Bobcat, Highlander match-up a real Thanksgiving crowd-pleaser
The Highlander gym was packed, the action was intense and rough, but sportsmanlike, so it had to be the annual Highlander-Bobcat rivalry, a highlight of every basketball season.
Tuesday night saw the four senior high teams battle it out, with the Eureka senior boys, ranked 7th in Class AA, using a 19-0 run in the third quarter to take a 64-45 victory. The Bobcat senior girls (1-1) used brutal, bumping defense to smother the Lady Highlanders and take a 39-28 win in their game.
A JV boys' game was close all the way, with Berryville earning a 40-32 win in two halves.
Eureka Springs vs. Berryville
11-17, 26-28, 45-30, 64-45
The matchups between players were awesome in this one, with every athlete refusing to budge an inch during very physical play that was still sportsmanlike.
Eureka (7-1) used its size to go up 5-4 at the start, but Bobcat senior guard Heath Neal came off the bench and hit three 3-pointers in a row to put Berryville (1-1) up 8-15.
Eureka's Waylon Wolfinbarger hit a deuce at the first quarter buzzer to cut Berryville's lead to six, then fouls began to hurt Berryville in the second quarter.
Before halftime, starting guards T.R. Jamar and Drew Ray both went to the bench with three fouls, earned while guarding Eureka's Stephen Pendergraft, Chris Williams, and Paul Sebby full court.
Neal fired in another three at 5:23 of the second quarter, then was shut out the rest of the game by a hustling Highlander defense.
Eureka coach Josh Hill explained what his team needed to do during halftime, and the Highlanders went inside with 6-6 Cash Covington and Victory Smith to start the third quarter.
With Berryville's Cory Smith, Andy Kriesel, and Taylor Deweese fighting a losing battle inside, Eureka began to edge away. When Covington stole a ball in the open court and drove for a light dunk and a 36-28 lead, Bobcat coach Tracy Jones had to call timeout.
It didn't help, as Berryville got just one basket in the third quarter, a two by Smith with six seconds to go. The 19-2 run behind solid defense put Eureka up by 15, 45-30, to start the fourth quarter.
Covington, who scored 28 points and made 11 of 15 free throws, 6 of 6 in the fourth, took over underneath, scoring inside baskets and dominating defensive rebounds.
A frustrated Coach Jones earned a technical with 5:56 to play in the game, and Covington hit the free throws, then scored on an isolation inbounds play to earn four quick points.
Ray and Andy Kriesel fouled out before the end, and the Highlanders made 20 of 28 free throws to clinch a 64-45 victory.
Scoring- ES- Covington- 28, 11/15 Fts; Pendergraft- 11, 4/6 Fts; Smith- 8; Williams- 6; Wolfinbarger- 5; Sebby- 4; Seymour- 2. Team- 20/28 Fts., 11 fouls. BV- Neal- 12, 4 3's; Smith- 11, 6R; A.Kriesel- 8, 10R; Jamar- 4, 4R, 4A; Deweese- 4; Ray- 2, 4A, 4R, 5S; Josh Kriesel- 2; Joey Curtis- 2. Team- 1/5 Fts., 22 fouls, 19 turnovers.
6-10, 16-18, 20-26, 28-39
Berryville's 6-1 post, Emily Bell, was the difference in a hard-fought, well-played game. Bell scored 12 points inside at crucial times, helping preserve the Lady Bobcats' lead, including swishing a three in the fourth to finish with 15 points, leading all scorers.
Berryville used a physical man-to-man defense to bump the Lady Highlanders out of position and smother them on offense with constant pressure, but in the second quarter Eureka's Becca Wallis and Jessica Parsons found a way to score.
Parsons hit a three with 2:43 to go until halftime, then Wallis got a layup on a fast break, and came back to make a runner at the buzzer to cut Berryville's lead to two, 16-18.
Lady Bobcat Danyaile Hagler hit a long two to start the second half, and Bell got going inside. Mahalie Armstrong battled for rebounds and played solid defense, and Eureka could never catch up. Berryville finished with 31 rebounds and just 10 turnovers.
Scoring- ES- Wallis- 12, 1 3's, 3/4 Fts; Jessica Smith- 5; 3's- Parsons, Mandy Moore; 2's- Jordan Lauer, Laura McBeth; Hannah Cole- 1. Team- 6/11 Fts. BV- Bell- 15, 1 3's; Hagler- 8; 4's- Cantele, Stidham; Williams- 3 2's- Armstrong, Allen; Hicks- 1. Team 4/10 Fts.
JV BOYS GAME
The teams played two halves, with Berryville winning 40-32.
Scoring- ES- Issac Pirkle- 12; John Kniess- 10; Tim Anderson- 5; Casey McKinney- 3; Junior Mullins- 2. BV- 11's- Brock Smith, Corey Crochet; Brent Moore- 7; 4's- Jon Marley, Taylor Deweese; Joseph Eby- 2; Tyler Ashworth- 1.