By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
It’s back to the grind of the 4-4A Conference basketball schedule for the Heber Springs Panthers. Heber Springs lost at Sheridan in the first game since Christmas and dropped a 67-43 decision to Rose Bud at the Panther Den on Saturday.
The Panthers (0-2 in conference, 1-12 overall) were scheduled to resume conference play at Morrilton on Tuesday.
Conner Riddle and Ryan Crocker scored 38 of the 43 points for Heber Springs. Riddle scored a game-high 24 points, followed by Crocker with 14 points. Rece Hipp led Rose Bud with 23 points and Jace Goodwin had 10 points.
“It was good to get back in the gym,” Heber Springs coach Dusty West said. “A team can learn and improve more playing games than just practicing. We dug ourselves a big hole early in the game, trailing by 17 points at one point in the first half before reducing it to eight points by halftime. We came back for the second half and didn’t play with a lot of energy.”
Rose Bud scored 12 unanswered points to start the game. Riddle put the Panthers on the scoreboard with less than four minutes left in the first quarter by making two free throws. Heber Springs played almost even during the next three minutes with the Ramblers. Rose Bud outscored the Panthers 9-7 and took a 21-9 lead into the second quarter. The Ramblers increased their margin to 17 points before Crocker’s 3-pointer started a Heber Springs scoring run. The Panthers pulled to within five points at 24-19, but the Ramblers survived the charge and increased the lead to 34-26 by halftime. Rose Bud went on an 18-9 scoring run during the third quarter for a 52-33 lead going in the final quarter.
“We had moments when we played well and moments we didn’t play as well,” West said. “We just need to focus on the next two games, which are against conference opponents. The players are still working hard and giving good effort. We need to find a way to get over the hump.”
Rose Bud 21 13 18 15–67
Heber Springs 9 17 7 10–43
Rose Bud scorers — Rece Hipp 23, Jace Goodwin 10, Jared Wray 9, Gavin Vaughn 7, Avery Orman 7, Matthew Waggoner 5, Dalton Gorham 4, Caden Heck 2.
Heber Springs scorers — Conner Riddle 24, Ryan Crocker 14, Gus Hannah 4 Wyatt Winchester 1.