Offense sputters for ES as regionals begin

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Eureka Springs' Garrett Cross drives to the goal in a game earlier this season.
Charles Chappell /

The Eureka Springs Highlanders didn't show up offensively in Thursday's 41-35 loss to Hackett in the semifinals of the 2A-4 West district tournament at Lavaca.

"I don't think I have ever been involved in a ballgame where you give up six points in two quarters and yet the other team is still in the basketball game," Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo said. "We just can't score enough to separate ourselves from teams."

Eureka Springs led 28-15 going into the fourth quarter, but the Hornets started the fourth quarter by making a three-pointer and added another basket to trim the lead to eight with six minutes remaining.

"Instead of in the past, when we have had a lot of success, we would tell ourselves that we just have to go down and get a bucket, we are now thinking here we go again," Rambo said. "They went on a 14-0 run and took a one-point lead before we finally scored a bucket. That gave them all the momentum. We were on our heels. Their crowd was involved. Their bench was involved. We had a battle there at the end, but just couldn't score enough to win."

Hackett led 9-6 at the end of the first quarter, but the Hornets only scored six points in the next 16 minutes and as a result Eureka Springs took a 28-15 lead into the fourth quarter.

"We had the game in hand and a few turnovers flipped the game in a matter of seconds," Rambo said. "It's something that is hard to recover from, but thankfully we had a pretty good practice on Friday."

Eureka Springs 43, Magazine 30

The Highlanders capitalized on that good practice on Friday with a 13-point victory over Magazine in the 2A-4 West district tournament third-place game on Saturday.

"We finally started making jump shots," Rambo said. "Slade (Clark) made two threes right off the bat and we led 6-0. We actually made seven threes and six twos. We are still struggling to score in the offense. We made some shots against Magazine, which helps us, but thank goodness we guarded."

Eureka Springs led 11-7 at the end of the first quarter and took a 21-18 lead into halftime. Rambo was glad to see the Highlanders respond and get a win on Saturday against a quality Magazine team.

"We have played Magazine four times in the last two years," Rambo said. "These seniors were winless in the last three games against them. To get off that hump and win against them was big, but to recover from Thursday's game and get a win going into the regional tournament was huge. I was happy for those guys in the locker room. I felt good and it was exactly what we needed. Hopefully it will carry us into this week."

Eureka Springs led 33-24 going into the fourth quarter. As the No. 3 seed, the Highlanders (17-12) will take on Jacksonville Lighthouse on Thursday. This will be the second year in a row the Highlanders have faced the Wolves (18-14) in the first round of the 2A West Central Regional Tournament. Last year, Eureka Springs lost, 72-38.

"They aren't quite the same team they were last year," Rambo said. “They lost some key pieces from that team. We will have to go out, get some stops and keep the game in the 40s and 50s. And I think we will do a good job. I think we are better defensively than we were last year. It's going to come down to a situation of can we get enough stops and score with them to stay in the game. We didn't do that last year."

Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. at Magazine High School.

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