Eureka goes out with heads held high
Thursday evening was a sour end to a sweet season for the Eureka Springs Highlanders. Jacksonville Lighthouse defeated the Highlanders, 72-38.
"We knew we had our work cut out for us," Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo said. "Our concern was being able to guard the basketball. We thought our best game plan was to make them shoot the basketball and make shots. If they do, they beat us. If they don't then we hang around and make it a game. They made a tremendous amount of shots, in the first quarter and a half especially."
The Wolves made four three-pointers in the first quarter alone. Freshman Gerald Doakes made three of those shots as Jacksonville Lighthouse led 23-6 at the end of the first quarter.
"Our kids are disappointed, but I thought we handled their press well and did some other things well," Rambo said. "We just can't match their athleticism."
Jacksonville Lighthouse extended its halftime lead to 43-18. Carter Drennon and J.M. Gregg each had six points in the first half. Despite leading 64-30 going into the third quarter, the Wolves continued their full court press throughout the rest of the game.
"I thought that Garrett (Cross) handled the pressure really well," Rambo said. "I thought our younger guys handled that adversity extremely well. They kept battling until the end. There is no give-up in our guys. That speaks volumes about these guys. It's so easy to quit and say the game is over, but that says a lot about their character and the way they were raised."
Rambo won't let the final game of the year define how the Highlanders did throughout the season.
"We grew as a team this year," Rambo said. "Since Christmas, we have gotten so much better as a team. We don't want to look back on our season and remember this. We want to remember the growth and focus on that. We want to remember that we were 9-7 at one point and went on a 12-game run that was unbelievable. That's what our program is about, especially this year. The growth, getting 1 percent better every day."
Gregg ended the game with 15 points and Cross had nine. Eureka Springs finished the year 22-10.