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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Panthers hold off Pioneers

  • Clinging to a two-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, Heber Springs swingman Willie Adkins put a stop to the Pioneers' comeback bid, swiping three steals, including two that led to baskets as the Panthers held off 5A Batesville 53-45 last Friday at the Panther Den.
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  • Clinging to a two-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, Heber Springs swingman Willie Adkins put a stop to the Pioneers' comeback bid, swiping three steals, including two that led to baskets as the Panthers held off 5A Batesville 53-45 last Friday at the Panther Den.
    "Willie's defense was really good tonight," said Panther Coach Kevin Kyzer. "He guarded their best player [Kenton Crawford] and did a great job on him. When he scored it was when he wasn't on him for the most part. He did a great job on defense and [Michael] Kramer did too.
    "We play good defense. We got plowed by a few moving screens on the baseline tonight to open things up for them. We've got to be a little more physical early. We've had such tight officiating this year, which has been uncharacteristic to what we usually see in the league. We came out and played more physical tonight with more veteran refs who let the game flow," added Kyzer.
    The Panthers, who improved to 7-3 overall, were playing in their third game of the week. Kyzer said fatigue became an issue in the second half. "We got off to a pretty good start but I think we are a little worn out from last night [at Clinton]. In the second half we didn't play our style of ball intentionally," said Kyzer. "We tried to slow it down to get Mason [Schroeder] through the second half because he is hurting pretty bad, third game of the week and he has had some back issues all season.
    "Free throws killed us most of the game then we hit a few at the end finally. That's not like our teams and this team has got to get that straightened out. We hit our free throws and that is a 20-point game easy," added Kyzer.
    The Panthers led 21-18 after the first quarter, 35-24 at half and 42-33 entering the fourth quarter, but Batesville whittled away at its deficit, starting when guard Eli Childress drilled a three-pointer from right corner.
    Batesville guard Chris Robinson snuck into the lane for a putback midway through the fourth quarter, completing a 7-2 spurt and leaving Heber with a 45-43 lead.
    Heber turned up its defensive pressure as Mason Schroeder turned a steal into two free throws, then Willie Adkins picked a steal and drove to the basket for a tough layup.
    Guard Austin "Red" Adkins added two free throws and the Panthers sealed the victory when Willie Adkins came away with a steal and passed to guard Waren Thomas Olmstead, who found Willie Adkins running the floor for a layup.
    Guard Kenton Crawford drained four three-pointers while leading Batesville (0-6) with a game-high 20 points. Childress followed with eight points, while forward Riley Caraway and Robinson each scored seven.
    Page 2 of 2 - Willie Adkins and Olmstead, who made three from beyond the arc, each scored 16 points to pace Heber and Schroeder added 12.

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