By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
The Heber Springs Lady Panthers lost two non-conference basketball games after the Christmas break, but worked to shake off the rest before resuming the 4-4A Conference schedule.
After a loss at Sheridan, Heber Springs (0-1 in conference, 7-7 overall) dropped a 47-43 decision to Rose Bud at the Panther Den before Tuesday’s scheduled conference game at defending conference championship Morrilton.
“The big thing was to knock the rust away,” Heber Springs coach Jamey Riddle said. “We have a quick turnaround with a conference game on Tuesday. We played competitive at Sheridan, but as a young team, we need to find a way to get more rebounds, limit turnovers and make a few shots. We didn’t do that at Sheridan. We got good shots against Rose Bud, but we didn’t make many of them.”
Kyndal Rooks and Kelsie Taylor scored 32 of Rose Bud’s 47 points. Rooks led the Lady Ramblers with 21 points, while Taylor had 11 points.
Jaylea Hooten scored 15 points for the Lady Panthers, while Ellie Riddle contributed 10 points.
The two teams were tied at 9-9 after the first quarter. Rose Bud assumed control midway through the second quarter and finished with a 7-1 scoring run and led 22-16 at halftime.
The Lady Panthers pulled to within three points during the third quarter before momentum shifted again. Rose Bud regained the 6-point lead, but Heber Springs rallied and pulled to within 34-30 going into the fourth quarter.
Rose Bud increased its lead to eight points, but the Lady Panthers didn’t go away easily.
Heber Springs went on a 10-4 scoring run, reducing the lead to four points, but never closer for the remainder of the game.
Riddle said the team is ready to resume conference play and begin the push for the postseason.
“We hope to play a good game at Morrilton,” he said. “We battled back in the Rose Bud game and that is a good sign. As long as we keep battling, that lets me know they want to win. We will keep working and see what we can do.”
The Lady Devil Dogs are a talented team and ranked among one of the top teams in Class 4A. Riddle said his team is prepared for the challenge.
“Morrilton won the conference last year and returns most of those players,” he said. “We must play well, rebound and play smart.”
Rose Bud 9 13 12 13–47
Heber Springs 9 7 14 13–43
Rose Bud scorers — Kyndal Rooks 21, Kelsie Taylor 11, Foster 5, Emily Norris 4, Tharp 2, Calhoun 2, Smith 2.
Heber Springs scorers — Jaylea Hooten 15, Ellie Riddle 10, Madison Clemons 7, Kylie Carr 5, Hope Turney 4, Olivia Norton 2.