Highlanders falter in return from layoff

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Coming back from a 17-day layoff to face a talented conference opponent on the road is a difficult-enough assignment.

Throw in some foul trouble for your most valuable player, and the situation becomes virtually impossible.

That’s the situation the Eureka Springs Highlanders found themselves in on Friday, Dec. 18, when they lost to Life Way Christian School in Centerton by a score of 64-42.

Junior guard Matthew Lester, a three-year starter for the Highlanders and their most consistent scorer, picked up three fouls in the first quarter and was limited to about 15 minutes of playing time, coach Brian Rambo said.

Eureka Springs was playing for the first time since Dec. 1 after being sidelined because of COVID-19 concerns.

“We sure did look like it, too,” Rambo said. “I think it’s one of those things where in our league, everybody is pretty decent. There are really no off nights. Especially when you go on the road, you can get beat any given night.”

Life Way Christian led 14-5 by the end of the first quarter.

“We showed up the first quarter and we were just shocked probably the first two minutes of the game,” Rambo said. “Matthew got two quick fouls and I had to sit him about two minutes into the game. We were down 10-0 before we could blink.”

Despite his limited playing time, Lester led Eureka Springs with 17 points, including five three-pointers.

Rambo said Life Way Christian deserves credit for the victory,

“They played well,” he said. “Hats off to them. They’re athletic. They have good guard play. They’re well-coached. They play with extreme effort and confidence.”

Eureka Springs will have another long layoff over the holiday break before returning to action Monday, Jan. 4, when the Highlanders will play at Cotter.

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