SEARCY — The Heber Springs High School Lady Panthers took their game on the road Friday night Dec. 4, with a nice trip to the city of Searcy and on the banks of the Little Red River. Stepping off the bus at the home of the Riverview High School Lady Raiders.

The welcome mat was rolled out and the Panthers went inside the gym and made themselves right at home with a 62-39 victory against the Lady Raiders.

Heber Springs High School basketball coach Jamie Riddle said after the game that his team was a little slow getting through the first half, they took their time in making in game adjustments but the flow of the game was interrupted by a lot of fouls called.

“In the first half, I saw a lot of rust!” Riddle said after the game. “We had a hard time getting going. A lot of fouls that slowed the game down but we made sure that we were in the right spot in the second half and that paid off for us.”

It paid off for freshman center Jaylea Hooten, as she worked the floor and got into position under the basket and she was able to lead her team with 23 points against the Lady Raiders.

Riverview High School defense is a press that likes to clog up the middle of the lane and produce a lot of fouls or opponents to make turnovers. It also creates a lot of loose balls and that require a lot of players diving onto the floor to gather the ball and take possession.

This type of defense slows the tempo of the game down and for the Lady Panthers, it took some time to make the adjustment.

In the second half, Hooten and her team took advantage of the inexperienced Lady Raiders and were able to find the seam of the press and that created a lot of opportunity for a transition style of game.

“We got a lot of steals and transition buckets which is what we needed to get the game going,” Riddle said. “Jaelee got into foul trouble in the first half so she got to watch some of the game and see some of the spots that she needed to be in and that is what she did. She responded in the second half and she didn’t pick up any fouls in the second half. She knew what to do and when to break on the ball and trusted the system.”

The defense for the Lady Panthers responded in the second half and held the Lady Raiders to just three points in the third quarter. The defense for the Lady Panthers forced the Lady Raiders out of their offense rhythm and with a press that took full advantage of the Lady Raiders lack of experience on the basketball court.

Riverview High School basketball coach Jeremiah Quattlebaum said his team performed better than their last game at Pangburn High School and that he saw plenty of improvement against the Lady Panthers but he knows the basketball season is a marathon.

“We executed things better and we attacked the basket, we are doing a good job getting to the free throw line and playing with pressure on defense,” Quattlebaum said. “Defensively especially in the first half we did really well with our assignment, We are still short-handed and we are still getting in condition and as our legs go we will go.”

Panthers can’t keep up with Raiders

SEARCY — At first it was a struggle for Heber Springs High School Friday night inside as they played against Riverview High School.

Heber Springs basketball coach Dusty West said that when you face a team like Riverview High School you better be prepared for a physical match against a team that is well coached.

The Raiders came out on the floor to start the game as a focused team with a game plan and they wanted to get the job done right and by defeating the Panthers 50-41, and secured the first win of the season at home in the Raiders’ Athletic Complex (RAC).

It was a combination of a press defense that created pressure on the basketball and the ability to establish the inside game of Harley Sawtelle. He scored 12 points for the Raiders and he was able to get position under the glass for six rebounds.

In the second half the Panthers found that they applied some pressure on the ball that the Raiders became careless with the ball and in the fourth quarter the Panthers closed the deficit with a small run but they could not catch the Raiders.

The pressure defense played by the Panthers opened up the transition game that they were able to score points against the Raiders. Heber Springs High School Conner Riddle led his team with 12 points.

West said that his team competed well but they just made too many turnovers but he liked that his team did not quit and was able to show that they can play defense with some aggressiveness.

“We were able to do something after halftime, we talked to them and we were able to make the adjustment, “ West said. “Riverview is a well coached team and their athleticism is their strength.”

In the first half the offense for the Raiders was able to take advantage of the size in the middle and was able to beat the Panthers defenders to the spot on the floor for a good look at the basket and put up a quality shot.

