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.

Lady Panthers close out Clarksville on Senior Night

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Heber Springs provided the right responses against Clarksville during the final minute of Tuesday’s 4-4A Conference basketball game at the Panther Den.

Senior Ellie Riddle scored on a length of the court drive to regain the lead and Jaylea Hooten blocked an attempted 3-pointer by Clarksville’s Shelby Ross as the Lady Panthers celebrated senior night with a 59-55 win.

Ross, who made four 3-pointers during the fourth quarter, connected from behind the circle left wing and gave Clarksville a 55-54 lead with 1:45 left in the game.

Riddle intercepted a pass at the top of the free-throw line, dribbled the length of the court and made a lay-up with 1:05 to play.

Sophie Stone retrieved Hooten’s blocked shot, drew a foul and made two free throws for a 58-55 lead with 39 seconds remaining.

Clarksville called timeout with 13.9 seconds. Ross attempted a 3-pointer, but Hooten jumped and blocked the shot. Kylie Carr retrieved the ball and drew a foul. Carr hit 1-of-2 free throws with nine seconds to go.

“Clarksville got hot at the end of the game and made shots,” Heber Springs coach Jamey Riddle said. “We responded every time. We would not have did that two weeks ago. This team is continuing to grow and improve.”

Ellie Riddle led all scorers by scoring 18 points for the Lady Panthers. Sophie Stone, who made two 3-pointers, contributed 16 points. Hailey Bresnahan had 11 points, and Hooten contributed 10 points.

“We fell behind by one point late in the game, but Ellie was able to score quickly to get it back,” Jamey Riddle said. “Sophie made big free throws down the stretch. Our defensive intensity was good. We have been waiting on Hailey to get going, and she did in the second half. It was good to see her play well. Sophie, Ellie and Jaylea also played well.”

Autumn Miller scored 15 points for Clarksville. Ross finished with 14 points, while Marcy Domerese, who made four 3-pointers, had 12 points. Abby Domerese added 11 points.

Heber Springs held the lead early during the first quarter. Clarksville gained the advantage by the midway point of the quarter, but it could never pull away. The Lady Panthers trailed 17-13 going into the second quarter.

A 10-0 scoring run ignited Heber Springs to a 23-17 lead. Clarksville controlled the next few minutes and tied the game twice at 25-25 and 27-27.

Riddle scored on a short jumper and Stone’s two free throws gave the Lady Panthers a 31-27 lead at halftime.

Heber Springs maintained control throughout the third quarter by outscoring Clarksville 14-7. The Lady Panthers built the lead to 45-34 going into the fourth quarter.

Riddle said the win came at the right time. Heber Springs moved into position to challenge for a spot among the conference leaders. The Lady Panthers (2-2 in conference, 8-8 overall) will finish the first half of the conference schedule at Pottsville on Friday.

“We hope this win helps us to build momentum for the Pottsville game,” he said. “That is the next step to climb in the standings. We are looking for continued improvement. It will be a big game, and we hope to play well again. Friday’s game will be just as important as this game.”

Clarksville 17 10 7 21–55
Heber Springs 13 18 14 14–59
Clarksville scorers — Autumn Miller 15, Shelby Ross 14, Marcy Domerese 12, Abby Domerese 11, Raquel Webb 2, Hannah Melton 1.
Heber Springs scorers — Ellie Riddle 18, Sophie Stone 16, Hailey Bresnahan 11, Jaylea Hooten 10, Hope Turney 3, Kylie Carr 1.

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.

Panthers lead late, fall to Searcy

Heber Springs sophomore Conner Riddle dribbles past a Searcy defender Tuesday night at the Panther Den. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

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.