Highlanders hit low spot in loss

Friday, November 1, 2013
Eureka Springs' Ryan Sanchez scored nine points in a loss to Western Grove on Tuesday. (Trevor Tegley / www.tegleyphotography.com)

WESTERN GROVE -- Eureka Springs suffered its first loss of the season with a 63-47 setback at Western Grove on Tuesday.

The Highlanders (2-1) played well early but fell behind in the second quarter as Western Grove pulled away.

"We went out in the first quarter and did what we were supposed to do," Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo said. "But Western Grove has a team that went to state last year with everybody back. They are well coached and have been playing together for about five years. They are an extremely good team. They are not average or good. They are extremely good."

Eureka Springs led throughout the opening period until the Warriors (3-0) hit a 27-footer with one second left in the frame to take an 18-14 advantage. The Warriors then pulled away in the second quarter, outscoring the Highlanders 20-6, to take a commanding 38-20 lead at the half.

"I felt great during the first quarter," Rambo said. "Then they hit the 27 footer to make it a 4-point game after the first quarter to take the lead. We had not trailed to that point all season. They come out and score the first six points of second quarter and we did not respond."

The Highlanders fell behind 54-29 after three periods and outscored the Warriors 18-9 in the closing frame as Dalton Johnson and Dalton Kesner buried 3-pointers in the late charge. It was the only points of the game for the duo as the Highlanders were limited to just four treys.

"I knew going over there it was going to be a test," Rambo said. "Our first two opponents didn't prepare us for Tuesday night. We had a terrible time adjusting to the pace of play and physicality of the game. We wore down in the second quarter and never got back up."

Jake McClung led Eureka Springs with 16 points while Reggie Sanchez added 13 and Ryan Sanchez finished with nine. But the Warriors confined Eureka's outside threats of Johnson and Kesner along with post player Trevor Lemme to limited looks and points.

"They are similar to us with nobody over 6-1," Rambo said. "They play fast like we do and press like we do. The difference in the game is they have four or five years and we have two games. If we play them again in three months would we beat them? I don't know. But we will be better prepared in three months."

Eureka Springs continues its season at 4 p.m. Friday at home against Oark.

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