Riverview High School basketball coach Thomas Coleman said that Heber Springs did a good job in the second half adjusting their defense and forced the Raiders to be sloppy with the ball.

“That is the lack of experience and that is an uphill battle with skill work,” Coleman said. “We have been working on our structure and getting into the right spot and that helps out a lot tonight. We have a lot of skill work that we need to improve on and I just told the boys ‘that is going to happen’ If we can get into the right spot and know how to get to the right spot we can be effective and steal the ball. “

It is a small stumble, the loss against Riverview High School but West and the Panthers will continue to grow and be able to make a giant step and be ready for the next game for the Panthers.

When the Heber Springs Lady Panthers needed a run, they got it in the early minutes of the fourth quarter.

That propelled them to a 71-62 win over the Conway St. Joe Lady Wildcats in the Panther Den last Tuesday night.

Sophie Stone and Baylea Hooten fueled an offensive output that kept an edge in favor of the Lady Panthers.

Stone’s three at the top of the key early in the fourth put Heber Springs up by three points.

St. Joe wouldn’t go away tying the game for the last time in the fourth quarter at 60-60.

But Hayley Bresnahan’s putback and foul shots in a one-minute stretch put Heber Springs up by four at 64-60. That started an 11-2 run that ended the game.

Bresnahan and Elle Riddle hit back-to-back shots putting the Lady Panthers up 68-62 with less than a minute to go.

That forced Conway St. Joe to foul to stop the clock.

But with fouls to give, Heber played more stall until Stone’s fourth three of the night gave Heber Springs a lead of nine.

Within the first couple of minutes, the Lady Panthers found themselves down 5-0, but by the midway point of the first quarter the home team got to within one at 7-6.

It was Riddle who got the Lady Panthers the first lead of the night on a baseline jumper off her own offensive rebound.

But St. Joe led 19-18 after one quarter.

The Lady Panthers took a 5 point lead into the break and came out in the third quarter hoping to maintain that cushion.

But the Lady Panthers couldn’t keep it going. St. Joe took the lead back with 3:15 to go in the third.

Down by five points in the final minute of the third, Sophie Stone’s three from the right corner got Heber Springs to within two at 51-49 going into the fourth.

Panthers can’t stop Bulldogs’ run

Sometimes all you need is a fast start. The Heber Springs Panthers did not get that last Tuesday at home in the Panthers’ Den, but Conway St. Joe did. Heber Springs couldn’t catch up and fell 43-33.

St. Joe’s 9-1 run appeared daunting at the outset. Connor Riddle’s pair of buckets put the Panthers down just four in the final two minutes of the first quarter. After their initial run, the Bulldogs went cold, but held an 11-5 lead after the first eight minutes. Down by eight midway through the second, Ryan Crocker hit a corner three from the right side which sparked a run of nine straight that included two straight field goals by Riddle that put the Panthers up 15-14. That 9-0 run ended at St. Joe’s foul line with 2:05 to go in the half. But Riddle hit again, this time from long range near the right wing. Hoping to increase their chances of going into the locker room with a lead, the Panthers slowed the pace a bit, but turned the ball over with 54.7 seconds to go and with a two-point edge. It took stops on two defensive possessions and three missed 3-point shot attempts by St. Joe, but the Panthers did go into halftime up 18-16. It took three minutes for either team to score in the opening minutes of the third quarter. After the Dogs had taken a quick lead with four straight,

Riddle’s bucket tied the game at 20-20. Riddle hit a three from the right corner put the Panthers back on top. Crocker followed with a three from the left wing, and with a minute to go, Heber Springs enjoyed a six-point advantage. Heber led 26-22 going into halftime. It took less than a minute, however, for St. Joe to tie the score at 26-26. St. Joe then went on a 16-5 run including 15 straight that turned Heber Spings’ three-point edge into a 6 point deficit. A baseline layup with 1:29 to go by Gus Hannah ended the run, but it wasn’t enough to spark a surge by the Panthers..

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