Eureka Springs extends season with win in 1-2A Conference Tournament
MOUNTAINBURG -- Eureka Springs took a step closer to reaching the 2A Regional Tournament with a 65-49 win over Hartford in the first round of the 1-2A District Tournament at Mountainburg on Monday.
Josh Premeau led all scorers with 20 points, Dalton Johnson finished with 17 and Trevor Lemme added a season-high 15 as the Highlanders improved to 16-15 overall.
"Our goal was to get the ball inside to Josh," Eureka Springs coach Nolan Helder said. "We were able to do that because they extended their defense out on Dalton (Johnson)."
While the Hustlers were focused on Johnson around the perimeter, Premeau was lighting it up in the paint, scoring six points in the opening frame and eight more in the second.
"He had 20 points in the first three quarters," Helder said. "We did exactly what we wanted. Josh probably played his best half of the year. He got several rebounds and took a couple of charges and really dominated the paint."
When the ball wasn't in Premeau's hands, Johnson and Lemme were connecting from long range. Johnson finished with four treys while Lemme hit five times from beyond the arc.
"It was one of the best games we have played," Helder said. "Hopefully we can continue that (today). Our defense wasn't great but it was good enough."
The Highlanders continue tournament action against Hackett today at 5:30 p.m. Eureka Springs suffered close losses to Hackett during the regular season. The Highlanders limited Hartford's leading scorer, Garrett Ford, to just nine points on Monday. Helder said the same thing needs to happen in today's outing.
"We can definitely beat them," he said. "They have one of the best players in the conference. I hope to do the same thing to him tonight. If we can limit his points we should have a great chance to win."
The Highlanders are a game over .500, a position Eureka Springs has been in since before the holiday break, a cycle Helder said he would like to see broken.
"We will see if we have grown and can break that cycle," he said.