February 19, 2020
By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
DARDANELLE – The Heber Springs Lady Panthers went down to the final seconds against Ozark in the 4-4A Conference Basketball Tournament quarterfinals.
With 12 seconds left in the game, Heber Springs advanced into the frontcourt, setting up Jillian Herring for a 3-pointer, which came up short with three seconds left as the Lady Panthers’ season ended with a 42-39 loss to Ozark Wednesday.
Heber Springs swept Ozark during the regular season and was seeded third.
The Lady Panthers tied Clarksville for second place, but they split games. Clarksville received the second seed by scoring one more point in match-ups against Heber Springs.
“I told them after the game how proud I was of how they played and battled until the end,” Heber Springs coach Jamey Riddle said. “Ozark made a few shots and we missed a few shots in the fourth quarter. You have to put the ball in the basket at the end of a game. We had a great year with five seniors leading us.”
Libby Stutts led Heber Springs with 14 points. Herring had 10 points. Carter Crane scored 11 points for Ozark and Briley Burns finished with 10 points.
“We probably needed to call a timeout before the final shot, but we had time to set up the play,” Riddle said. “I knew they would key on Libby and we ran a play that had been successful in the past. The players executed the play, but the shot didn’t go in the basket.”
Heber Springs finished the first quarter strong. The Lady Panthers led 6-5 before a basket by Ellie Riddle and Herring’s 3-pointer increased the lead to 11-5 going into the second quarter.
The lead was 16-9 midway through the second quarter. Ozark went on a 10-4 scoring run as Heber Springs held a 20-19 halftime lead.
“Jillian got in foul trouble and missed most of the second quarter,” Jamey Riddle said. “She was trying to guard one of Ozark’s best players.”
The lead changed three times during the third quarter as the two teams were tied 30-30 going into the fourth quarter.
Ozark began the final quarter by making a 2-point basket and 3-pointer and never trailed again.
Heber Springs finished the season at 17-9. The 17 wins were the most by the Lady Panthers since going 19-5 during the 2013-14 season.
“It has been a while since we finished above .500,” Riddle said. “We will be losing five seniors, who played well all year. We also got good fan support. This was an easy group of players to coach. I wish the seniors all of the best and they will be successful during their lifetimes.”
FEBRUARY 19 BOXSCORE 4A-4 District Tournament at Dardanelle Ozark 5 14 11 12 - 42 Heber Springs 11 9 10 9 - 39 OZARK SCORING (42): Carter Crane 11, Briley Burns 10, Summer Joy 7, Autumn Joy 5, Kelsee Barnett 5, Mary-Grace Ree 4. HEBER SPRINGS SCORING (39): Libby Stutts 14, Jillian Herring 10, Ashley Spanel 7, Ellie Riddle 6, Claudia Newberry 2.
HEBER SPRINGS SENIOR GIRLS 2019-2020 SCHEDULE/RESULTS FINAL RECORD: 17-9 FINAL 4A-4 RECORD: 8-4 November 12 - Heber Springs 55, Nemo Vista 31 November 19 - Heber Springs 70, South Side Bee Branch 45 November 21 - Heber Springs 67, Riverview 27 November 26 - Heber Springs 56, Clinton 54 (OT) December 3 - Conway St. Joseph 47, Heber Springs 44 # December 5 - Heber Springs 53, South Side Bee Branch 34 # December 7 - Heber Springs 44, Wonderview 43 # December 10 - Heber Springs 59, Dover 56 ^ December 13 - Marshall 70, Heber Springs 52 December 16 - Heber Springs 51, White County Central 31 December 20 - Heber Springs 55, Ozark 42 ^ December 26 - Heber Springs 70, DeWitt 34 * December 27 - Pea Ridge 49, Heber Springs 44 * December 28 - Mayflower 58, Heber Springs 37 * January 7 - Pottsville 49, Heber Springs 45 ^ January 9 - Heber Springs 70, Newport 51 January 14 - Heber Springs 47, Dardanelle 29 ^ January 17 - Clarksville 48, Heber Springs 41 ^ January 21 - Morrilton 52, Heber Springs 32 ^ January 24 - Heber Springs 59, Dover 53 ^ January 28 - Heber Springs 74, Pottsville 64 ^ January 31 - Heber Springs 43, Ozark 39 ^ February 4 - Heber Springs 52, Dardanelle 25 ^ February 11 - Morrilton 50, Heber Springs 45 ^ February 14 - Heber Springs 36, Clarksville 30 ^ February 19 - Ozark 42, Heber Springs 39 $ (# - Denotes Conway St. Joseph Tournament) (^ - Denotes 4A-4 conference contest) (* - Denotes Steve Landers' Cowboy Chevrolet Holiday Tournament at Heber Springs) ($ - Denotes 4A-4 District Tournament at Dardanelle)