Heber Springs tops South Side Bee Branch

Heber Springs’ Ryan Crocker looks to get past South Side Bee Branch’s Gage Johnston in action at the Family Activities Center in Conway. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

CONWAY – J.T Spears hit a 3-pointer right before the half and Heber Springs didn’t look back in claiming a 36-25 victory over South Side Bee Branch in a consolation contest from the St. Joseph tournament.

The two teams were tied at 15-all with 60 seconds left before the break when Spears hit the field goal.

The game would remain tight  throughout the third quarter as Heber Springs led 23-19 with 1:53 left in the stanza before Spears and Ryan Crocker hit 3-pointers to push the advantage to double figures.

Heber Springs finished 2-1 in the tournament as all six teams finished pool play with 1-1 marks.

“It was a really strong field with competitive games,” Heber Springs coach Jordan Riley said. “(I am) proud of these guys. I think there were a couple of games that we might have lost early in the season. but we are learning how to play the right way.

“They are doing a great job of buying in and doing what’s asked of them, I am really proud of their effort.”

Spears was one of three Panthers to finish in double figures in scoring with 11 as Gavin Vaughn also finished with 11 with Parker Brown adding 10.

Heber Springs limited Conner Riddle, who played last season for the Panthers, to 2 points.

“They have a really good team,” Riley said.  “Of course they have Conner Riddle, who played at Heber last year and was a big part of what they did, we followed the game plan which was to contain Conner and the rest of their shooters on the outside and try to limit the damage they did around the basket. Offensively we wanted to be really patient, take what shots were good for us and get guys the ball in the right spot. I thought the guys executed really well.”

With the win, Heber Springs improved to 4-2 on the season. The four wins are one more than the Panthers have had the past two seasons (three).

“Just like in this game, learning how to play the right when you have a double digit lead with four minutes left, we are not going to play exactly the same way you would the rest of the game,” Riley said. “They have never really played like that, and they are staring to figure that out.

“I am really proud of their effort. Learning how to win is part of the process. They are 4-2 and I am not sure how many people expected us to be here. I am not sure how many people in that locker rom expected to here, but they are buying in, working hard every day, and when you do those things the wins come.”

Heber Springs will open conference play Friday at home against Subiaco Academy.

“They are really tough, but it’s going to be like that every night in our league,” Riley said. “We play in a really tough league. We are going to have play the right way consistently to be able to compete and hoepfully come up with quite a few wins.”

HEBER SPRINGS  SCORING (36): Gavin Vaughn 11, Ryan Crocker 6, J.T. Spears 11, Parker Brown 10.

SOUTH SIDE BEE BRANCH SCORING (25): Whitt Holland 3, Nathan Emmert 2, Gage Johnston 10, Conner Riddle 2, Reece Beaudin 5, Hayden Black 3.

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(Click on a game for previous details)
(Record: 4-2, 4-4A Conference: 0-0)
Nov. 18   Heber Springs 43, Bald Knob 37
Nov. 22   Guy-Perkins 54, Heber Springs 39
Nov. 23   Heber Springs 46, Shirley 34
Nov. 29   Conway St. Joseph 37, Heber Springs 30 +
Dec. 02   Heber Springs 43, Mayflower 41 +
Dec. 04   Heber Springs 36, South Side Bee Branch 25 +
Dec. 07   at Benton Harmony Grove (JG, SG, SB), 5 p.m.
Dec. 10   Subiaco Academy (JB, SB), 5 p.m.
Dec. 14   South Side Bee Branch (JG, SG, SB), 5 p.m.
Dec. 17   at Ozark (JG, JB, SG, SB), 4 p.m. *
Dec. 20   at Lonoke (JG, JB, SG, SB), 4 p.m. 
Dec. 21   at Des Arc (JG, JB, SG, SB), 4 p.m.
Dec. 28-30 at Mount Vernon-Enola Tournament (SG, SB)
Jan. 04   Morrilton (SGJV, SBJV, SG, SB), 6 p.m. *
Jan. 07   at Dardanelle (JG, JB. SG, SB), 4 p.m. *
Jan. 11   at Clarksville (SBJV, SG, SB), 5 p.m. *
Jan. 14   Pottsville (JG, JB, SG, SB), 4 p.m. *
Jan. 21   Ozark (JG, JB, SG, SB), 4 p.m. *
Jan. 25   at Morrilton (SGJB, SBJB, SG, SB), 6 p.m. *
Jan. 28   at Subiaco Academy (JB, SB), 5 p.m.
Feb. 01   Dardanelle (JG, JB, SG, SB), 4 p.m.
Feb. 03   Clarksville (SBJV, SG, SB), 5 p.m. *
Feb. 08   at Pottsville (SGJV, SG, SB), 6 p.m. *
Feb. 14   District Tournament at Subiaco Academy
( + - Denotes Conway St. Joseph Tournament)