Highlanders finish where they started
MOUNTAINBURG -- Eureka Springs finished the season right where they started -- with an even record.
The Highlanders wrapped up the 2012-13 campaign 15-15 overall and 8-8 in 1-2A Conference after a 56-44 loss to Hackett in the second round of the 1-2A District Tournament at Mountainburg on Tuesday.
After grabbing an early lead, Eureka Springs encountered could trouble in the paint on Josh Premeau and Tanner Allee, allowing the Hornets easy inside access.
"That led to players playing out of position defensively and a lack of size," Eureka Springs coach Nolan Helder said. "That allowed too many easy baskets and offensive rebounds for the Hornets."
Premeau finished his senior season with 20 points to lead Eureka Springs in scoring while Jake McClung and Trevor Lemme had seven apiece, Allee finished with six and Dalton Johnson chipped in three after a 17-point outing against Hartford in the opening round. Lemme was also well below his total of 15 points against Hartford.
"After seeing them shoot so well the night before, Hackett concentrated on taking away the three point shots for Dalton and Trevor," Helder said. "This opened up the paint for us for drives and post ups. But we were not able to take advantage inside."
The Highlanders struggled to score on Tuesday with Premeau and Allee on the bench and shots not falling from the perimeter as Eureka Springs managed only two 3-pointers.
Eureka attempted a second-half comeback but couldn't completely close the gap.
"Despite the poor shooting and foul trouble and resulting lack of chemistry and turnovers, we won the second half with the great effort and never-give-up attitude," Helder said. "But were never able to overcome the hole we dug ourselves in the second quarter where they were outscored 16-5."
And despite the loss, Helder was pleased with the effort of the Highlanders.
"We played extremely hard and never gave up, so they and their fans should be proud of them for this game and a great season," he said. "This was the last game of their careers for seniors Tanner Allee, Andrew Ritter, and Josh Premeau. These seniors have worked extremely hard and set a great example and legacy for those behind them to follow."
Helder said the team will take a short break before beginning preparations for next year.
"We will take a couple weeks off to relax and recover," he said. "Then we begin offseason workouts to improve for next season."