Clark sinks seven 3-pointers; Cross gets triple-double
The Eureka Springs Highlanders came away with a 75-62 home win against Alpena on Tuesday evening.
Slade Clark made seven three-pointers in the first half, tied for the second-most in a half in the state of Arkansas. Garrett Cross recorded 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Carter Drennon, Garrett Cross and Clark all scored more than 20 points. The Highlanders did this as Justin Lemme was home with the flu and Brandon Ray played through sickness.
"For us to come out, be undermanned and get the win against a quality conference opponent, that's big," Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo said. "We had guys stepping up. When you have guys with 20 points or more, you have a chance to win. We made 13 threes. I was disappointed in our effort defensively because we gave up too many jump shots, but they are a good jump-shooting basketball team. Overall, you can't complain, though."
Clark made two three-pointers in the first quarter and Jackson Cross added another as Eureka Springs took an 18-15 lead into the second quarter. Clark scored the first 12 points of the second quarter for the Highlanders. Drennon added four points in the quarter and Clark added a three-pointer as the half came to a close.
"Slade got cooking there in that second quarter," Rambo said. "It's something he will probably never forget."
Even with the great first-half performance from Clark, the Highlanders were only up 37-31 at halftime.
"We are only up 37-31 because we aren't guarding," Rambo said. "We gave up six threes as a team. We only gave up three three-pointers to Berryville, who is one of the best jump shooting teams in the area. We didn't do a great job running guys off the three-point line. We went in at halftime and set some goals and did a lot better. Played well."
Drennon made three three-pointers in the third quarter and Cross added another as the Highlanders extended their lead to 60-42 going into the fourth quarter. While Ray didn't score, Rambo was proud of the effort he gave.
"Brandon Ray is a gritty kid," Rambo said. "He is a leader. He doesn't have to affect the game by scoring points. You put him in and he is an energy giver. He is a game-changer with his defensive presence and leadership. He does a good job of screening, getting guys open. Making high IQ plays."
An Alpena three-pointer trimmed the Highlander lead to 13 with 2:40 to go, but the Highlanders were 5 of 8 from the free-throw line in the closing minutes to seal the victory. To go with Cross' 23 points, Drennon and Clark each finished with 21.
After playing six consecutive home games, Eureka Springs will be on the road for five consecutive games starting Friday with Western Grove.
"Last year at this time, when we got cooking and beat Berryville, Green Forest, Alpena and Omaha, we had all these games at home and ended up winning 11 out of 12 games or something like that and now the script is flipped," Rambo said. "We have to go on the road to Western Grove, who is a quality basketball team. We have to go to Kingston on the road. We have to go to Omaha. We have to go back down to Alpena. And you know how that works. Sometimes you have to play 8-on-5 and you have to play 10 points better to win by one point. That's just how it is and we understand that. Hopefully us scoring the ball like this will allow us to carry some momentum into those games and allow us to play well. It's hard to go on the road and score 40 points and beat somebody."
Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Alpena 55, Eureka Springs 22
The Eureka Springs Lady Highlanders dropped a game on Tuesday, losing to the Alpena Lady Leopards. Katelyn Ross scored two baskets early to give Eureka Springs a 5-4 lead, but the Lady Leopards closed the first quarter on a 21-4 run and took a 25-9 lead into the second quarter.
Megan Holloway scored all eight points for the Lady Highlanders in the second quarter, as Alpena led 29-17 at halftime. Gracie Lester and Grayson Ertel each scored baskets in the second half for Eureka Springs.