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.
The defending Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic champions, Greene County Tech, used a barrage of 3-pointers to race past DeWitt and repeat as tournament champions with a 79-45 victory at the Panther Den.
Half of the Eagles points came from the behind the 3-point line as Greene County Tech knocked down 15 3-pointers.
Zane Butler, who had 22 points in the first half and 24 in limited second-half action, knocked down six 3-pointers while senior Peyton Laubach finished with 17 points and five 3-pointers.
Jayke Bolen and Dawson Greer each recorded a pair of 3’s and finished in double figures in scoring with 12 and 10 points each.
Greene County Tech (11-1) led 25-13 at the end of the first quarter and 46-30 at the half.
The Eagles didn’t get any points at the charity stripe, going 0-for-3 from the free-throw line, as they led 71-43 at the end of three quarters.
DeWitt (4-4) was 17-of-26 from the line and was paced by Caleb Brown’s 20 points.
Blakelee Winn took over when her team needed it and helped lead Pea Ridge to 48-41 victory over Southside Batesville in the championship game of the Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic Saturday in Heber Springs.
Winn, who finished with 29 points, watched her team jump out to an 11-0 advantage before Southside Batesville stormed back taking a 13-12 lead with 4:35 to play in the first half after a Reese Gardner 3-pointer.
But from there Winn would score the Blackhawks final 10 points of the second quarter as Pea Ridge (13-2) led 23-20 at the break.
She would then score the Blackhawks first six points of the third quarter to give Pea Ridge a 29-24 advantage with just over four minutes left in the third quarter.
The two teams traded 3-pointers and baskets before Pea Ridge would go on an 8-0 run that continued until just over five minutes to play.
From there, the Blackhawks slowed things down and held off a later Southerner charge.
London Cuzzort (12) and Shelby Warden (10) were both in double figures for Southside while Lauren Wright added 10 for Pea Ridge.
Future Arkansas Razorback baseball player Tyler Caccatori had a good night on the hardcourt scoring 28 first-half points as Sheridan disposed of Rose Bud, 84-44, to claim third place in the Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic in Heber Springs.
Sheridan (6-4) led 28-11 at the end of the first quarter and 58-26 at the half as Caccatori was perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line in the half.
Another starter, Jairus Adams, also finished in double figures for the Yellowjackets with 11.
In the second half, Sheridan coach Joe Scott emptied his bench and Peyton Hill finished in double figures with 10 points.
Sheridan also led 71-33 at the end of three quarters.
Ian Bomar paced Rose Bud with (3-12) with eight points.
Sheridan (7-4) 28 30 13 13 - 84
Rose Bud (3-12) 11 15 7 11 - 44
SHERIDAN SCORING (84): Tyler Cacciatori 28, Jairus Adams 11, Peyton Hill 10, Chris Rowe 9, Chris Crew 6, Seth Alexander 6, Wyatt Register 6, Blake Morris 4, Jacob Hollinger 3, Alden Lucas 1
ROSE BUD SCORING (44): Ian Bomar 8, Dalton Gorham 7, Avery Orman 7, Kayden Sherwood 6, Keaton Bates 5, Kyle Hannah 3, Stetson Nix 2, Caden Heck 2, Michael Campbell 2, Steven Bradley 2
GAME 5 – SENIOR GIRLS THIRD-PLACE GAME
Mayflower 58, Heber Springs 37
Heber Springs struggled on offense and on finding an answer to Mayflower post player Kamiah Turner.
Turner finished with 10 field goals and 21 points as Mayflower defeated the host, Heber Springs, 58-37, to claim third-place at the Steve Landers Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic.
Mayflower (9-3) led 27-19 at the break and continued to feed Turner on the inside as the Panthers had no answer on the boards.
Despite playing with a broken nose, Ellie Riddle paced Heber Springs with 21 points.
Heber Springs falls to 10-4 on the season.
Kennedi Dawn had 8 points for Mayflower, who lost an opening round game in the tournament last season to Heber Springs.
Tied at 22-all midway through the third quarter, Batesville went on a 27-6 run to close the game and claim the consolation championship of the Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic at Heber Springs with a 49-28 victory over Southside Batesville.
Batesville (12-3) led 12-9 after the first quarter, but trailed at the half 20-17 before going on the second-half run.
The Pioneers led 34-24 at the end of three quarters.
Caleb Anderson paced the Pioneers with 15 points while J.P. Morgan scored 11 points in the paint.
Southside Batesville (4-10) was led by Trevor Longo’s 7 points.
Southside Batesville (4-10) 9 11 4 4 - 28
Batesville (12-3) 12 5 17 15 - 49
SOUTHSIDE BATESVILLE SCORING (28): Trevor Longo 7, Devan Halford 6, Blayne Bufford 5, Jonathan Shane 4, Brycen Sutton 2, Jake Painter 2, Rance Wagoner 2
BATESVILLE SCORING (49): Caleb Anderson 15, J.P. Morgan 11, Logan McSpadden 6, Caleb Blakely 3, Kyrese Johnson 3, Dawson McMahan 3, West Lange 3, Tevan Whitaker 2, J.T. Morgan 2, Gunner Shell 2
GAME 3 – SENIOR GIRLS CONSOLATION CHAMPIONSHIP
Rose Bud 46, Greene County Tech 44
Rose Bud withstood a late Greene County Tech rally to claim the consolation championship with a 46-44 win at the Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic at Heber Springs.
The Eagles has two possessions in the final 14.2 seconds with a chance to tie the game or win the game with a 3-pointer, but both possessions ended with one shot.
Rose Bud (10-5) trailed 23-22 at the half but outscored Greene County Tech 16-11 in the third quarter.
Hope Hartle led all scorers with 29 points. The senior, who has signed to play softball next season at Henderson State, hit six 3-pointers.
Kyndal Rooks finished with seven points for the Ramblers.
Kylie Stokes had 19 points in a losing effort for the Eagles.
Greene County Tech (3-8) 11 12 11 10 - 44
Rose Bud (10-5) 15 7 16 8 - 46
GREENE COUNTY TECH SCORING (3-8): Kylie Stokes 19, Carleigh Hollis 8, Hannah Foster 7, Sierra Floyd 5, Brooke Barnes 3, Emma Bates 2
ROSE BUD SCORING (46): Hope Hartle 29, Kyndal Rooks 7, Kelsey Taylor 4, Emily Norris 3, Briley Chandler 2
GAME 2 – SENIOR BOYS CONSOLATION
Mayflower 66, Heber Springs 41
Mayflower raced out to a 20-8 first quarter lead and didn’t look back in a 66-41 victory over the host, Heber Springs, at the Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Classic.
Mayflower (9-4) led 42-28 at the half as Braxtyn McCuien had 17 first-half points, finishing with 25.
Westin Pickell was also in double figures for the Mayflower finishing with 10 points.
The Eagles outscored Heber Springs (1-11) 24-6 in the third quarter to take control.
Garrett Hudspeth paced the Panthers with 14 points.