Highlanders bounce back, dominate two opponents

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Eureka Springs Highlanders were in a bad mood after Friday night's home loss to Omaha. The Highlanders played games on Monday and Tuesday and outscored their two opponents by 69 points.

"We are starting to click again a little bit," Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo said. "I thought we played really well after that first quarter in the Omaha game. We kind of ran out of gas against them, but ever since that first quarter of the Omaha game, we have been hitting on all cylinders. It's been a fun ride."

Eureka Springs 59, Lead Hill 26

The Highlanders put things away early in Monday's game against the Tigers, as Eureka Springs led 20-6 at the end of the first quarter in Lead Hill. Carter Drennon and Garrett Cross each scored eight points in the quarter.

"We came out and jumped on them early," Rambo said. "Defensively, we are playing really well. We came out and rebounded the basketball. We played with some intensity, finally. We shot the ball pretty good."

Eureka Springs led 27-14 at halftime and extended its lead to 48-21 going into the fourth quarter. Cross had 23 points through three quarters and finished with 26. He made five three pointers for the game.

"He kind of got out of his slump," Rambo said. "When he is shooting the ball well and when we are guarding, we look pretty special. It was a good night."

To go along with Cross' 26 points, Drennon had 12 and Slade Clark had seven.

Rambo believes that Friday's loss to Omaha was a wakeup call to his team.

"We aren't used to getting beat at home and we came out locked in ready to play," Rambo said. "Our seniors understand the importance of every game and improving game by game. I think they took it on themselves to come out and play well. And they did."

Eureka Springs 53, Life Way Christian 16

Even after the easy win on Monday, Rambo wasn't looking forward to playing Tuesday's home game against Life Way Christian, as it was the second game the Highlanders had to play in 24 hours. It didn't seem to matter much, though.

"I hate those back-to-backs," Rambo said. "The NBA is trying to get away from that because it wears on your body. You worry as a coach when you have to turn around and do it again. I was very concerned going into last night's game. I challenged my kids to come out strong in the first quarter and we sure did. We only gave up two points in the first quarter and just imposed our will on not a bad Life Way Christian School."

Cross kept his sharp shooting going for a second night in a row, as he scored eight points in the first quarter and Eureka Springs took a 13-2 lead into the second quarter. Drennon and Cross combined for all 20 of Eureka Springs' points in the second quarter and the Highlanders took a 33-8 lead into halftime. Rambo was glad to see his team come out and play hard for a second night.

"It shows the true character of our basketball team as far as the way we are going to take pride in doing things the right way and being gritty," Rambo said. "It's tough. You talk about doing those things, but talk is cheap."

Cross finished the game with 21 points and Drennon had 20. On Friday, Eureka Springs (9-5) hosts Kingston for homecoming.

"Obviously we want to play well for homecoming, but most importantly it's a conference game for us," Rambo said. "We are on a little winning streak right here and we have a chance to get a win Friday and win Tuesday to get a four-game winning streak heading into Christmas break so it's a big night for us."

Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

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