The season’s first win didn’t come easy for the Heber Springs Panthers. Heber Springs went on a 19-4 third-quarter scoring run and pulled away with a 55-41 nonconference basketball win against the Shirley Blue Devils at the Panther Den Tuesday.
The Panthers trailed late in the second quarter, but Bauer Pruitt’s 3-pointer with seconds left sent the team into the dressing room with a 28-27 halftime lead. Heber Springs led 47-31 going into the fourth quarter.
Heber Springs ended a 24-game losing streak. The last win came at Dover (37-32) on Dec. 10, 2019.
“These guys have been through so much for the past two weeks,” coach Dusty West said. “The players kept fighting after they played three tough opponents (Batesville, Greenbrier and Guy-Perkins). We took our licks in those games. The players showed their maturity and composure.”
Ryan Crocker led a balanced scoring attack with 11 points for the Panthers. Conner Riddle and Gus Hannah each had eight points. Nash Little scored a game-high 17 points for Shirley. Arrick Nowell contributed nine points.
“It was a fun night, and they deserved this win,” West said. “The players refused to lose. Before the game, I drew a line on the board and told the players we will do what is needed to get across this line.”
Heber Springs held a four-point for most of the first quarter. Shirley tied the game at 7-7 midway through the quarter before back-to-back 3-pointers by Crocker and Zach Thomas broke the deadlock. Shirley pulled to within 13-12, but the Panthers answered and held an 18-13 lead going into the second quarter.
The Blue Devils remained close and took their first lead on Little’s 3-pointer, 26-25, with 1:30 left in the first half. Little made 1-of-2 free throws before Pruitt’s 3-pointer gave Heber Springs a 28-27 halftime lead.
“Our depth was a factor in the second half,” West said. “Shirley had two good shooters, and we did a good job defending them. This was a good way to go into Thanksgiving.”
Heber Springs (1-4) will return to action by hosting Conway St. Joseph at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“It will be a challenge and a tough matchup,” West said. “The players are hungry after getting that first win.”
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.
The Heber Springs never got the offense rolling, scoring in single digits during each of the first three quarters, and lost to Greenbrier 65-28 in a nonconference boys’ high school basketball game at the Panther Den Thursday.
Greenbrier built a 13-2 first-quarter lead and went on a 25-7 scoring run during the second quarter and led 38-9 at halftime. Heber Springs trailed 52-16 going into the fourth quarter.
Wyatt Winchester scored six points for Heber Springs. Logan Monahan and Conner Riddle each had five points. Reece Jones led Greenbrier with 13 points and Marques Robinson contributed 10 points.
Heber Springs (0-3) is scheduled to play at Guy-Perkins on Monday and will host Shirley on Tuesday in nonconference games. Both games are set to start at 6 p.m.
Greenbrier 13 25 14 13–65 Heber Springs 2 7 7 12–28 Greenbrier scorers — Reece Jones 13, Marques Robinson 10, Bryce Webb 9, Jack Runsick 7, Jace Dunlap 7, Hayes Johnson 5, Dax Caughern 4, Nate Barrentine 3, Spencer Melton 3, Thomas Kendall 2, Gavin James 2. Heber Springs scorers — Wyatt Winchester 6, Logan Monahan 5, Conner Riddle 5, Bent McClain 3, J.T. Spears 3, Trevor Myrick 2, Ryan Crocker 2, Bauer Pruitt 2.
Greenbrier post Alexandria Newland proved too much for the Heber Springs defense to contain during Thursday’s non-conference basketball game at the Panther Den.
Newland scored 12 of her game-high 22 points during the second half in Greenbrier’s 48-40 win against Heber Springs.
“You can’t lose where No. 44 (Newland) is on the floor when she puts up shots because she will go after the rebound,” Heber Springs coach Jamey Riddle said. “We lost her a couple of times. She posts up well and has a good touch on her shot.”
Sophomore post Jaylee Hooten and senior guard Ellie Riddle combined to score 33 of Heber Springs’ 40 points. Hooten had 10 of her 18 points during the first half. Riddle contributed 15 points, eight points coming during the first two quarters.
“Jaylee played more aggressively, and we need her to do that every game,” coach Riddle said. “Ellie had a good game, handled the ball well and made a few shots. She is doing what a senior should do and a good team leader.”
Greenbrier took a 5-2 lead early in the first quarter. Hooten scored back-to-back field goals as Heber Springs pulled ahead, 6-5. Heber Springs maintained control during the remainder of the quarter and led 14-7 going into the second quarter.
