Heber Springs started a tough two-game stretch before Thanksgiving week with a 71-40 loss to Batesville in a nonconference basketball game at the Panther Den Tuesday.
Batesville built a 26-6 lead by the end of the first quarter and increased it to 45-20 by halftime. The Panthers trailed 67-29 going into the fourth quarter.
“You could tell that Batesville is a senior team,” Heber Springs coach Dusty West said. “They have played together for four years and were playing in mid-season form. Batesville made a lot of shots and has a great post in J.P. Morgan. We didn’t have an answer for him, but battled as best we could. Morgan’s physical strength and basketball skill were on a different level.”
Sophomore Conner Riddle, who just completed the football season, scored 10 points for the Panthers in his season debut. Bauer Pruitt, also a sophomore, added seven points.
Morgan led the Pioneers with a game-high 21 points. Caden Griffin had 11 points.
West, who assumed the head coach duties last week, took over Heber Springs program following the resignation of Scott Bramlett, hopes his players will follow Batesville’s example in the future. Thirteen of the Panthers’ 16 players are underclassmen.
“After the game, I told the guys that is the type of a team we want to become,” West said. “We want to push the ball up and down the floor, pass the ball inside and throw it out to the perimeter and make 3-pointers.”
West said his team’s second-half performance illustrated what the future may hold.
“I was happy with our effort,” he said. “Despite trailing by double digits, we still were taking charges, hustling for loose balls and fighting for rebounds. “We played well during the second half and executed better.”
Heber Springs (0-2) will host nonconference rival Greenbrier on Thursday.
“The players were energetic and positive in the locker room after the game,” West said. “They are ready to get back on the floor against Greenbrier on Thursday. Greenbrier will test us, and we hope to show how much fight we have. I prefer playing these type of nonconference games, so we can become a better team and prepare for conference play.”
Heber Springs will play Guy-Perkins, Shirley, South Side Bee Branch, Conway St. Joseph, Riverview and Searcy before the start 4-4A Conference opener at Subiaco Academy on Dec. 11. The home conference opener will be against Ozark on Dec. 18.
The Panthers will play finish Cedar Ridge, Newport, Sheridan, Rose Bud and Clinton before resuming conference play at Morrilton on Jan. 5.
“I told the players not to get caught up with the number of wins and losses, but work to get better and hope it leads to winning conference games,” West said. “The nonconference schedule will benefit us in the long run.”
The Panthers gained six new players — Zach Thomas, Gus Hannah, Dakota Farmer, Riddle, Austin Winchester and Wyatt Winchester — following completion of the football season. West said those players are currently in transition and will become more involved in future games.
“We will be trying to establish our rotation and work with the football players on basketball conditioning,” West said. “You will see the team come more together as the season goes. We have a lot of room for growth. The players have potential.”
Batesville 26 19 22 4–71 Heber Springs 6 14 9 11–40 Batesville scorers — J.P. Morgan 21, Caden Griffin 11, Gunner Shell 8, K.J. Cross 6, John Morgan 6, Kyrese Johnson 6, Wes Lange 5, Logan McSpadden 4, Ben Hopper 2, Kolby Young 2. Heber Springs scorers — Conner Riddle 10, Bauer Pruitt 7, Gus Hannah 5, Dakota Farmer 4, Zach Thomas 4, Harley Bresnahan 4, J.T. Spears 3, Joseph Ferris 2, Zach Stogsdill 1.
DeWitt trailed by nine at the half but rallied for a 50-38 victory over Rose Bud in the semifinals of the Steve Landers Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic at Heber Springs
DeWitt will meet Greene County Tech for the title while Rose Bud will play Sheridan in the third-place game on Friday.
The Dragons trailed the Ramblers 24-15 at the break before storming back in the third quarter to take a 38-34 lead into the final quarter.
In the fourth period, Rose Bud was held to a pair of Avery Orman field goals as DeWitt outscored the Ramblers 10-4 in the quarter.
DeWitt’s Caleb Brown led all scorers with 25 points, including 19 points in the second half.
Orman paced Rose Bud with 10.
DeWitt (4-4) 6 9 23 12 - 50
Rose Bud (3-11) 8 16 10 4 - 38
DeWITT SCORING (50): Caleb Brown 25, Seth Courtney 8, Johnta Wright 7, Tarence Ticey 4, Jamarian Kennedy 4, Dax Courtney 2
ROSE BUD SCORING (38): Avery Orman 10, Ian Bomar 9, Keaton Bates 7, Kyle Hannah 4, Robbie Reedy 3, Kayden Sherwood 3, Stetson Nix 2
GAME 7 – SENIOR GIRLS
Pea Ridge 49, Heber Springs 44
Pea Ridge overcame a 11-point deficit at the end of the third quarter to claim a 49-44 victory over the host, Heber Springs, in the Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic.
The Blackhawks trailed 40-29 heading into the final quarter but slowing chipped away at the deficit as the Panthers couldn’t buy a basket in the final quarter, going over six minutes without a field goal before Jillian Herring scored with under two minutes to play.
Meanwhile Pea Ridge would get points from five players including 3-pointers by Ravin Cawthon and Aidan Dayberry.
Dayberry was one of three Blackhawks in double figures with 11. Blakelee Winn had 13 while Allisa Short finished with 10.
Heber Springs’ Libby Stutts, who has signed to play next season at Lyon College in Batesville, finished with a game-high 16 points along with Herring.
