side coach Keith Brown said. “A team just has to find a way to win. We didn’t play our best game, but we won the game. We have a veteran team and showed maturity during the fourth quarter.”

Jonathan Easter led Bradley with 20 points. Jacardo Cornell had 17 points, while Jaylan Hardamon added 12 points. Colbie west scored 10 points.

Brown said a defensive adjustment during the halftime break led to a successful second half.

“We played excellent defense, especially during the fourth quarter,” he said. “We gave up 44 points during the first half. We made the adjustments and held them to 24 points during the second half. That gave us a spark. No. 2 (Easter) is a great player, and we had to put two guys on him.”

Travis Gentry, who made four 3-pointers, paced the Eagles with a game-high 32 points. Malachi Miller scored 23 points and Ashton Klepko had 12 points.

“It was not just one player, but a team effort,” Brown said. “Klepko made a big three during the first quarter and, Travis hit big shots throughout the game. The team showed its maturity. Our experience was the key to the comeback. We have five players who are starting for the third year.”

Cornell led the charge for Bradley during the first quarter. West Side countered with Gentry, who made three 3-pointers during the quarter, and Klepko connected from behind the circle.

The Eagles scored the final six points of the quarter as Klepko, Miller and Bittle scored field goals. West Side led 24-18 going into the second quarter.

Easter carried the hot hand by scoring 10 points as Bradley rallied for a three-point lead during the second quarter. Cornell hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds, giving Bradley a 44-38 halftime lead.

Bradley maintained an eight-point lead during most of the third quarter. West Side fell behind by nine points before the Eagles claimed the lead on a 10-0 scoring run.

Easter made 1-of-2 free throws and tied the game at 54-54. Miller scored on an offensive rebound right before the buzzer as West Side led 56-54 going into the fourth quarter.

West Side put the game away with a 13-2 scoring run and increased the lead to 69-56 midway through the fourth quarter.

The Eagles (26-6) will play The New School (Fayetteville) at 7 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinals.

“New School is a good team,” Brown said. “We must come out and play better than against Bradley.”

Bradley 18 26 10 14–68
West Side 24 14 18 22–78
Bradley scorers — Jonathan Easter 20, Jacardo Cornell 17, Jaylan Hardamon 12, Colbie West 10, De’ontae Woods 9.
West Side scorers — Travis Gentry 32, Malachi Miller 23, Ashton Klepko 12, Nate Bittle 4, Zack Birmingham 4, Jake Ballard 3.

Trojans keep Panthers winless in conference play

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

The quest continues for the Heber Springs Panthers to win their first 4-4A Conference basketball game this season.

Heber Springs trailed by six points after the first quarter. But Subiaco Academy pulled away with a 20-9 second-quarter scoring run and defeated the Panthers 72-35 at the Panther Den on Friday.

Ivan Martijn, Matthew Kremers and Jonathan Mersara combined to score 58 of the 72 points for the Trojans. Martijn led the charge with 25 points. Matthew Kremers scored 17 points and Jonathan Mersara had 16 points.

Conner Riddle was the leading scorer for Heber Springs with 17 points.

Subiaco Academy started the game with 10 unanswered points. Logan Monahan’s jumper stopped the scoring run and put the Panthers on the scoreboard. Heber Springs finished the first quarter by outscoring the Trojans 9-5 and trailed 15-9 going into the second quarter.

An 8-0 scoring run by Subiaco Academy during the second quarter helped the Trojans recapture the momentum. Subiaco Academy maintained the advantage, outscoring the Panthers 12-10 for a 35-19 halftime lead.

The Trojans dominated and outscored Heber Springs 37-16 during the second half.

The Panthers (0-9 in conference, 1-19 overall) will play at Dardanelle on Tuesday.

Subiaco Academy 15 20 29 8–72
Heber Springs 9 10 16 0–35
Subiaco Academy scorers — Ivan Martijn 25, Matthew Kremers 17, Jonathan Mersara 16, Emre Gurel 5, Jeadan Nieveld 3, Jackson Fredrick 4, Conner King 2.
Heber Springs scorers — Conner Riddle 17, Ryan Crocker 7, J.T. Spears 6, Logan Monahan 5.

Morrilton slams Heber Springs

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Conference 4-4A basketball leader Morrilton scored early and often during the first half and defeated the Heber Springs Panthers 70-44 at the Panther Den on Tuesday.

Joseph Pinion led the Devil Dogs with 17 points. Devin Foster scored 14 points and Nate Zachary had 12 points.

Heber Springs sophomore Conner Riddle fired in a game-high 24 points. Riddle scored 11 of the Panthers’ 14 points during the first half. He made two 3-pointers, seven 2-point field goals and 2-of-2 free throws.

Morrilton took a 4-0 lead early during the first quarter. Heber Springs junior Gus Hannah hit a 3-pointer to the Devil Dogs’ lead to one point. Morrilton responded with a 15-2 scoring run and led 19-5 going into the second quarter.

The Devil Dogs returned to the court and went on a 9-0 scoring run and increased their lead to 28-5 lead by the midway point of the second quarter.

Riddle hit an outside jumper, but Morrilton maintained control. The Devil Dogs finished on a 14-7 scoring run for a 38-14 halftime lead.

Riddle continued his offensive assault by scoring 10 of Heber Springs’ 16 points during the third quarter. But Morrilton increased its lead to 61-30 going into the fourth quarter.

The Panthers showed more fight during the final quarter, outscoring Morrilton, 14-9

Wyatt Winchester came off the bench and made a 2-point field goal and a 3-pointer. Ryan Crocker had a field goal and two free throws. Riddle hit a 3-pointer and Bent McClain scored.

