Rambo pleased with ES effort

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

No coach ever wants to lose, but Eureka Springs' Brian Rambo is extremely proud of how hard his team played in a 50-39 loss at Omaha on Tuesday. The Eagles are 28-1 on the season.

"They are a really good basketball team," Rambo said. "They have a chance to go out and win a championship in 1A. We had a two-point ballgame going into the fourth quarter. I couldn't have asked for anything more from my guys. I'm extremely proud of how hard my guys played. We did everything we could. We gave ourselves a chance. We just didn't have enough."

The Highlanders led 11-10 at the end of the first quarter, as Carter Drennon scored five points and Garrett Cross added four. Omaha outscored the Highlanders 14-6 in the second quarter, though and led 24-17.

"It came down once again to having trouble scoring," Rambo said. "That has kind of been our Achilles heel all year long. But we are giving ourselves a chance. I think every team in the state of Arkansas would take a one-possession game going into the fourth quarter against the number one team in the state on their home court. And that's what we did."

Rambo knew a key to beating the Eagles would be stopping Garrett Matlock, their big man in the paint. While Matlock scored 17 points, including six in the third quarter, Rambo said he was proud of how the Highlanders defended him overall.

"That point total is way below his average," Rambo said. "We had a game plan and we did a great job executing it. He got some offensive rebounds and some junk points because he is a tremendous player, but overall we did a really good job on him. Couldn't ask for anything more."

After making a basket to go ahead by four early in the fourth quarter, the Eagles went 7 of 12 from the free throw line in the final minutes to seal the victory.

"I told my kids after the game that they don't give out trophies for moral victories," Rambo said. "Unfortunately, if you aren't winning you are losing. And we didn't win. But we are absolutely going the right way. We are getting better. We are playing quality opponents. Everybody that we have lost to so far is going to win 20 games this year. It's not over, that's what I keep telling my kids."

Slade Clark finished with 11 points, while Brandon Ray and Garrett Cross each had nine.

The Highlanders held Omaha to 50 points on Tuesday night and in a loss earlier this season, the Highlanders only allowed Omaha to score 48 points. Those are Omaha’s two lowest-scoring games this season.

"We understand that we have to keep games low-scoring and our guys have really taken that to heart," Rambo said. "It's not fun to go out and grind on people, but we understand that's where we are at. At one point, we were leading the state of Arkansas in defensive points per game. It's probably not that way anymore because we have given up some 50-point games, but at one point we were giving up 38 points on average. I feel like we have done as good as anybody in the state of Arkansas in terms of getting stops."

On Friday, Eureka Springs (13-9) travels to Alpena. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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