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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Eagles upend Ramblers

  • West Side closed the third period with an 11-2 run, suddenly taking a one-point lead over Rose Bud in an exciting non-conference matchup between two lake area foes Friday at Rambler Arena. The Eagles maintained their lead in the fourth quarter to pull out a 60-55 victory over the Ramblers.
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  • West Side closed the third period with an 11-2 run, suddenly taking a one-point lead over Rose Bud in an exciting non-conference matchup between two lake area foes Friday at Rambler Arena. The Eagles maintained their lead in the fourth quarter to pull out a 60-55 victory over the Ramblers. “Our shooters didn't shoot very good,” said West Side Coach Benny Brown. “But our kids played really hard, I can't fault them. The other team played really hard and both of them really deserve to win a ballgame like that. We were just fortunate tonight to come out on top.” Down 38-30 after Rose Bud guard Dillon Reesnes hit a floater in traffic, the Eagles (23-7) responded with a rebound bucket from center Ben Hargrove and an acrobatic layup off a strong drive by guard Bryce Hipp. The Eagles trimmed their deficit to a basket when power forward Tyler Inman found point guard Logan Bailey cutting the lane for a layup, but Rose Bud forward Tyler Mercer turned a steal under the basket into a layup. Trailing by four late in the third quarter, Hipp dropped a floater from right side, then Hipp drained a three-pointer from left corner, completing West Side's 11-2 run and giving the Eagles a 41-40 lead entering the final eight minutes of play. “We had a cold stretch and a couple of costly turnovers that hurt us,” said Rose Bud Coach Rob Welch. “That cold stretch is really what got us. In the last minute and a half of the third quarter we went cold and they took that one point lead going into the fourth quarter. That was a big difference maker.” Both teams struggled to find a rhythm early in the fourth quarter until West Side broke the ice with two free throws by Bailey. Hargrove then took over, first snatching a steal under the basket, which led to a pair of free throws. On the Eagles' next possession, Hargrove turned an offensive rebound into a pair of free throws as West Side extended its lead to 47-40 before Reesnes retaliated with a three-pointer from right wing. “We don't do as good a job getting the ball to him [Hargrove] as we should,” said Brown. “If we could do a better job of getting it in there to him and they are defending him like they were tonight he can score 30. We got it to him some. We got it to him enough to win. Ben played hard,” emphasized Brown. After Reesnes sank a free throw, West Side forward Tanner Galeazzi scored on a tough shot from right block but Rose Bud hung around as forward Brett Caples notched a putback. Bailey soared through the lane and finished with an amazing scoop shot in a crowd but Mercer hopped above the rim for a tip-in, whittling West Side's lead to three at 51-48 with under two minutes remaining. West Side regained control when Bailey drove into the lane and finished with a leaner while drawing contact. Bailey completed the three-point play for a 54-48 lead, but the Ramblers continued to scrap, scoring four straight as power forward Christian Reynolds got a stick back and center Brandon Hampton added a basket deep in the paint off an assist from Reesnes. Clinging to a two-point lead, West Side guard Keaton Sutterfield canned two clutch free throws with 45.6 seconds left. After Hampton and Hipp each made a free throw, West Side put the game out of reach when Bailey came away with a loose ball and sank two foul shots with 12.6 seconds remaining. West Side jumped out to a 14-11 lead after one quarter of play as Bailey and Hipp each scored five points, while Galeazzi and Sutterfield each contributed a two-point field goal. The Ramblers stayed close with a balanced attack that included four points from Hampton, a three-pointer by guard Cole Robertson and baskets from Reesnes and Mercer. Rose Bud opened the second quarter with a 5-0 spurt, completed by Reesnes, who snared a defensive rebound and drove coast-to-coast for a finger roll. West Side jumped back on top with a free throw and stick back by Hargrove but Reesnes fired back with five consecutive, including a three-pointer and slashing layup as the Ramblers took a 21-17 lead midway through the second quarter. The Eagles countered with five straight, including three free throws from Bailey and a putback by Hargrove, but Robertson rattled home a three-pointer from left wing off an assist from Reesnes. In the final minute of the first half, Hipp swiped a steal, weaved through three defenders and finished with a gliding finger roll before Reesnes ripped a three-pointer out front, giving the Ramblers a 27-24 lead at intermission. Reesnes led Rose Bud with 21 points, Hampton added 14, Mercer finished with 10 and Robertson had six. Bailey paced West Side with 21 points, Hipp followed with 15, Hargrove finished with 13 and Galeazzi had seven.
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