Eureka Springs leak against Union Christian

Friday, February 21, 2014
Jake McClung glides through the paint to score against Union Christian. (Chan Davis / Carroll County News)

EUREKA SPRINGS -- Eureka Springs fought hard to win the bid for this week's 2-4A West Conference Tournament and next week's 2A-West Regional Tournament with hopes a making a deep run in both.

After Thursday night's 73-62 loss to Union Christian Academy in the semifinals of the conference tournament, the Highlanders are now hoping to be around as more than just spectators.

"A win tonight was important and I thought we gave it away," Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo said. "We were at home and we gave it to them. If we don't play better than that we are going to get ran out of our own gym. It's very disheartening."

It was disheartening for Rambo, the Highlanders and the Eureka Springs fan base as they watched the Eagles soar to victory behind Will Callaway's 31 points. Callaway scored 17 points in the first half as the Eagles built a 35-33 lead and maintained the cushion until late in the third period when the Highlanders tied the game at 43 with 3:02 left in the frame.

Union Christian again extended the lead entering the final stanza and Eureka knotted the score at 50 with 5:00 remaining in regulation. But turnovers plagued the Highlanders on their ensuing three possessions.

"We tie it at 50 and, in transition, three straight trips we throw it to no one," Rambo recalled. "It was so uncharacteristic of our team. It just screams urgency and desperation. We have the game tied up and are on a run with the crowd in the game and we give it away."

Ryan Sanchez led Eureka Springs with 21 points, Jake McClung followed with 15, Dalton Kesner added 12 and Reggie Sanchez contributed 11.

"We made enough shots to win," Rambo said. "Ryan shot the ball well in the first half and I thought Dalton Kesner shot the ball well. It's just frustrating when a team plays a zone against you and you have great shooters and you can't make a shot when you need one."

The Highlanders will play Johnson County Westside at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday to decide the third and fourth seed in next week's regional event.

"We are going to play a Westside team that is not nearly as athletic as we are," Rambo said. "But they are going to make shots. If we don't play well we will be the No. 4 seed."

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