Highlanders to be challenged at Lavaca Tournament
The Eureka Springs Highlander boys basketball team will face a tough challenge this week, as the Highlanders are set to take part in the Golden Arrow Classic in Lavaca.
"Every team in that tournament is a high-quality team," Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo said. "There are no easy games, that's for sure. It will be tough. We will see three quality opponents. We are expecting to have a dogfight every night."
Eureka Springs will play Lavaca in the first round on Tuesday. The Golden Arrows are in the same district as Eureka Springs, so the two teams could meet again later in the season.
"They return just about everybody from last year and I have seen them twice on film and they are pretty good," Rambo said. "We lost to Magazine on a Tuesday and they turned around and beat them on Friday, so if you are comparing scores they are probably a little bit better. They are big, athletic and can really shoot it. A tough gritty, basketball team."
When Rambo was approached about joining this tournament last year, he said the Highlanders would join as long as they got a chance to play Lavaca.
"I wanted to make sure we play them, that way we could see them and know a little bit about them if we happen to play them again in the postseason," Rambo said.
The Highlanders will play either Providence Academy or Paris in the second round. Rambo said that will be another difficult matchup.
"Providence Academy has an outstanding program," Rambo said. "It's the same way with Paris. Just bigger schools with bigger athletes. Either team in that game is going to be another test for us. It is going to be high-quality basketball. We are going to have to get geared up, play with our shoes tight and get after them."
Pea Ridge, Magazine, Lamar and County Line are the other four schools in the tournament. County Line is a Class 1A school, but Rambo said they will be tough to beat.
"They are either 11-0 or 12-0 right now," Rambo said. "Year after year they are a top four team in the state in their classification. They probably have a chance to win the tournament."
Rambo isn't concerned with Eureka Springs winning all three games this week as long as he sees improvement.
"Win or lose, I think we are going to come out of this tournament much better," Rambo said. "That's what it's all about is going down there and playing quality basketball teams. Getting battle-tested. That way once we get to teams like Kingston, Omaha and Alpena in our league, we should be fine."
Most importantly, Rambo said the Highlanders should be fully healthy heading into the Golden Arrow Classic.
"As far as I know Kayden (Eckman) was supposed to be released from the doctor over Thanksgiving break," Rambo said. "And then Garrett (Cross) was about 90 percent against Berryville, so I think the break did him some good. We should have all the bullets in the chamber so to speak. Now we just have to go out and play well."
Tipoff against Lavaca is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.