Eureka Jr. High showing progress
The Eureka Springs junior high basketball team has started the year 9-3 and coach Brian Rambo is very excited about his team moving forward.
"Very similar to my senior high bunch, they are talented, big and athletic," Rambo said. "It's about experience. A lot of those guys haven't played big minutes early in their junior high careers, so it's about getting in there and figuring stuff out on their own. Potentially, they have a chance to be one of the best groups that we have had here in a very long time."
Rambo said there are a number of players capable of stepping up for Eureka Springs night in and night out.
"Buddy Milawski is playing great," Rambo said. "He is shooting the ball like crazy. Matthew Lester is one of the most all-around players I have ever been around as an eighth-grader. Matthew Bernard is really shooting it well. He has some size. We have some depth with Gustavo Tapia and Jose Rangel. Weston Armor, who moved in from Alpena. We have about eight guys who can really play."
Rambo said the senior high group has been playing basketball together for a long time, but because of transfers, the junior high group hasn't been that same cohesive unit. Therefore, Rambo said it's important that they get in the gym and practice together.
"You can see that this senior high bunch has been playing basketball since third grade," Rambo said. "My ninth-grade group hasn't done that. We got guys move in, move out. Go here, go there. We lack that cohesiveness. They need more court time together."
Rambo believes his team has a chance to win the regular season conference championship this season.
"We beat Omaha, St. Paul and Alpena in a scrimmage," Rambo said. "If we win that title, it would be the first time in like 20 years. We have been runner-up several times, so it would be big for them. I hope they get an opportunity to play for that. That will bode well for the future."
Girls: The Eureka Springs Lady Highlanders junior high team has only won two games so far this season, but coach Adam Brothers likes the effort he sees from his team every night.
"They aren't very experienced, but they give it everything they have," Brothers said. "The girls play hard. I think we will see an improvement in the second half of the season and next year will be a whole lot better for them. As long as they are fighting hard and getting better, that's all that matters."
Brothers is encouraged by what he has seen from Olivia Cross and Bree Walden but he hopes to see the Lady Highlanders improve on breaking the press as the season progresses.
"We have to learn to handle a little bit of full court pressure when people press us, but other than that, they are getting better every day," Brothers said.