Bobcats bounce back: Berryville grabs big halftime lead, holds off Eureka Springs

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Berryville sophomore Weston Teague blocks a shot by Eureka Springs’ Jackson Cross during the teams’ game Friday night in Eureka Springs.
Charles Chappell /

By Scott Loftis

Berryville coach Brent Compton made no secret of the fact that he was disappointed in the Bobcats’ effort and execution in a loss to Bergman on Nov. 19.

Fast-forward 72 hours, and Compton was feeling much better about his team’s performance.

Berryville used a balanced scoring attack and tenacious defense to beat Eureka Springs 53-45 at Highlander Arena on Nov. 22.

“Our kids responded like I hoped they would,” Compton said. “They played as hard as they could possibly play, and they executed.”

Seven Bobcats scored at least six points, led by 10 each from senior Chris Lehr and junior J.D. Smith. Junior Landon Chester added nine, with sophomores Weston Teague, Kade Davidson and Leo Portolan and senior Trenton Hutchison chipping in six points apiece.

Portolan drew praise from Compton for his defense.

“I thought everybody played pretty well on defense,” Compton said. “But I thought he really played very well defensively.”

Berryville led 29-16 at halftime after outscoring Eureka Springs 14-5 in the second quarter.

The Highlanders cut Berryville’s lead to four in the second half, but could get no closer.

“We played well except for the second quarter,” Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo said. “We got behind 13 at half, and it’s so hard to get caught back up. We made it a basketball game, and I was really proud of the effort.”

Sophomore Matthew Lester led Eureka Springs with 16 points, including 13 in the second half. Senior Jackson Cross added 15 points for the Highlanders.

It was the third loss to a Class 4A opponent in four days for Class 2A Eureka Springs. Rambo said the goal is to prepare the Highlanders for conference play.

“It’s a situation where we need to be in games like this,” he said, “because we want to win big games later. You’ve got to face some adversity to grow.”

Eureka Springs (3-6) will get some time off before returning to action on Dec. 10 in the Highlanders’ 2A-1 conference opener at Yellville-Summit.

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