Greenbrier seized the momentum and went on a 9-2 scoring run and tied the game at 16-16 midway through the second quarter. The lead changed five times during the next four minutes as Greenbrier emerged with a 22-20 advantage at halftime.
Heber Springs trailed by 11 points late in the third quarter. Sophie Stone and Hooten scored field goals as Greenbrier’s lead was reduced to 40-31 going into the fourth quarter.
“We played a great first quarter,” Riddle said. “Greenbrier turned it on during the second quarter and evened the score. Greenbrier began hitting its shots in the third quarter that it had missed earlier in the game.”
Riddle said Greenbrier’s conditioning and stronger physical play were determining factors, especially during the fourth quarter.
“Kylie (Carr) started because she is more of a physical player,” Riddle said. “She helped on the inside. Lili (Chaney), Brandi (Meredith) and Hope (Turney) came off the bench and played well. That is what we are going to need this season to be more successful.”
Riddle said playing more physical will be one of the areas that the team needs improvement before starting conference play.
“You got to play physical and not get tired,” Riddle said. “We didn’t do that or enough to win the game. We need to get in better physical condition.”
Heber Springs (2-3) is scheduled to play at Guy-Perkins on Monday and will host Shirley on Tuesday in nonconference games. Both games are set to start at 5 p.m.
“We need a bounce-back week,” Riddle said. “We played better against Greenbrier, and I hope that momentum will carry over to those games going into Thanksgiving.”
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.
University of Missouri commit Isabella Higginbottom scored a game-high 23 points and led the Batesville Lady Pioneers to a 78-44 win against the Heber Springs Lady Panthers in a nonconference basketball game at the Panther Den Tuesday.
Batesville began the game with a 9-0 scoring run and held the Lady Panthers scoreless until Jaylee Hooten made 2-of-2 free throws with 4:14 left in the first quarter. Heber Springs was outscored 11-8 for the remainder of the quarter and trailed 20-10 going into the second quarter.
The pace picked up during the second quarter when the Lady Pioneers outscored Heber Springs 26-18 for a 46-28 halftime lead. Batesville’s lead increased to 68-40 going into the the fourth quarter.
Ellie Riddle led the Lady Panthers with 16 points. Hooten contributed 10 points. Taylor Rush scored 14 points for the Lady Pioneers, while London Cuzzort and Olivia Everretts each had 12 points.
Heber Springs (2-2) will host Greenbrier in a nonconference game at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Batesville 20 26 22 10–78 Heber Springs 10 18 12 4–44 Batesville scorers — Isabella Higginbottom 23, Taylor Rush 14, London Cuzzort 12, Olivia Everretts 12, Kayla Ward 6, Anna Ezell 5, Sophie Poole 4, Belen Sanchez 2. Heber Springs scorers — Ellie Riddle 16, Jaylee Hooten 10, Hailey Bresnahan 9, Sophie Stone 3, Madison Clemons 2, Olivia Norton 2, Hope Turney 1, Kylie Carr 1.
TRUMANN – Heber Springs beat the threat of COVID-19 and completed the 2020 football season, but the conclusion didn’t go as planned.
Heber Springs (2-9) finished the year with a 43-14 loss to Trumann at RMC Stadium in the opening round of the Class 4A football playoffs Friday.
“If you had told me nine weeks ago we would play 11 games, I would have said you were crazy,” Heber Springs coach Todd Wood said. “We were blessed to play 11 games. A lot of players who were inexperienced before the start of the season gained experience, and they will be coming back next year. I’m proud of the players for never giving up at any time during the season.”
Trumann followed a similar script of previous Heber Springs’ opponents by converting turnovers into touchdowns. The Wildcats scored two of their three first-half touchdowns following an interception and a fumble recovery.
The Panthers held a 7-6 advantage in first downs during the first half. But Trumann had 154 yards of offense, 127 coming on the ground, to 89 for Heber Springs. The Wildcats had three quarterback sacks for a minus 18 yards.
Trumann scored touchdowns on its first two possession of the second half.
Overall, Trumann outgained Heber Springs 348-198. The Wildcats compiled 305 of their 348 yards on the ground, but only held the ball five more minutes than the Panthers (26:43-21:17). Trumann finished by sacking HSHS quarterbacks seven times for a minus 45 yards.
“It was the same story from most of the season, when we hang onto the ball, we did well,” Wood said. “When we didn’t, teams took advantage and put us in a hole. That happened again. You can’t do that against a playoff team.”
