Eureka girls advance to finals, No. 1 Hornets sting Highlanders

Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Lady Highlander coach Aaron Hall tried to console his team after a tough 37-33 loss to Class 2A's No. 5 Lady Rebels in the championship game of the 4-2A District Tournament on Saturday. The Eureka girls will have another chance this Thursday when they play in the Class 2A West Regional at Danville. They will face Western Yell County at 7 p.m. The Eureka boys play Hector at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Danville. David McNeal / Carroll County News

HARTMAN -- Seeding for the 4-2A District tournament didn't hold up in one regard Thursday night when the No. 3 seed Eureka Springs Lady Highlanders defeated the No. 2 seed Hartford girls 48-40 to advance to the championship game on Saturday night.

It was right on for the senior boys matchup between No. 1 Hackett and No. 4 Eureka (19-14) as the Hornets rolled to a 44-25 win.

Both Eureka teams will advance to the 2A West Regional at Danville this week, with the boys the No. 4 seed and the girls the No. 2 seed.

Senior High Girls

Vs. Hartford

13-4, 22-21, 32-26, 48-40

Eureka (19-14) came out fast, racing to a 13-4 edge as a box-and-one defense on Hartford's ace, Megan Phelps, slowed the Lady Beavers.

"We used a box-and-one last night and won, so I thought what the heck, let's try it again," Coach Aaron Hall said. "Phelps scored 35 the last time we played and made all her free throws.

"Shayla Vercruysse started guarding her, then I sent Jane Soriano in and she stuck to Phelps like glue. Jane did a great job. They didn't have any threes."

Hall noted that the team didn't shoot great on free throws, 18 of 32, but hit 10 of 15 in the fourth quarter.

"We missed a lot of free throws, but at least we were aggressive and attacked them and got fouls. Shelby Sebby took it to the hole all night. The girls deserved to win," Hall said.

Scoring- ES- Sebby- 15, 7/14 Fts; Miranda Smith- 14, 4/6 Fts; 6's- Soriano, Kelly Clarke; Megan Handley- 4; Mariah Sanchez- 2; Tanisha Morrell- 1. Team- 18/32 Fts. HF- Phelps- 18, 6/6 Fts.

Senior High Boys

Vs. Hackett

1-8, 3-20, 10-32, 25-44

If you can't roughhouse with the big boys, keep the ball and don't let them have it.

Coach Nolan Helder thought playing keepaway from the No. 1 Hornets might give his Highlanders a better chance to stay with Thursday's state-ranked opponent and it worked, sort of.

Eureka scored just three points the first half as they held the ball, but Hackett scored 8 points off 6 possessions and went on to a 17-point lead at halftime.

"We did not have a good game, but it was closer than any time we've played them," Helder said. "We tried to slow it down and got good looks early, did good on defense early.

"The first quarter we made their lesser players take the shots, but they got the lead and we couldn't hold the ball."

Coach said it was a rough game, with Taylor Williams on the bench by the second quarter with three fouls.

"Taylor had three fouls and we're playing zone," Helder noted. "Hackett plays good defense, stripped us of the ball. They're a good team."

Scoring- ES- Jacob Worley- 9; Tyler McBride- 4; 3's- Jimmy Hansen, Nick Bower; 2's- Michael Beard, Dustin Morrell; 1's- Eric King, Briar Sebby. HC- Branham- 17.

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