Heber Springs (0-8 in conference, 1-18 overall) will host Subiaco Academy at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The junior boys game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

Morrilton 19 19 23 9–70
Heber Springs 5 9 16 14–44
Morrilton scorers — Joseph Pinion 17, Devin Foster 14, Nate Zachary 12, Brock Hendrix 8, Henry Cowles 6, Nevin Williams 5, Byron Hardiman 4, Keevon Moore 4.
Heber Springs scorers — Conner Riddle 24, Ryan Crocker 7, Wyatt Winchester 5, Gus Hannah 3, Logan Monahan 3, Bent McClain 2. 

Panthers battle Clarksville late

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

The Heber Springs Panthers trailed by 16 points early in the third quarter, but didn’t go away with a battle late in the fourth quarter against Clarksville.

Heber Springs rallied within five points, but the Panthers’ comeback bid came up short in the 68-51 loss to Clarksville in a 4-4A Conference basketball game at the Panther Den Tuesday.

“The players played well during the fourth quarter,” Heber Springs coach Dusty West said. “We made shots, played with more intensity and made it a two-possession game. We couldn’t get the defensive stop.”

Clarksville led by 16 points with five minutes left in the third quarter. Heber Springs stayed close and pulled to within 46-34 going into the fourth quarter.
The Panthers reduced Clarksville’s lead to single digits on Ryan Crocker’s 3-pointer 53-45 with six minutes left in the game. Two minutes later, Conner Riddle drove and scored as Heber Springs trailed 55-50 with 3:53 to go. Clarksville finished the game on a 13-1 scoring run.

Riddle led the Panthers with 22 points, followed by Crocker’s 16 points. Owen Ashlock scored a game-high 27 points for Clarksville. John Case, who hit three 3-pointers, had 16 points. Hunter Buss, who made four 3-pointers, added 12 points.

“The players still are giving great effort and doing good things,” West said. “We’re trying to get over that hump during the fourth quarter. Conner played well, along with Ryan during the fourth quarter. The team tends to play better when Ryan plays well. We need him to play with more confidence and get going for the entire game.”

Clarksville emerged from a low-scoring first quarter with an 11-5 lead. The Panthers fell behind by double digits during the second quarter, but they remain within range and trailed 26-14 at halftime.

Heber Springs played even during the third quarter and trailed 46-34 going into the fourth quarter.

Clarksville’s 3-point shooting proved to be too much for the Panthers to overcome.

“We knew they could shoot the threes,” West said. “No. 33 (Ashlock) worried us and we focused on containing him. Clarksville deserves credit for making the 3-point shots.”

Heber Springs (0-5 in conference, 1-15 overall) will play at Pottsville on Friday.

“We will be playing another good team,” West said. “The players still have a lot of fight left.”

Clarksville 11 15 20 22–68
Heber Springs 5   9 20 17–51
Clarksville scorers —  Owen Ashlock 27, John Case 16, Hunter Buss 12, Ryan Clark 6, Cody Qualls 4, Abel Dean 3.
Heber Springs scorers — Conner Riddle 22, Ryan Crocker 16, Logan Monahan 8, J.T. Spears 3, Bauer Pruitt 2.

Sand Lizards dust Panthers in senior boys play

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

The Heber Springs Panthers scored the game’s first four points before Dardanelle changed the momentum midway through the first quarter of Friday’s 4-4A Conference basketball game.

Dardanelle responded with an 11-2 run and never trailed again as the Sand Lizards defeated the Panthers 63-29 at the Panther Den.

Gus Hannah converted a steal into a breakaway lay-up and Conner Riddle made two free throws for a 4-0 Heber Springs lead. Dardanelle tied the game at 4-4 when Chase Jordan made 2-of-4 free throws and scored on an inside move.

Marteez Jackson had back-to-back field goals as the Sand Lizards pulled ahead, 8-4. Zach Thomas made a short jumper, but Braden Tanner hit a 3-pointer, giving Dardanelle an 11-6 lead going into the second quarter.

The Sand Lizards built a 21-8 lead following a 10-2 scoring run during the next three minutes. Dardanelle outscored Heber Springs 11-6 for the remainder of the second quarter and led 32-15 at halftime.

The Panthers trailed 51-26 after three quarters.

Riddle led Heber Springs with 12 points. Jackson and Tanner each scored 14 points for Dardanelle. Kendall Bishop had 12 points.

The Panthers (0-4 in conference, 1-14 overall) will host conference foe Clarksville at 7:30 p.m. on senior night Tuesday.

Dardanelle 11 21 19 12–63
Heber Springs 6   9 11 3–29
Dardanelle scorers — Marteez Jackson 14, Braden Tanner 14, Kendall Bishop 12, Chase Jordan 9, Juaquin Torres 6, Jorge Alvarez 3, Sam Williams 2, Tyrus Spencer 2.
Heber Springs scorers — Conner Riddle 12, Gus Hannah 5, Zach Thomas 4, Logan Monahan 2, Bauer Pruitt 2, Austin Winchester 2, Ryan Crocker 2

Ozark takes care of Heber Springs senior boys

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

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.

Ozark 16 14 13 14–57
Heber Springs 3 11 8 7–29
Ozark scoring — Garrett Schaffer 30, Jaxson Harris 12, Cooper Watson 4, Vanden Bush 3, Sebastian Ross 3, Jace Richard 3, Kayden McAnally 2.
Heber Springs scoring — Conner Riddle 11, Ryan Crocker 5, Logan Monahan 3, Wyatt Winchester 3, Gus Hannah 2, Dakota Farmer 2, Dylan Screeton 2, Bauer Pruitt 1