Senior quarterback Matthew Cook led the Panthers by completing 14-of-24 passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Cook rushed nine times for a minus 6 yards, including sacks.
Senior running back Diego Rubio rushed for 65 yards on seven carries. Junior Jackson West ran for 50 yards on five attempts. Senior Nathan McKee caught seven passes for 63 yards and one touchdown. Freshman Parker Brown had 57 all-purpose yards and caught his first high school touchdown pass.
Rian King led Trumann with 109 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns. Milton Lewis ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Gavin Morgan also had 78 yards and scored one touchdown.
King’s interception put Trumann in position for the game’s first touchdown. The Wildcats drove 53 yards on six plays with King scoring on a 2-yard carry with 5:13 left in the first quarter. Efrain Garcia kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.
Trumann recovered a fumble at the Heber Springs 13 to set up its second touchdown. Two plays later, Lewis ran six yards for a touchdown with 11:56 left in the first half. Garcia kicked the extra point for the 14-0 lead.
Heber Springs answered with an 8-play, 54-yard drive following the kickoff. Cook passed 10 yards to McKee and Rubio broke loose on a 16-yard run to get the drive moving. Later, Rubio’s 11-yard run gave the Panthers a first-and-goal at the Trumann 1.
Two plays later, Cook rolled out and flipped a 3-yard touchdown pass to Brown with 8:31 remaining in the first half. A 2-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful as Heber Springs trailed, 14-6.
“We felt good after getting it to 14-6,” Wood said. “We had a good offensive drive and gained some momentum. I thought we could piece things together, get a defensive stop and get the ball back. Credit Trumann for coming out and doing some things different than we saw on film.”
Trumann regained a two-score lead before halftime by driving 54 yards on 12 plays. King scored on a 14-yard run with 1:56 to go for a 20-6 lead.
“I challenged the players at halftime to get a defensive start at the beginning of the third quarter,” Wood said. “We needed a defensive stop. Unfortunately, we were not healthy and had other players unable to play. We were just outmatched.”
Trumann began the third quarter on a 5-play, 58-yard drive. King broke free and ran 46 yards for the touchdown with 9:45 left. McClain ran for a 2-point conversion and increased the lead to 28-6.
The Wildcats held on downs and drove 59 yards on 11 plays. King capped the drive by scoring on a 9-yard run with 10:49 left in the game. Garcia kicked the extra point for the 35-6 lead.
Heber Springs’ second touchdown came on a 5-play, 61-yard drive. Cook connected on a 31-yard scoring pass to McKee with 8:44 left. Cook ran for the 2-point conversion as the Panthers trailed, 35-14.
Trumann recovered the attempted onside kickoff and scored two plays later. Morgan had a 46-yard touchdown run with 8:26 remaining. Lewis ran for the 2-point conversion.
Heber Springs (2-9) 0 6 0 8 - 14
Trumann (6-5) 7 13 8 15 - 43
Trumann, Rian King 2-yard run (Efrain Garcia kick), 5:13
Trumann, Milton Lewis 7-yard run (Garcia kick), 11:56
Heber Springs, Matthew Cook to Parker Brown 3-yard pass (pass failed), 8:31
Trumann, Lewis 14-yard run (kick failed), 1:50THIRD QUARTER
Trumann, King 46-yard run (Connor McClain run), 9:43
Trumann, King 9-yard run (Garcia kick), 10:49
Heber Springs, Cook to Nathan McKee 2-yard pass (Cook run), 8:44 Trumann, Gavin Morgan 46-yard run (Lewis run), 8:26
TEAM STATS First Downs by Rush: Heber Springs 6, Trumann 13
First Downs by Pass: Heber Springs 5, Trumann 1
First Downs by Penalty: Heber Springs 1, Trumann 0
Total First Downs: Heber Springs 12, Trumann 14
Third-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 5/10, Trumann 3/7
Fourth-Down Conversions: Heber Springs 1/3, Trumann 3/3
Red-Zone Conversions: Heber Springs 2/1, Trumann 4/4
Time of Possession: Heber Springs 21:17, Trumann 26:43
Fumbles/Lost: Heber Springs 2/1, Trumann 1/1
Turnovers: Heber Springs 2, Trumann 1
Points Off Turnovers: Heber Springs 0, Trumann 14
Penalties: Heber Springs 6/30, Trumann 6/52
Rushing: Heber Springs 26/83/3.2, Trumann 44/305/6.9
Passing: Heber Springs 16/27-115-2/1, Trumann 6/7-43-0/0
Plays/Total Offense/YPP: Heber Springs 53/198/3.7, Trumann 51/348/6.8
Sacks/Yards Lost: Heber Springs 0/0, Mills 7/45
Punts: Heber Springs 0, Trumann 1/41
Inside 20: Trumann 1
INDIVIDUAL STATS OFFENSERUSHING: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 7/65, Jackson West 5/50, Nathan McKee 2/(-3), Matthew Cook 9/(-6), John McBroome 3/(-23). Trumann, Rian King 14/109/3, Milton Lewis 13/78/2, Gavin Morgan 7/78/1, Murphy Williams 3/33, Parks McNair 1/13, Connor McClain 1/4, Team 1/(-4), Garner Henderson 1/(-6).
