By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
Heber Springs provided the right responses against Clarksville during the final minute of Tuesday’s 4-4A Conference basketball game at the Panther Den.
Senior Ellie Riddle scored on a length of the court drive to regain the lead and Jaylea Hooten blocked an attempted 3-pointer by Clarksville’s Shelby Ross as the Lady Panthers celebrated senior night with a 59-55 win.
Ross, who made four 3-pointers during the fourth quarter, connected from behind the circle left wing and gave Clarksville a 55-54 lead with 1:45 left in the game.
Riddle intercepted a pass at the top of the free-throw line, dribbled the length of the court and made a lay-up with 1:05 to play.
Sophie Stone retrieved Hooten’s blocked shot, drew a foul and made two free throws for a 58-55 lead with 39 seconds remaining.
Clarksville called timeout with 13.9 seconds. Ross attempted a 3-pointer, but Hooten jumped and blocked the shot. Kylie Carr retrieved the ball and drew a foul. Carr hit 1-of-2 free throws with nine seconds to go.
“Clarksville got hot at the end of the game and made shots,” Heber Springs coach Jamey Riddle said. “We responded every time. We would not have did that two weeks ago. This team is continuing to grow and improve.”
Ellie Riddle led all scorers by scoring 18 points for the Lady Panthers. Sophie Stone, who made two 3-pointers, contributed 16 points. Hailey Bresnahan had 11 points, and Hooten contributed 10 points.
“We fell behind by one point late in the game, but Ellie was able to score quickly to get it back,” Jamey Riddle said. “Sophie made big free throws down the stretch. Our defensive intensity was good. We have been waiting on Hailey to get going, and she did in the second half. It was good to see her play well. Sophie, Ellie and Jaylea also played well.”
Autumn Miller scored 15 points for Clarksville. Ross finished with 14 points, while Marcy Domerese, who made four 3-pointers, had 12 points. Abby Domerese added 11 points.
Heber Springs held the lead early during the first quarter. Clarksville gained the advantage by the midway point of the quarter, but it could never pull away. The Lady Panthers trailed 17-13 going into the second quarter.
A 10-0 scoring run ignited Heber Springs to a 23-17 lead. Clarksville controlled the next few minutes and tied the game twice at 25-25 and 27-27.
Riddle scored on a short jumper and Stone’s two free throws gave the Lady Panthers a 31-27 lead at halftime.
Heber Springs maintained control throughout the third quarter by outscoring Clarksville 14-7. The Lady Panthers built the lead to 45-34 going into the fourth quarter.
Riddle said the win came at the right time. Heber Springs moved into position to challenge for a spot among the conference leaders. The Lady Panthers (2-2 in conference, 8-8 overall) will finish the first half of the conference schedule at Pottsville on Friday.
“We hope this win helps us to build momentum for the Pottsville game,” he said. “That is the next step to climb in the standings. We are looking for continued improvement. It will be a big game, and we hope to play well again. Friday’s game will be just as important as this game.”
Clarksville 17 10 7 21–55
Heber Springs 13 18 14 14–59
Clarksville scorers — Autumn Miller 15, Shelby Ross 14, Marcy Domerese 12, Abby Domerese 11, Raquel Webb 2, Hannah Melton 1.
Heber Springs scorers — Ellie Riddle 18, Sophie Stone 16, Hailey Bresnahan 11, Jaylea Hooten 10, Hope Turney 3, Kylie Carr 1.