Panthers drop conference opener

Heber Springs junior Gavin Vaughn looks to get past Subiaco Academy’s Ivan Martijin in 4-4A conference action at the Panther Den. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

HEBER SPRINGS – Heber Springs led throughout most of its 4-4A opener with Subiaco Academy, but that was not enough as the Trojans downed the Panthers, 43-40, Friday night at the Panther Den.

Neither team came out sharp as Heber Springs’ Ryan Crocker hit a short jumper with 3:04 to play in the opener quarter for the game’s first field goal. Crocker would hit another jumper right before the end of the quarter to make it 5-3 contest in favor of the Panthers.

A pair of Parker Brown baskets and Gavin Vaughn 3-pointers made it 15-7 for Heber Springs with 3:33 to play before the half.

The two teams traded 3-pointers (Crocker for Heber Springs and Ivan Martijin for Subiaco) over the next two minutes, before a basket by Subiaco Academy’s Jonathan Mecera made it a 18-12 contest at the half.

Heber Springs would again enjoy an 8-point advantage, it’s largest of the night, after Vaughn hit another 3-points and a pair of free throws to make it 25-17 with 2:04 left in the third quarter.

From there, the Panthers struggled to knock down a shot as a J.T. Spears’ basket at the 6:28 mark of the final quarter would be the only field goal Heber Springs would have until a Vaughn steal and lay-up with 3:37 left made it 36-33.

Vaughn’s points capped a 5-0 run after the Trojans garnered their first lead of the night at 33-31 on Mecera basket with 4:27 to play.

The game would be tight throughout the final three minutes with ties and three lead changes.

Brown’s basket with just over minute to play would tie the game up at 39-all before Martijin hit a field goal with 31 seconds left to give Subiaco a 41-39 lead.

Heber Springs worked the clock down to 10 seconds before Vaughn drew a foul. The junior hit one-of-two to make a 1-point game at 41-40.

After a quick foul and pair of made throws by the Trojans, both teams would turn the ball over the next eight seconds. The Panthers would get one final attempt to send the game into overtime with 1.9 seconds left, but the shot would be short.

Subiaco Academy improved to 5-3 overall and 2-0 in the 4-4A, while Heber Springs fell to 4-4 overall an 0-1 in conference.

Vaughn finished with 17 points for the Panthers while Crocker had 12.

HEBER SPRINGS SCORING (40): Gavin Vaughn 17, Ryan Crocker 12, J.T. Spears 3, Parker Brown 8

SUBIACO ACADEMY SCORING (43): Jonathan Mercera 17, Ivan Martijin 12, Jaeden Nievald 1, Justin Luidens 3, Hasten King 8, Emre Gurel 2.

(Click on a game for previous details)
(Record: 4-4, 4-4A Conference: 0-1)
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   Benton Harmony Grove 31, Heber Springs 29
Dec. 10   Subiaco Academy 43, Heber Springs 40 *
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)