Heber Springs outscored Batesville Southside 30-19 in the second half to force overtime last Friday in 2-4A Conference play at the Panther Den.

Heber Springs outscored Batesville Southside 30-19 in the second half to force overtime last Friday in 2-4A Conference play at the Panther Den.

In overtime, Heber guard Zahn Crider hit a 17-foot jumper off an assist from point guard Chase Gallaway to give the Panthers their first lead since early in the first quarter and Heber held on to win 54-49 while improving to 3-0 at home.

Trailing by three with just over a minute to play in fourth quarter, guard Grant Childers tied the game with a three-pointer from right corner. Southside Batesville missed the front end of a one and one and Heber came up short on a baseline shot, leaving the game tied at 45-all at the end of regulation.

Heber jumped out to an 6-0 lead behind a pair of three-pointers from guard Hunter Chandler, but Southside Batesville closed the first quarter with seven straight, including a three-point play by forward Ryan Shane and baskets in the paint from guard Lucas Branscum and forward Braden Mead.

Leading 11-10, the Southerners continued their run in the second quarter by scoring nine consecutive while sinking 7 of 8 free throws. Reserve power forward Christian Reyes capped Southside’s 18-0 run with a bucket inside off an assist from guard Will Wyatt.

“We were up 10-4 and they made a good adjustment after a timeout,” said Heber Coach Jay Moore. “They played a little stretched out 1-3-1 [zone] and trapped us. We weren’t very aggressive against it and the times we didn’t turn it over we took shots that weren’t very aggressive and we didn’t get to the free throw line enough. I thought that was the difference in the first and second half. We only shot two free throws the whole first half.”

In the second half the Panthers began to pound the ball inside to forward David Kuebler, while Chandler and Childers helped keep Southside’s defense from collapsing in the paint.

“At halftime we just talked about getting the ball inside to our good players,” said Moore. “David went to work inside and got to the free throw line and Hunter made some outside shots. Any of our guys are capable of scoring in double figures but those two guys are key. I like to work the ball inside-out.”

Southside led 26-15 at halftime and maintained its lead until the midway point of the third quarter when Chandler and Childers gunned down back to back three-pointers and Kuebler sank a free throw.

Suddenly clinging to a 34-29 lead, Southside responded as Mead skipped to Shane cutting backside for a layup. Kuebler pulled down a rebound and scored, but Shane countered with a three-point play, using a power dribble to score inside while absorbing contact.

With time winding down in the third quarter, Gallaway hit an off-balance bank shot in the lane, trimming Southside’s lead to 39-33 entering the fourth quarter.

Mead opened the fourth with a free throw, but Chandler scored five straight, first hitting a turnaround bank shot, then drilling a deep three-pointer from left wing as the Panthers closed the gap to two at 40-38.

After a free throw by Kuebler, Southside regained momentum as Mead scored five in a row, including a three-point play and short jumper off an inbound play.

Gallaway responded with a floater in traffic and Chandler added a free throw with 2:28 remaining, cutting the Southerners’ lead to 48-45.

Childers’ three-pointer tied the score and eventually sent the game to overtime as both teams failed to score in the final 1:15 of regulation.

Southside snatched the lead back in overtime when Mead scored deep in the paint off an assist from guard Hunter Tatum, but Kuebler followed his own miss for two and Crider’s 17-foot jumper gave Heber the lead midway through the four-minute overtime period.

Kuebler secured two key defensive rebounds down the stretch ¬ one that led to a pair of free throws by Gallaway ¬ and another that led to his own free throw.

Wyatt’s driving layup cut Heber’s lead to one possession, but with 4.1 seconds to play, Childers sealed the Panthers’ victory with a pair of free throws.

“Grant has had a week and a half to kind of prove himself,” said Moore. “He had his head down shooting the ball but the last two days he has really caught fire shooting. So he has his confidence back. We have some good guards they are just unproven. Sometimes they get their confidence down but they are very capable of getting the job done.”

Mead scored a game-high 19 points for Southside (5-5, 0-4). Shane followed with 12 and Wyatt had 10 for the Southerners.

Chandler drilled five three-pointers while pacing the Panthers with 18 points. Kuebler added 15 and Childers had eight, while Crider and Gallaway each chipped in six for Heber, which improved to 4-4 overall and 2-3 in conference play.