When the halftime buzzer in Friday’s was five points in favor of the Heber Springs Lady Panthers matchup against Dardanelle, the Lady Panthers had cause to feel pretty good.
But what Jamey Riddle decided to do at halftime was turn up the heat on defense.
“No doubt,” Heber Springs head girls’ coach Jamey Riddle said. “That’s what we talked about at halftime. We were having to set up in our half court offense way to much. We had no transition offense. Second half we picked the tempo up and good things started happening for us.”
It paid off big and Heber Springs raced out in the second half to a 42-26 win.
Neither team could find much of an offensive rhythm in the opening quarter. The Lady Panthers did have an 8-5 lead when it was over.
Hooten and Riddle split the load scoring four points each. The first points for Heber Springs came from a stop-and-pop jumper just inside the foul line. Sophie Stone’s three at the 5:40 mark capped five straight to start the second.
The Lady Panthers extended the lead before a minor comeback from Dardanelle.
But Heber Springs was able to maintain a 5 point cushion at halftime.
Hooten hit again on Heber Springs’ first possession of the third quarter.
The new wrinkle came on defense when head coach decided to go pressure to open up the second half.
Stops on four straight trips produced a quick 8-0 run in the quarter’s first three and a half minutes.
When Dardanelle called timeout with 2:50 to go in the third, Heber Springs had scored 10 straight and led 26-11.
Ellie Riddle’s three with five seconds to go in the third capped a 17-5 run for the Lady Panthers.
The Lady Sand Lizards hit two straight threes in a mini surge of their own, but to no avail.
Panthers unable to keep pace
The start looked promising, but it didn’t keep the Dardanelle Sand Lizards from running away from Friday night’s contest at the Panthers’ Den 63-29.
A steal and breakaway layup by Connor Riddle was a good start for the Panthers. Foul shots two minutes later put Riddle up 4-0 on Dardanelle.
It was Marteez Jackson’s steal and breakaway with 2:35 to go in the first quarter that gave the Sand Lizards their first lead. It was a lead they would never lose.
Jackson got a second one off pressure defense capping an 8-0 that Zack Thomas broke on a bucket near the low block.
Heber watched the Lizards take an 11-6 lead into the second quarter.
But as the Sand Lizards kept the pressure going, the Panthers continued their cold shooting and the mercy rule was inevitably invoked.