Highlanders extend streak to 11

Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo gives instructions to his team during a game earlier this season. The Highlanders’ victory over Ozark Christian last Friday was Rambo’s 200th win in 10-plus seasons at Eureka Springs.
Robert Cox / Lovely County Citizen

The Eureka Springs Highlanders’ first 11 games of the season haven’t all been easy, but they have all been victories.

The Highlanders extended their unbeaten start to the season again on Friday night, defeating Ozark Christian 62-59 in overtime to win the Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy tournament and hand coach Brian Rambo his 200th win as Eureka Springs’ coach.

“I’m proud of my guys for hanging in there to the end and gutting one out,” Rambo said.

In his 11th season at Eureka Springs, Rambo said he can’t recall ever having a team start 11-0. Three years ago, the Highlanders won 19 consecutive games before a season-ending loss in the state tournament.

In the win over Ozark Christian, Eureka Springs trailed 21-18 at halftime but fought back to tie the score by the end of the third quarter. After regulation time ended with the score tied at 51, the Highlanders outscored Ozark Christian 11-8 in overtime.

Eureka Springs made 14 three-pointers in 28 attempts, led by four apiece from seniors Matthew Lester and Teagan Farriester. Lester and junior forward Dylan Johnson each scored 16 points while Farriester added 12 and senior Braden Gerth scored 11 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists.

Class 2A Eureka Springs will face a pair of Class 4A opponents this week, hosting Huntsville on Tuesday before traveling to Pea Ridge on Friday.

“Any time you go up two classifications, it’s a tall order,” Rambo said. “But with our group having these games under their belt — honestly, in retrospect of Friday night’s game, that game was good for us in terms of being battle-tested. We’ve had a lot of games early this season where we kind of just went in and imposed our will on people. That’s not going to be the case this week with Huntsville and Pea Ridge. They’re quality basketball teams, they’re well-coached, they’re two steps up in classification. So that type of game on Friday was good for us to experience and get us ready for this week, for sure.”

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