May tabbed to lead Heber Springs baseball

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Monterio May never envisioned becoming a head baseball coach this year and prepared for another season as director of player development at the University of Central Arkansas.

But that quickly changed with the resignation of Scott Bramlett as head baseball coach at Heber Springs High School in September.

May learned from a former teammate about the job opening at Heber Springs, submitted an application and the rest is now history. He took the reins of the Panther baseball program Monday and began preparation for the new season.

Monterio May

“I applied for the job and received an email within 24 hours asking me to come and interview,” May said. “I jumped out of my seat and was excited to get an interview. I met with the school administrators and school district staff, and they treated me like a member of the family. I’m grateful to the community, school district and (Superintendent) Dr. (Andy) Ashley for the opportunity.”

May began learning the game at an early age and took advantage of opportunities to play at different levels.

“I played baseball since the age of five,” he said. “I try to use the competitive edge to my advantage. One of my biggest accomplishments was being an alternate on the USA Baseball 16-and-under team.”

May started his collegiate baseball career at Shelton County Community College (Alabama). He transferred to Lurleen B. Wallace Community College (Alabama) because of an injury and the school was closer to his home. May finished his playing career at Central Baptist College in Conway.

“After earning an associate’s degree, I made the best decision in my life in coming to Arkansas,” May said. “I played two years (at CBC) for coach Aaron Brister and was part of the team when it won a conference championship.”

After playing one year in an independent league, May accepted an opportunity to work for UCA and head coach Allen Gum.

“I worked at UCA for the last three years,” May said. “I was prepared to stay at UCA and wait to see what might open in a year. This job turned into the right fit for me.”

May is completing the final requirements for a master’s degree in educational and athletic administration. He then plans to start work on a doctorate’s degree.

May comes from a family of educators. A sister is a teacher and a brother-in-law is a strength and conditioning coach. May said that taught him the importance of education.

“Education can never be taken away from you,” May said. “My ultimate goal is to make an impact on people around me. Coaching and teaching allow me to do that. I want to make a positive impact.”

May met with players last week and held a parents’ meeting Thursday night at the Panther Den. He said everything has been positive and ready to start preseason workouts.

“I noticed that we have players with a lot of athleticism,” he said. “We had around 27 players at the first meeting, and I know of four basketball players who will join us when that season is completed.”

May said everything is in place for success.

“My philosophy is to finish strong,” he said. “We will learn how to compete at a high level. We have amazing facilities and a community that supports the program 100 percent. We will find ways to get the job done and build a foundation for the future of the program.”

Heber Springs picks up first conference win

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Heber Springs’ fullcourt press defense slowed down Dardanelle, but once the intensity picked up during the third quarter, the game quickly changed at the Panther Den Friday.

The Lady Panthers (1-2 in conference, 7-8 overall) led
16-11 at halftime and took control with a 17-4 third-quarter scoring run and coasted to a 42-26 win against Dardanelle in a 4-4A Conference basketball game.

“We talked about that at halftime,” Heber Springs coach Jamey Riddle said. “We wanted to apply more defensive pressure. We were not able to force many turnovers with our press during the first half.”

Jaylea Hooten and Ellie Riddle were a potent one-two scoring punch for Heber Springs. Hooten led all scorers with 21 points and Riddle contributed 14 points.
Brooklyn Tidwell and Bethani Walker had nine and eight points, respectively, for Dardanelle.

“During halftime, I asked Madison (Clemons) and Hope (Turney) to apply more defensive pressure,” Jamey Riddle said. “That allowed Ellie and Jaylea to go for steals, which led to transition buckets. We didn’t want to come down and set up our offense all of the time.”

The lead changed three times during a slow-paced first quarter. Annette Navarette connected on a 3-point shot, giving Dardanelle a 5-4 lead with two minutes left.

Hooten and Riddle answered with field goals for the Lady Panthers, who took an 8-5 lead into the second quarter.

Riddle scored on a drive to the basket and Sophie Stone made a 3-pointer, increasing the lead to 13-5. Rylea Manning put the Lady Sand Lizards on the board by hitting a 3-pointer.

Hooten’s field goal increased the Heber Springs lead to 15-8. Manning connected on 1-of-2 free throws and Navarette scored, pulling Dardanelle to within 15-11. Riddle made 1-of-2 free throws as the Lady Panthers led 16-11 at halftime.

Heber Springs went on a 10-0 scoring run during the first six minutes of the third quarter and increased its lead to 26-11. The Lady Panthers maintained control and led 33-15 going into the fourth quarter.