PASSING: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 14/24-105-2/1, John McBroome 2/3-10-0/0. Trumann, Connor McClain 6/7-43-0/0.
RECEIVING: Heber Springs, Nathan McKee 7/63/1, Diego Rubio 2/8, Gus Hannah 1/25, Jackson West 1/5, Isaac King 1/8, Austin Winchester 1/8, Parker Brown 1/3/1, Chris Roberts 1/2, Easton Cusick 1/(-1). Trumann, Parks McNair 4/22, Gavin Morgan 1/11, Rian King 1/1.
TOTAL OFFENSE: Heber Springs, Matthew Cook 99, Diego Rubio 65, Jackson West 50, Nathan McKee (-3), John McBroome (-13). Trumann, Rian King 109, Milton Lewis 78, Gavin Morgan 78, Connor McClain 47, Murphy Williams 33, Parks McNair 13, Garner Henderson (-6).
PUNT RETURNS: None
KICK RETURNS: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 3/54, Kenan Sneed 1/0, Austin Winchester 1/0. Trumann, Murphy Williams 1/0.
FUMBLE RETURNS: None
INTERCEPTION RETURNS: Trumann, Rian King 1/22
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS: Heber Springs, Diego Rubio 73, Nathan McKee 60, Parker Brown 57, Jackson West 55, Gus Hannah 25, Isaac King 8, Austin Winchester 8, Chris Roberts 2, Easton Cusick (-1), Matthew Cook (-6), John McBroome (-23). Trumann, Rian King 132, Gavin Morgan 89, Milton Lewis 78, Parks McNair 35, Murphy Williams 33, Connor McClain 4, Garner Henderson (-6).
SCORING: Heber Springs, Parker Brown 6, Nathan McKee 6, Matthew Cook 2. Trumann, Rian King 18, Milton Lewis 14, Gavin Morgan 6, Efrain Garcia 3 (3/4 XPA), Connor McClain 2.
DEFENSEPUNTS/YARDS/AVERAGE/INSIDE THE 20/BLOCKED: Trumann, Connor McClain 1/41/1
SACKS/YARDS LOST: Trumann, Garen Smithson 2/9, Garner Henderson 2/15, Eli Evett 1/10, Connor McClain 1/5, Desmond Langston 1/7
The Heber Springs Panthers welcome another opportunity to play football in one of the most unique seasons in history.
Heber Springs (2-8) will meet Trumann (5-5) in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs at Roach Manufacturing Corporation (RMC) Stadium in Trumann Friday. Kickoff is scheduled at 7 p.m.
This will be the first meeting between these two teams in school history.
The Panthers finished the regular season with a 34-24 loss to Little Rock Mills University Studies, while Trumann defeated Cave City, 34-21.
The Panthers didn’t qualify for the playoffs as one of the conference’s top five teams, but opted to compete under the Arkansas Activities Association’s rule that all teams may compete this season because of COVID-19.
“We have had a lot of positive feedback from players and parents,” said Heber Springs coach Todd Wood when asked about participating in the playoffs. “They were happy that we are continuing our season. Our season is not over, and we hope to go out there and move forward in the playoffs. The game will be a good experience.”
The two teams played one common opponent during the regular season — Southside. Trumann shut out the Southerners 27-0 on Sept. 11, while the Panthers defeated Southside 22-17 on Oct. 23.
Quarterback Connor McClain and running back Milton Lewis are two of the players to watch when Trumann is on offense. The Wildcats operate from a form of the Single-Wing.
“Trumann prefers the run, but will pass,” Wood said. “The running attack is similar to what Clinton did. No. 2 (Lewis) is one of Trumann’s best athletes, and it likes to get the ball to him. We need to keep a close eye on him at all times. We must tackle well and have been stressing that during practice.”
