By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
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.