“Dardanelle switched to a man defense during the fourth quarter and we got a little too sluggish against it,” Riddle said. “We played good defense for most of the game and held down their two shooters. We did a better job of limiting Dardanelle’s shots.”

Riddle said the first conference win gave the team renewed confidence heading to the conclusion of the conference’s first half of the schedule.

“It felt good to get the win,” he said. “It was good to see players happy in the dressing room after the game. We lost a lot of close games and maybe this will get us going.”

Heber Springs will host Clarksville on Tuesday night with the senior recognition ceremony for all spring sport athletes scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Tip-off for the game will be 6 p.m. The Lady Panthers will complete the first half of the conference season at Pottsville on Friday.

Dardanelle 8 3 4 11–26
Heber Springs 8 8 17 9–42
Dardanelle scorers — Brooklyn Tidwell 9, Bethani Walker 8, Annette Navarette 5, Rylea Manning 3, Emma Daughtery 1.
Heber Springs scorers — Jaylea Hooten 21, Ellie Riddle 14, Sophie Stone 5, Madison Clemons 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

Ramblers defeat Panthers in nonconference tilt

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

It’s back to the grind of the 4-4A Conference basketball schedule for the Heber Springs Panthers.
Heber Springs lost at Sheridan in the first game since Christmas and dropped a 67-43 decision to Rose Bud at the Panther Den on Saturday.The Panthers (0-2 in conference, 1-12 overall) were scheduled to resume conference play at Morrilton on Tuesday.
Conner Riddle and Ryan Crocker scored 38 of the 43 points for Heber Springs. Riddle scored a game-high 24 points, followed by Crocker with 14 points. Rece Hipp led Rose Bud with 23 points and Jace Goodwin had 10 points.
“It was good to get back in the gym,” Heber Springs coach Dusty West said. “A team can learn and improve more playing games than just practicing. We dug ourselves a big hole early in the game, trailing by 17 points at one point in the first half before reducing it to eight points by halftime. We came back for the second half and didn’t play with a lot of energy.”
Rose Bud scored 12 unanswered points to start the game. Riddle put the Panthers on the scoreboard with less than four minutes left in the first quarter by making two free throws.
Heber Springs played almost even during the next three minutes with the Ramblers. Rose Bud outscored the Panthers 9-7 and took a 21-9 lead into the second quarter.
The Ramblers increased their margin to 17 points before Crocker’s 3-pointer started a Heber Springs scoring run. The Panthers pulled to within five points at 24-19, but the Ramblers survived the charge and increased the lead to 34-26 by halftime.
Rose Bud went on an 18-9 scoring run during the third quarter for a 52-33 lead going in the final quarter.
“We had moments when we played well and moments we didn’t play as well,” West said. “We just need to focus on the next two games, which are against conference opponents. The players are still working hard and giving good effort. We need to find a way to get over the hump.”
Rose Bud 21 13 18 15–67
Heber Springs 9 17 7 10–43
Rose Bud scorers — Rece Hipp 23, Jace Goodwin 10, Jared Wray 9, Gavin Vaughn 7, Avery Orman 7, Matthew Waggoner 5, Dalton Gorham 4, Caden Heck 2.
Heber Springs scorers — Conner Riddle 24, Ryan Crocker 14, Gus Hannah 4 Wyatt Winchester 1.

Rose Bud drops Heber Springs in senior girls play

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

The Heber Springs Lady Panthers lost two non-conference basketball games after the Christmas break, but worked to shake off the rest before resuming  the 4-4A Conference schedule.

After a loss at Sheridan, Heber Springs (0-1 in conference, 7-7 overall) dropped a 47-43 decision to Rose Bud at the Panther Den before Tuesday’s scheduled conference game at defending conference championship Morrilton.

“The big thing was to knock the rust away,” Heber Springs coach Jamey Riddle said. “We have a quick turnaround with a conference game on Tuesday. We played competitive at Sheridan, but as a young team, we need to find a way to get more rebounds, limit turnovers and make a few shots. We didn’t do that at Sheridan. We got good shots against Rose Bud, but we didn’t make many of them.”

Kyndal Rooks and Kelsie Taylor scored 32 of Rose Bud’s 47 points. Rooks led the Lady Ramblers with 21 points, while Taylor had 11 points.

Jaylea Hooten scored 15 points for the Lady Panthers, while Ellie Riddle contributed 10 points.

The two teams were tied at 9-9 after the first quarter. Rose Bud assumed control midway through the second quarter and finished with a 7-1 scoring run and led 22-16 at halftime.