Heber Springs’ preparation on offense will not change much from the last four opponents as Trumann plays a 3-4, defense.
Wood said the offense has shown improvement from game-to-game and he is looking for the team’s best performance against Trumann.
Heber Springs quarterback Matthew Cook is a running and passing threat, with Nathan McKee his primary target in the passing game. Cook has completed 130-of-231 passes for 1,476 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has rushed for 433 yards on 115 carries and scored four touchdowns. McKee is the team’s leading receiver with 51 catches for 615 yards and three touchdowns.
Wood also said he hopes for increased production from the running game. Diego Rubio has rushed for 394 yards on 85 attempts and scored eight touchdowns.
“If we can get into a good rhythm on offense, we will be OK,” Wood said. “It’s important to hold onto the ball and have no turnovers. The receivers also must make catches, and we need to protect the quarterback better. If we do that, it will open up our running game.”
Linebackers Preston Roberson and Kenan Sneed lead the defense. Wood expects the team will put lessons learned in recent games to good use against Trumann.
“We need to be in the right places and tackle well,” Wood said. “We must take it to Trumann and not let Trumann take it to us. We must win the battle at the line of scrimmage.”
Friday’s winner will play at Malvern (5-5) in the second round next week.
Heber Springs couldn’t overcome Central Arkansas Christian’s 8-0 scoring run at the start of the fourth quarter as the Panthers lost their basketball season opener 52-46 to the Mustangs at the Panther Den Thursday.
CAC held a 38-37 lead going into the fourth quarter. Andrew Haughaboo started CAC’s scoring run by making back-to-back 3-pointers. Karsen Richard connected on a jumper, increasing the lead to 46-37 with five minutes to go.
J.T. Spear, who transferred from CAC to Heber Springs this year, pulled the Panthers within 46-40 by making a 3-pointer. The Panthers never pulled closer.
“We were winded at the beginning of the fourth quarter and let No. 3 (Andrew Haughaboo) get loose for 3-point shots,” Heber Springs coach Dusty West said. “The 3-pointers separated us. We kept battling and adjusting to CAC’s defense, and they were resilient and played with a lot of pride.”
Bauer Pruitt, Logan Monahan and Ryan Crocker each scored 11 points for the Panthers. Haughaboo (19 points) and Richard (16 points) scored 35 of CAC’s 52 points.
“Three guys scored in double figures and for the first game, that was encouraging,” West said. “We had great effort and kept competing. I told the players if we kept doing that, we would have a chance to win in the fourth quarter.”
Monahan and Crocker are the only two Panthers who played last year. West said those players’ experience benefitted the team.
“A senior point guard (Monahan) is important,” West said. “Logan can take control and doesn’t let the pressure get to him. We have a lot of positives. We started three sophomores (Pruitt, Spear and Bent McClain), and they played well.”
Heber Springs trailed 10-8 midway through the first quarter. CAC went on an 8-0 lead before Monahan made a 3-pointer as the Panthers trailed 18-11 going into the second quarter.
The Mustangs maintained the lead throughout the second quarter. Heber Springs trailed 24-18, but made a move late in the first half. Crocker started the scoring run with a 3-pointer and McClain had a field reducing CAC’s lead to 24-23.
The Mustangs increased the lead to 28-23, but Spear pulled the Panthers within two points on a 3-pointer by halftime, 28-26.
Heber Springs took the early in the third quarter, 32-31, on 3-pointers by McClain and Crocker. CAC regained the lead until Pruitt’s 3-pointer gave the Panthers a 37-36 advantage late in the third quarter. Haughaboo made 2-of-2 free throws as CAC led 38-37 going into the fourth quarter.
West also liked the crowd support for the first home game.
“We had a great student section and a loud crowd,” he said. “The team gained confidence. We had a lot of new faces, and we will get a few more players from football. We are excited to get those guys because they will make us better. But we need to get to the free-throw line more. We only shot seven free throws. This team has a lot of potential.”
Heber Springs will host Batesville in a nonconference game Tuesday.
CAC 18 10 10 14–52 Heber Springs 11 15 11 9–46 CAC scorers — Andrew Haughaboo 19, Karsen Richard 16, Levi Smith 9, Jeff Gilbrech 4, Jack Devitt 3, Eli Echols 1. Heber Springs scorers — Bauer Pruitt 11, Logan Monahan 11, Ryan Crocker 11, J.T. Spear 8, Bent McClain 4, Harley Bresnahan 1.