Highlanders win ugly on homecoming

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

EUREKA SPRINGS -- When a team wins by 15 points and it isn't satisfied with the performance, that is a good sign.

After a 53-38 victory over the St. Paul Saints on homecoming night Friday, that is how the Eureka Springs Highlanders feel.

"We have expectations, and we expected to play extremely well," Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo said. "We played a pretty good first quarter and then after that, I don't know what happened. You have to play four quarters of basketball, but it's like I told my kids, it's better to win ugly than lose looking good."

Eight points by Reggie Sanchez helped the Highlanders get out to an 18-6 lead after the first quarter, but Rambo said the Highlander offense went flat after that.

"Right now, it seems like we are going through stretches where we don't play hard, we don't guard and take things for granted, and they think that is OK because we are talented," Rambo said. "It is frustrating. We are just going to have to go watch the film and get better."

The Highlanders were unable to pull away from St. Paul in the second quarter, as the Saints held Eureka Springs to 10 points in the second quarter. The Highlanders still led, 28-16.

Eight third-quarter points by J.M. Gregg helped extend the Highlander lead to 44-26 and ended any hopes of a St. Paul comeback, but Rambo said the Highlanders aren't satisfied with their performance.

"We aren't celebrating in our locker room," Rambo said. "It's great to be in that situation. For some teams, if they win by one they are ecstatic. So we are at a point where we want to win and look good in the process."

The team selected Sanchez as "Mr. Basketball," an award given to a senior who exemplifies leadership on and off the court. The team chose Sanchez as the winner of this year's award.

"It is because he has worked hard," Rambo said. "He has put a lot of time into working on his game and is a great kid for our program. He is a direct correlation to hard work."

The Highlanders travel to Kingston on Tuesday.

Girls:

St. Paul 41, Eureka Springs 10

The Lady Highlanders got behind early and were never able to recover Friday night. Azziah Brothers made a three-pointer midway through the first quarter, but they found themselves behind 11-3 at the end of the first. Makala Morrell started the second quarter with a three and Azziah Brothers converted a three-point play, but the Lady Highlanders trailed 26-9 at halftime.

"These girls, they play hard no matter what," Eureka Springs coach Adam Brothers said. "They are a family and I am very proud of them."

Azziah Brothers made a free throw in the fourth quarter. The Highlanders voted Brenna Malone as Miss Basketball.

"She played for Coach Rambo when he was the girls coach," Adam Brothers said. "Last year, she had some academic classes that she needed to take, but she came to me last spring and said she wanted to play. I tell you what, she is the leader on the team. She has a good attitude. ... Her heart is in it and she works hard every day."

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