Tempers flare between Berryville and Eureka
It was bedlam Friday night when the Berryville Bobcats defeated the Eureka Springs Highlanders 53-50 at Highlander Arena. Four technical fouls were assessed to Berryville in the second half.
"Going into the game without Ty Allen, one of our starters, I was a little bit concerned," Berryville coach Brent Compton said. "And then on the road made it even more concerning. But I was very proud of our effort and am very proud of the five kids who finished the game and did what it took to execute and make free throws to get the win."
A free throw by Zach Webb put the Bobcats up 41-30 with seven minutes remaining in the game. Three technical fouls in 90 seconds helped trim that lead to four, though. From there, the two teams exchanged baskets for the rest of the game. A Carter Drennon three-pointer trimmed the lead to three with 23 seconds remaining. Webb was fouled and made the first of two free throws. He missed the second, but the Bobcats grabbed the rebound and Webb was fouled again. Webb made one of two free throws, giving Berryville a 53-48 lead. Eureka Springs' Garrett Cross made a layup as time expired.
"We have gritty, tough kids that don't give in," Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo said. "They have come back from a lot more than that, so they understood that the game wasn't over. To see them stay within themselves, keep fighting and give ourselves a chance at the end, that says a lot. Against a team like that, you just can't get behind double-digits and expect to come back and win."
Berryville led 12-10 at the end of the first quarter. Brady Smith had five points in the quarter and finished with eight. Compton said he made a major impact on the game.
"Brady stepped up big," Compton said. "He hit some shots when we needed it. He has been working on his shot. Seeing him making some threes on Friday first and foremost gives him some confidence, but it also adds another threat."
Eureka Springs (12-6) opened the second quarter on a 9-2 run, but five points from Berryville's Kyler Kendrick put an end to that. A 15-foot jumper for Slade Clark gave Eureka Springs a 23-21 lead with six seconds remaining in the half, but Jarrett Ray's three-pointer as time expired gave Berryville a 24-23 lead at halftime.
Rambo knew the Highlanders were going to have to keep Berryville in the 40s if they wanted to win the game.
"If Jarrett doesn't hit that fall-down three at the end of the half, that puts them down to 50," Rambo said. "I didn't think we did a good job on the boards. On the first two possessions, we gave up three offensive rebounds. And we didn't capitalize on the foul line. A lot of that is about effort."
Berryville (13-5) extended its lead to 38-30 going into the fourth quarter.
Compton is already looking forward to Friday night's homecoming game with Huntsville.
"I think we are really starting to play well," Compton said. "If we can just stay away from sickness, injury and all the things we can't control, we will be OK. Having four extra days to practice this week is great for us. We always have some things we can continue to improve on and we are going to hit those things. I am excited for the stretch run."
For Eureka Springs, Cross finished with 22 points and Drennon had 21. Webb had 12 points and Kendrick added 11 for Berryville.
Berryville 60, Eureka Springs 19
This 41-point win for the Berryville Lady Bobcats was merely an appetizer for the main course that was to follow later in the evening. A basket by Baylea Smith and two layups from Hannah Morrell gave Berryville a 6-0 lead five minutes into the game. Lexy Anderson and Kelsey Smith also scored as Berryville led 12-2 going into the second quarter.
"We did what we had to do to come out and get the win," Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison said. "We didn't finish around the rim like we had hoped to and need to early, but you have to give some credit to Eureka. They didn't turn the ball over a lot, which didn't give us many easy run-outs. It was a grind game early."
Kelcee Hopper scored the first five points of the second quarter for Berryville and Baylea Smith added five points in the quarter as Berryville (17-1) extended its halftime lead to 31-9. The Lady Bobcats play Huntsville on Friday for homecoming and Cornelison knows that will be a big game for his team.
"Every time we play Huntsville it's a big game," Cornelison said. "It's a rivalry game. They want to beat us. We want to beat them. And then you throw homecoming on top of it, it's just going to be that much bigger."
Anderson scored nine points in the third quarter as Berryville took a 58-17 lead into the fourth quarter. Berryville has a full week to prepare for the Lady Eagles and Cornelison knows his team has plenty to work on.
"Our transition offense has to improve," Cornelison said. "Our defense has to continue to get better. The execution of our offense and the speed that we need to go at, both offensively and defensively. We need to fine-tune some things and play with a high motor."