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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Lady Ramblers pull away from West Side

  • Rose Bud used a steady dose of perimeter shooting by Randi Hartwick, Kyndl Harlan and company mixed with solid post play from Natalie Sherwood to outlast West Side 56-50 on Friday night in a battle of lake area foes at Rambler Arena.
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  • Rose Bud used a steady dose of perimeter shooting by Randi Hartwick and Kyndl Harlan mixed with solid post play from Natalie Sherwood to outlast West Side 56-50 on Friday night in a battle of lake area foes at Rambler Arena. “We went to a little half-court press and I thought we had a little bit of success speeding them up and getting it out of the hands of their key ball handler,” said Rose Bud Coach Mandy Goodwin. “We finally rebounded a little bit and kept them out of the inside. The biggest thing was they had fun. We finally enjoyed playing the game and I thought they played good together while doing that. Not worrying about winning and losing and just playing the game,” added Goodwin. Leading by three, the Lady Ramblers closed the third quarter with a 10-2 spurt, starting when guard Lexi Jackson hit an off-balance shot while floating away from the basket. Harlan came away with a steal and hit Hartwick for a layup then Sherwood added a pair of free throws before reserve forward Sarah Caldwell buried a 19-foot jump shot from right corner. Harlan added two free throws as Rose Bud scored 10 straight before West Side responded when electric point guard Abby Turney sank a short jumper from right baseline, cutting the Lady Ramblers' lead to 48-37 heading into the fourth quarter. “This was a good game for us this time of year on the road in a pretty tough environment against a well coached team in Rose Bud,” said West Side Coach Shane Davis. “We were pretty evenly matched but we just couldn't contest all their shooters or stay in front of the ball on their dribble penetration. When we took one away they hurt us with the other." Sherwood set the tone early with six points on three baskets in the paint during the first quarter alone, while Hartwick added five points, including a three-pointer from left corner that gave the Lady Ramblers an 11-7 lead. Jackson also recorded a pair of baskets in the first quarter on two driving shots in heavy traffic and Harlan scored the Lady Ramblers' first bucket, using quick dribble penetration to reach the goal for a layup. Turney helped the Lady Eagles stay within striking distance with seven points in the first period alone, while forward Alexis Barnes added three points and post player Taylor Clark recorded a basket for West Side in the opening frame. Trailing 17-12, West Side quickly sliced its deficit to one early in the second quarter as post player Melissa Hendrickson hit a jumper from the foul line off an assist from guard Whitney England, then Clark scored from right block off an assist from Turney. Harlan eventually responded with a 19-foot jumper from left elbow off an assist from Jackson, but England drilled a three-pointer from right wing and Turney banked home a trey up top, while Rose Bud managed a rebound bucket from reserve player Tess Capps. With West Side leading by one, Rose Bud countered with five straight as guard Bailee Burchfield hit a pull up jumper from right elbow and Hartwick popped a three-pointer from left wing. Turney fired back with a three-pointer from right wing as the Lady Eagles pulled within one before Rose Bud closed the first half with four straight on jumpers from Burchfield and Caldwell, who launched her shot from just inside the three-point line. The lake area foes traded blows early in the third quarter until Rose Bud gained a little ground when Harlan drilled a three-pointer from right wing. Following a putback by Hendrickson and a layup by Turney off an inbound play, the Lady Ramblers' critical 10-0 spurt helped gain some separation heading into the final stanza. With Rose Bud leading 48-37 entering the fourth quarter, West Side reserve guard Carra Duncan hit a pull up jumper from left side and Hendrickson added a free throw but Rose Bud answered with four straight as Harlan canned two free throws and Caldwell sank a 16-foot jumper from right baseline. West Side refused to go down without a fight, trimming its deficit to seven with two free throws from Hendrickson followed by a Turney three-pointer. After trading free throws, West Side pulled within five when Barnes used a ball fake to get past her defender and slivered down the right baseline for a layup. With under two minutes remaining, Sherwood hit a turnaround bank shot from right block and the Lady Ramblers never looked back, closing out their 56-50 victory with a free throw from Harlan. West Side finished 19 of 49 from the field, 5 of 18 from beyond the arc and 7 of 14 from the free throw line. Turney led West Side with a game-high 22 points while connecting on 9 of 20 shots from the field, including 4 of 9 three-point attempts. Hendrickson added 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Lady Eagles, while Barnes chipped in nine points. Hartwick paced Rose Bud with 13 points, Harlan and Sherwood each finished with 12 and Jackson and Caldwell had six apiece. “[Randi] had a great game,” said Goodwin. “She did well with her ball handling and she hit shots when she needed to. She made great decisions and I thought she played well,” Goodwin stressed.

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