Highlanders make early lead hold up vs. Tigers

Friday, December 19, 2014

GREEN FOREST -- The Eureka Springs Highlanders grabbed the momentum early in Saturday's game against the Green Forest Tigers, and they never let it go.

Trevor Lemme scored 26 points and Eureka Springs defeated Green Forest 65-61 in the fifth-place game of the Green Forest Holiday Tournament at the Fred Grim Gym.

Eureka Springs jumped out to a 24-12 lead at the end of the first quarter and never trailed.

"We played those first four minutes like my junior high team would," Green Forest Coach Brandon Stone said. "It put us in a serious hole, and we just never could dig out of it."

Still, the Tigers didn't go down easily. Brandon Hogan scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half as Green Forest fought to the final buzzer.

"Once one of our guys gets hot, it can bring some energy to the rest of the team and that's what happened Saturday," Stone said.

Hogan scored 10 points in the third quarter, but Eureka Springs still held a 53-44 lead. Hogan added another 10 points in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers never were able to make a serious run at the Highlanders.

Eureka Springs (10-6) clinched the victory by making its free throws down the stretch.

"We were eight of nine from the free throw line in the fourth quarter," Highlanders Coach Brian Rambo said. "That is what wins you games."

Stone said he is proud of the way his team performed despite the loss.

"In the second half, we played a lot better on defense, but offensively we should have started faster," Stone said.

Reggie Sanchez had 17 points and Mathew McClung added 10 for Eureka Springs.

Gavin Nelson had nine points and Caleb Lucas scored seven for Green Forest (2-9).

Eureka Springs will play Magazine at home Tuesday night. Tipoff will be at 4 p.m.

Green Forest will host Cotter on Friday. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.

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