Highlanders get necessary rest but unable to handle full court game
The Eureka Springs Highlanders were defeated by Clarendon, 50-35, on Friday night, bringing an end to their successful 2011-12 season.
"I am extremely proud of this group and everything they've accomplished this season," head coach Nolan Helder said.
The game plan was relatively simple -- slow down the tempo of the game.
"We really did a good job at that in the first two quarters, but they came out in the second half and we just had a difficult time handling their press," Helder added.
The Highlanders jumped out to a 15-6 lead at the conclusion of the opening quarter, and led by six at halftime, but the full court game prevented the team from playing their style of basketball.
"We knew that if we could slow the game down we would be able to win," Helder said. "Their athleticism really took over the second half. We started to turn the ball over which led to points for them."
The Lions were able to take control of the game by pushing the ball and playing well in transition.
"They definitely turned up the pressure in the third quarter," Helder said.
The Lions took a five-point lead into the fourth, and only allowed three points to the Highlanders, as Roy McGehee was the lone scorer.
"We made it to the Elite 8, and for that I am extremely proud," Helder said. "Many schools are used to winning in the state tournament, so for us to win our first state game over Riverside is huge. We'll continue the winning tradition."
Senior Nick Bower led the team in points, as he finished the game with 20.
"He had a great game and a great career," Helder said.
Roy McGehee -- 12; Briar Sebby -- 3.
Looking to next season, Helder said he is happy with the returning players, even though he is losing four seniors.
"This team should be proud of themselves," Helder added. "We won a state tournament game for the first time in school history. Hopefully, we're creating a winning tradition here."
The fourth-year coach for the Highlanders commented on the team's ability to pick up where this team left off.
We may be losing three senior starters, but juniors Roy McGehee and Josh Premeau will do a real nice job stepping in as the leaders of this team," he said.
The Highlanders finished the 2011-12 season with a record of 28-11.
"It was a really good season for us," Helder said.