The Lady Panthers pulled to within three points during the third quarter before momentum shifted again. Rose Bud regained the 6-point lead, but Heber Springs rallied and pulled to within 34-30 going into the fourth quarter.

Rose Bud increased its lead to eight points, but the Lady Panthers didn’t go away easily.

Heber Springs went on a 10-4 scoring run, reducing the lead to four points, but never closer for the remainder of the game.

Riddle said the team is ready to resume conference play and begin the push for the postseason.

“We hope to play a good game at Morrilton,” he said. “We battled back in the Rose Bud game and that is a good sign. As long as we keep battling, that lets me know they want to win. We will keep working and see what we can do.”

The Lady Devil Dogs are a talented team and ranked among one of the top teams in Class 4A. Riddle said his team is prepared for the challenge.

“Morrilton won the conference last year and returns most of those players,” he said. “We must play well, rebound and play smart.”

Rose Bud 9 13 12 13–47
Heber Springs 9 7 14 13–43
Rose Bud scorers — Kyndal Rooks 21, Kelsie Taylor 11, Foster 5, Emily Norris 4, Tharp 2, Calhoun 2, Smith 2.
Heber Springs scorers — Jaylea Hooten 15, Ellie Riddle 10, Madison Clemons 7, Kylie Carr 5, Hope Turney 4, Olivia Norton 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

Ozark topples Heber Springs senior girls

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.

Lady Panthers tamed by Searcy

Heber Springs’ Hailey Bresnahan battles with Searcy’s Ashley Brown for a rebound at the Panther Den. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

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.

Lady Panthers hold off St. Joseph

IMG_9337_(3)
Heber Springs’ LiLi Chaney with a pass against Conway St. Joseph Tuesday night at the Panther Den. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

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.

Lady Panthers run past Shirley

IMG_7970
Heber Springs’ Ellie Riddle with a pass against Shirley in senior girls nonconference action at the Panther Den. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Playing back-to-back basketball games didn’t slow down the Heber Springs Lady Panthers.

After Monday’s double overtime win at Guy-Perkins, the Lady Panthers (4-3) moved above the .500 mark on the season with an 63-18 non-conference win against Shirley at the Panther Den Tuesday.

Sophomore Jaylee Hooten and senior Ellie Riddle combined for 33 points. Hooten led the Heber Springs’ scoring with 19 points and Riddle contributed 14 points. Sophomore Hope Turney had nine points.

Alyssa Gatlin scored seven points for Shirley.

“I was curious to see how the players’ legs were after playing the night before at Guy,” Heber Springs coach Jamey Riddle said. “They played a lot of minutes. Sometimes, the more you play, a team can get into a better rhythm. We picked up where we finished the Guy game against Shirley. We were moving well, and our shots were falling better. It was good to see them playing consistency.”

Riddle said the team’s full-court press slowed Shirley down and created scoring opportunities.

“Our press confused and caused them to rush their shots,” he said. “We got a lot of rebounds and into our transition game for easy buckets.”

Coach Riddle also said Ellie Riddle and Hooten continued to lead the offense.

“Ellie is finding more of a groove with her shot,” the coach said. “Jaylee is starting to play well and doing a better job of driving into the lane and making shots. Other players are playing their roles.”

Riddle said Kylie Carr continues to play well. Carr scored 16 points at Guy after Ellie Riddle and Hooten fouled out.

“We need players to do that;,” coach Riddle said. “Ellie and Jaylee will not score 20 or more every game. Kylie is an unselfish player. It was her time to shine. She plays that way all of the time in practice. If she hadn’t, we might not have won the game (at Guy).”

Hooten and Riddle combined for 16 of Heber Springs’ 21 points during the first quarter. The Lady Panthers led 21-6 going into the second quarter.
Heber Springs didn’t slow down and went on a 18-4 scoring run and built a 39-10 lead by halftime. The Lady Panthers led 51-12 going into the fourth quarter.

“The two wins will give us momentum,” Riddle said. “We lost games to tough teams (Batesville and Greenbrier).”

Heber Springs will host Conway St. Joseph at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Shirley 6 4 2 6–18
Heber Springs 21 18 12 12–63
Shirley scorers — Alyssa Gatlin 7, Sidney Severn 3, Lilly Wymer 2, Ariana Bradford 2, Kayla Ginn 2, Hoydi Breedlove 2.
Heber Springs scorers — Jaylee Hooten 19, Ellie Riddle 14, Hope Turney 9, Hailey Bresnahan 8, Sophie Stone 4, Kylie Carr 4, Lili Chaney 3, Olivia Norton 2.