Heber Springs drilled 10 three-pointers and needed every one to defeat lake area rival Clinton 45-40 on Thursday in 2-4A Conference play at Yellow Jacket Arena.
The Panthers got off to a hot start as guard Judson Smith ripped four consecutive three-pointers in the first quarter, while forward Mason Schroeder added four points on a turnaround jump shot and two free throws.
Clinton hung around with the help of guards Cole Ward and Fielder Dufrene, who each popped a three-pointer in the first quarter, while center Marcus Miles also scored three points to go along with a bucket by forward Blake Bryant.
Early in the second quarter, Heber guard Austin “Red” Adkins drilled a three-pointer up top, pushing the Panthers' lead to 19-11, but the 'Jackets fired back with five straight, including a three-pointer from Ward, slicing Clinton's deficit to three.
Adkins countered with a three-pointer from right wing off a driving assist from forward Michael Kramer but Miles responded with a basket inside over two defenders. Adkins ripped another three-pointer, his third of the second period, but Miles scored deep in the paint for Clinton.
With Heber leading 25-20 nearing the 1:00 mark of the first half, Adkins used a smooth spin move to get free and finished with a leaner in the lane but Clinton forward Daniel Beavers sank a midrange jumper from left wing, leaving the Panthers with a 27-22 lead at intermission.
Miles opened the third quarter with a pair of free throws before Smith pulled down a defensive rebound, eased down the floor and drilled a three-pointer from left elbow. Miles turned an offensive rebound into a pair of free throws and Beavers hit a pull up bank shot as the 'Jackets pulled within a bucket before Adkins sank a jumper in the lane.
With Heber struggling to find a groove, Miles recorded a strong rebound bucket while drawing contact and Clinton's center completed the three-point play, shaving the Panthers' lead to one at 32-31 entering the final eight minutes of play.
Smith sliced down the middle of the lane and dropped a floater early in the fourth quarter but Clinton countered with a three-pointer launched from left wing by Ward off an assist from Beavers.
Tied at 34-all, Heber forward Aaron Brown came up huge, first nailing a three-pointer up top then another trey from deep on left wing near the Panthers' bench.
Adkins added a free throw as the Panthers built a 41-34 cushion but Clinton scrapped to the end as Dufrene buried a pair of three-pointers from each elbow over the next two minutes, while the 'Jackets held Heber scoreless in the same span with the help of two questionable calls, which both led to turnovers.
Clinging to a 41-40 lead with under one minute left to play, Heber slammed the door as Smith canned two free throws then Adkins turned a steal into two more free throws as the Panthers escaped with a five-point victory.
Page 2 of 2 - Miles led Clinton (2-10, 2-5) with 14 points, Dufrene followed with 11 and Ward finished with nine. Smith poured in a game-high 19 points for Heber (11-5, 5-2), Adkins added 16 and Brown finished with six, all of which came in the final stanza.