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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Guard play propels Lady Ramblers

  • In a matchup pitting Rose Bud's quickness versus Quitman's size, the Lady Ramblers used their speed advantage to defeat the Lady Bulldogs 52-35 on Friday night at Rambler Arena as guards Lexi Jackson and Randi Hartwick combined for 28 points.
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  • In a matchup pitting Rose Bud's quickness versus Quitman's size, the Lady Ramblers used their speed advantage to defeat the Lady Bulldogs 52-35 on Friday night at Rambler Arena as guards Lexi Jackson and Randi Hartwick combined for 28 points.
    "Our pressure got us some easy baskets and kinda wore on them," said Rose Bud Coach Mandy Goodwin. "Subbing in some fresh bodies and keeping the pressure on, I definitely think that was the difference. We pulled it out and made them come guard us and I think that was a turning point late. Guard play on the press was key for sure."
    Rose Bud jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead on consecutive buckets by Jackson, who hit a tough layup over a taller defender and drained a three-pointer up top.
    Quitman forward Roseanna Ezell countered with a three-pointer from left wing before Rose Bud closed the first quarter with a 9-0 spurt ignited by post player Natalie Sherwood, who scored twice in the paint, including a turnaround shot from left block.
    Jackson added a steal and layup then Jackson swiped a steal that led to a three-pointer from right corner by Hartwick, boosting the Lady Ramblers' lead to 14-3 after one quarter of play.
    The Lady Bulldogs trimmed their deficit to five at 16-11 early in the second quarter behind a pair of three-pointers from forward Shayna Burklow, prompting Rose Bud to call for timeout.
    Following the break in action, the Lady Ramblers came out reenergized as post player Tess Capps scored off a baseline bounce pass from guard Bailee Burchfield, then forward Allie Banks used a ball fake to get free for a jumper from the foul line.
    Jackson drove the length of the floor for a layup and Banks added two free throws as Rose Bud pushed its lead to 25-11 before Quitman responded a bucket from post player Maddie Holland.
    Leading by 11, the Lady Ramblers closed the first half with a quick 7-0 surge as Burchfield hit a jumper from right elbow, Hartwick nailed a three-pointer from left elbow and Jackson dashed down the floor for a layup.
    With Rose Bud holding a commanding 32-14 lead at halftime, Quitman began to whittle away at its deficit.
    The Lady Bulldogs outscored Rose Bud 13-5 in the third quarter behind eight points from Ezell and five from post player Raegan Rackley, who split two defenders and scored inside as the Lady Bulldogs pulled within 10 at 37-27 going into the final eight minutes of play.
    Rose Bud opened the fourth period with four straight as Hartwick scored off a back cut and Burchfield sank a jumper and Quitman never seriously threatened down the stretch.
    Page 2 of 2 - Ezell led Quitman (3-2) with 14 points. "In the second half I felt like we didn't do a good job of locating her and she made some good plays," said Goodwin. "I didn't feel like we completely shut her down but we made them go to a few other options."
    Rackley added eight points for the Lady Bulldogs, while Burklow and Holland each scored six. "Our inexperience just really showed up tonight," said first-year Quitman Coach Tim Hooten, who came to Quitman this summer from Bigelow.
    "We had two freshmen on the floor and we are not a real experienced team. Too much of the time we deferred to Ezell. We've just got to learn to take charge and just because we have a lot of youth doesn't mean they can just panic and that's what we did a lot tonight.
    "And they are very well coached here. Mandy does a great job and she took away our strengths and made us play to our weaknesses," added Hooten.
    Jackson scored a game-high 15 points for Rose Bud (1-1), Hartwick followed with 13 and Sherwood had 11.

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