Lady Highlanders lose heartbreaker
The Eureka Springs Lady Highlanders’ bid for a second consecutive conference championship ended in heartbreaking fashion Friday night.
The Cotter Lady Warriors erased a six-point deficit over the final 3:15 and scored the winning points on a pair of free throws with 5.3 seconds left to beat visiting Eureka Springs 56-54 and clinch the 2A-1 conference title.
Eureka Springs (13-12, 7-2) had a chance to send the game to overtime, but missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity after drawing a foul with no time showing on the clock.
The Lady Highlanders, who won the conference a year ago in Ryan Sanchez’s first season as head coach, led 31-21 in the second quarter and still held a 52-46 lead with 3:15 to play.
After a 6-2 Cotter run tied things at 54, the Lady Highlanders committed a turnover with 14.4 seconds left.
Senior guard Gracie Lester led the Lady Highlanders with 23 points, while senior forward Megan Holloway added 16.
Cotter 43, Eureka Springs 38
Cotter held off a Eureka Springs rally in the fourth quarter to beat the Highlanders.
Cotter led 16-9 at halftime and 31-21 after three quarters before Eureka Springs got within four points in the final minute.
Sophomore Matthew Lester led the Highlanders (7-16, 4-5 2A-1) with 20 points, while classmate Kegley Ertel added 12.
Both Eureka Springs teams will face Haas Hall Academy on Tuesday night in Fayetteville.