Pea Ridge will face Southside Batesville for the championship on Saturday while Heber Springs will tangle with Mayflower in the third-place game.
The defending tournament champion, Greene County Tech, punched its ticket to the finals of the Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic with a hard fought 46-43 victory over Sheridan.
Sheridan led by a point at the half, 24-23, before the two teams traded the lead seven times in the third quarter and had one tie.
The Yellowjackets enjoy their biggest lead of the quarter at 32-28 after a Blake Morris 3-pointer with 5:02 left in the third, but Zane Butler responded for the Eagles.
The senior, who is being recruited as preferred walk-on by Eric Musselman’s Razorbacks – among other schools, scored on a putback of his own missed shot to make it 32-30 with 3:53 left and gave his team the lead at 33-32 with a 3-pointer on Greene County Tech’s next possession.
Sheridan re-took the lead on a Morris putback and increased it to 36-33 with a pair of Tyler Cacciatori free throws with 1:50 left in the third.
But the Eagles closed on a 6-0 run to close the quarter on top 39-36.
Greene County Tech held on the lead for most of the fourt quarter before Cacciatori’s bucket put the Yellowjackets back on ton top at 43-42 with 4:03 left.
A 3-pointer by Butler with 2:53 remaining would give the Eagles a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Sheridan had several attempts to tie the game or take the lead but couldn’t get a shot to fall.
Butler paced the Eagles with 19 points while Sheridan’s Cacciatori, who has signed by play baseball for Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks, led all scorers with 20.
Greene County Tech will play the winner of Rose Bud/DeWitt in the title game on Saturday while Sheridan will play the loser for third place.
Three Southside Batesville players finished in double figures as the Southerners advanced to the title game of the Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic at Heber Springs with a 54-32 victory over Mayflower.
Southside Batesville (11-2) led 30-14 at the break and 44-22 at the end of three quarters.
Kierra Fulton paced Mayflower (8-3) with nine points.
London Cuzzort led the way for Southside Batesville with 16 points, including four 3-pointers, while Brett Gardner added 12 and Reese Gardner 11.
Southside Batesville will face the winner of Heber Springs/Pea Ridge in the title game on Saturday. Mayflower will meet the loser of that match-up in the third-place game.
J. P. Morgan scored 26 points as Batesville downed the host, Heber Springs, 72-60, in a consolation contest from the Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic on Friday.
Batesville trailed only once at 2-0 and raced out to a 31-19 lead, but the Pioneers couldn’t quite shake the Panthers as Adam Martin finished with 21 points in a losing effort.
Caleb Anderson was also in double figures as Batesville (11-3) led 31-19 at the half and 49-40 at the end of three.
The Pioneers, who because of scheduling conflict with the mandated Arkansas Activities Association “Dead Day” period during the Christmas break, was knocked into the consolation bracket after not being able to play on the first day of the tournament.
Batesville will face conference foe, Southside Batesville, in the consolation championship on Saturday. Heber Springs will tangle with Mayflower in a consolation game.
Batesville (11-3) 17 14 18 23 - 72
Heber Springs (1-10) 7 18 21 14 - 60
BATESVILLE SCORING (72): J.P. Morgan 26, Caleb Anderson 12, J.T. Morgan 6, Kyrese Johnson 5, Dawson McMahan 5, Caleb Blakley 4, Logan McSpeddin 4, K.J. Cross 3, Ben Hopper 3, Gunner Shell 2, Austin Scott 2
HEBER SPRINGS SCORING (60): Adam Martin 21, Wyatt Sanders 14, Garrett Hudspeth 13, Dalton McCollum 7, Ryan Crocker 3, Zach Thomas 2
GAME 3 – SENIOR GIRLS
Rose Bud 51, DeWitt 22
Kyndal Rooks scored 31 points in helping lead Rose Bud to a 51-22 victory over DeWitt in consolation bracket action on Friday at the Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic in Heber Springs.
Rose Bud (9-5) only led by three at the end of the first quarter, 7-4, but outscored the Dragons, 14-1, in the second half to take control.
Rooks had 18 of 31 points in the second half and finished the night by hitting four 3-pointers.
Carrington Holliman paced DeWitt (4-5) with six points.
Rose Bud will face Greene County Tech on Friday in the consolation championship while DeWitt will tangle with Sheridan in an consolation game at 11 a.m.
Southside Batesville’s Devan Halford scored 10 points in the first quarter to push the Southerners to a big lead early, hit the go-ahead shot late and sealed the game at the free-throw line as Southside downed Mayflower, 54-46, to advance at the Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic.
Halford’s first quarter points helped the Southerners lead 21-7 at the first quarter, but Mayflower rebounded in the second quarter, thanks in part to 10 points by Braxtyn McCuien, to trail 28-26.
The game remained close throughout the second half as Southside Batesville clung to an advantage throughout most of the second half.
The Eagles trailed by as much as eight points late in the fourth quarter before making a run and even taking a 46-45 lead late in the contest after a three-point play by McCuien.
But the lead was short-lived as Halford hit the go-ahead basket and was 8-of-9 from the free-throw line in the final quarter, including hitting his final six, which also included a technical foul on Mayflower with 15.8 seconds left that stretched a 47-46 advantage to 51-46.
Southside Batesville will get the winner of Heber Spings/Batesville in the consolation championship on Saturday, while Mayflower will face the loser.