Young Highlanders step up in victory

Friday, December 18, 2015

Most times you want your younger players to get game experience when the game is out of hand. In Tuesday night's 69-61 win over Magazine, the Eureka Springs Highlanders were forced to play some of those younger players earlier than expected.

With J.M. Gregg missing the game because of semester testing, sophomore Austin Kimbrell had to step up in his place, and after Jacob Holloway got two fouls in the first quarter, sophomore Linzy Wolfinbarger had to play a majority of the first half.

"Anytime you can put those sophomores in there on the road in a hostile environment, and they can play big minutes, it bodes well for the future," Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo said. "In a perfect world you have five or six guys to depend on, but foul trouble and injuries occur and so anytime those guys can gain some experience like that, it is good for our team. I was proud of our guys."

Three-pointers by Dalton Kesner and Mathew McClung got the Highlanders out to a 16-14 first-quarter lead and eight second-quarter points by Reggie Sanchez gave the Highlanders a 34-23 lead.

"We didn't play as clean as I would've liked, but anytime you go on the road in conference, you expect a battle," Rambo said.

Eight points by Holloway in the third quarter extended the lead to as much as 16, but the Highlanders never were able to put the Rattlesnakes away.

"We got up by as much as 16, but kind of got careless with the basketball," Rambo said. "We did some things that are uncharacteristic of our basketball team. We turned the ball over a few times and allowed them to stay in the game."

Sanchez had 29 points in the victory while Kesner had 12 and Holloway had 10. The Highlanders close out the semester with a home game against Hackett on Friday. Rambo said it's important to go into winter break with a win.

"We want to hold serve at home," Rambo said. "If we can head into the break 16-4 and 3-0 (in the 2A-4 West) that sends a big message to our conference opponents."

Junior high action starts at 5 p.m.

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