Eureka, GF clash in county rivalry
EUREKA SPRINGS -- Green Forest and Eureka Springs' annual basketball game is called the "Carroll County Classic," but Thursday night's edition in Eureka Springs was far from a classic, as the Highlanders won, 59-40.
Mathew McClung came ready to play for the Highlanders, as he scored nine of Eureka Springs' 18 first-quarter points. Eureka Springs led 18-11 at the end of the first.
"I felt like we played a little sloppy there to begin the game, but we really came on there midway through the first and into the second quarter, especially defensively," Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo said.
Eureka Springs extended its lead to 37-17 by halftime. McClung added four more points in the quarter.
"I thought we played pretty well there in the first quarter, but we ran out of gas," Green Forest coach Brandon Stone said. "We got to get a lot of the younger guys some experience in the second half and that will help us in the long run."
Reggie Sanchez scored seven points in the third and the Highlanders extended their lead to 25 going into the fourth.
Stone gives high praise to Eureka Springs in comparison to other teams the Tigers have played this year.
"I compare them a lot to Valley Springs," Stone said. "They want to go up and down as fast as they can. It's hard to keep up. It's tough to get back. It's challenging, especially when they are bigger than us."
Rambo said it was good to see the Highlanders get out to the early lead because it meant his younger players got a lot of experience they wouldn't normally get.
"In practice, I can stop and teach and talk," Rambo said. "In the game, you have to make decisions on the fly when guys are guarding you, trying to come after you, and you can't simulate that in practice. The more they play the better they get. They are the future. We are losing a bunch this year and those guys are going to have step up and take on some big roles. The more we get them on the floor, the better."
Green Forest's Gabriel Ramos had seven points while Cory Bryant and Conner Glassell each had five.
For the Highlanders, McClung finished with 15 while Reggie Sanchez had 10 and Dalton Kesner had nine.
Green Forest 57, Eureka Springs 32
The Green Forest Lady Tigers have been putting themselves in early deficits all season. In Thursday's game against Eureka Springs, that changed when they found themselves ahead 16-0 with a minute to go in the first quarter. Payton Watson had 10 of those 16 points and the Lady Tigers led 20-4 at the end of the first.
"It has been tough for the girls," Lady Tigers coach Kyle Farrar said. "But this was a good win for them and it just shows how hard they have been working."
The Lady Tigers led 29-12, but a Corrina Green three-pointer trimmed the lead to 14 going into halftime.
Kelsey Phillips scored seven points in the third quarter and the Lady Tigers led 46-23 going into the final quarter.
"It was a lot of fun," Farrar said. "You can tell what the girls have been working on and it has payed off for them."
Eureka Springs' Azziah Brothers had 21 points while Phillips led the way for Green Forest with 16 and Youngblood had 14.