Eureka puts up a fight, loses early in state tournament
MARMADUKE -- Eureka Springs fought hard all game long but couldn't overcome the athleticism of Junction City as the Highlanders fell 55-44 in the opening round of the 2A state tournament on Wednesday night.
The Dragons jumped out an early 4-0 lead as Tyrus Grayson scored back to back inside baskets to make it 4-0.
Dylan Harbour and Reggie Sanchez hit back to back three-pointers for the Highlanders to take a 6-4 lead. Grayson hit a baseline jumper for Junction City to tie the game at 6 with 2:25 left in the quarter. Junction City's Jerrodney Tubbs converted an old-school three-point play and Terrell Gibson scored inside for the Dragons to take an 11-6 lead. Grayson got inside for a Dragon basket before Dalton Kesner drilled a three-pointer for Eureka Springs to make it 13-9 at the end of one.
Grayson and Tubbs opened the second quarter with back to back buckets to give Junction City a 17-9 lead before Jacob Holloway scored inside for the Highlanders. Jakobe Fisher made a three-pointer for the Dragons before Eureka Springs scored the next eight points as Sanchez made a three-pointer, Mathew McClung scored down low and Sanchez made another three-pointer to make the score 20-19 Junction City with 1:34 left before halftime. Grayson made a three-pointer from the left wing and Tubbs rebounded his own miss and scored as the Dragons took a 25-19 lead at the half.
Sanchez scored three consecutive baskets for Eureka Springs early in the third quarter to tie the game at 25. The Dragons got one of two free throws from Grayson and back to back baskets from Gibson Hishmma Taylor to take a 30-25 lead. J.M. Gregg scored inside for the Highlanders to make it 30-27 only to see Taylor get a stickback basket and Gibson hit one of two free throws to make the score 33-27 Junction City with 4:06 left in the third quarter. Gregg scored from the paint for Eureka Springs before the Dragons' Tubbs scored off an offensive rebound and Keelen Ford connected on a three-point shot to make it 38-29 Junction City.
Junction City went on to lead 44-33 after three quarters of play.
Taylor scored off the fast break for Junction City to start the fourth quarter scoring before Sanchez converted a conventional three-point play and followed with a jumper to make the score 46-38 Junction City. Grayson gave the Dragons a 51-39 lead with back-to-back scores down low with 3:18 left in the game. Sanchez hit one of two free throws for Eureka Springs, Grayson made a jumper for Junction City and McClung scored inside for the Highlanders to make the score 53-42 Dragons. Sanchez got inside for a Highlanders' basket before Grayson hit one of two free throws for Junction City setting the final score at 55-44 Dragons.
"We ran into a team that was very athletic and much bigger than we were," Eureka Springs head coach Brian Rambo said after the game. "We gave up a bunch of junk points tonight and points off rebounds. Every time we made a little run at them they (Junction City) would answer it.
"We did all we could do and just ran into a team with a lot of talent," Rambo said.
Sanchez led all scorers for Eureka Springs with 25 points. Gregg added six points while McClung had five. Harbour and Kesner each added three points as Holloway had two.
Eureka Springs finished the season 30-9.