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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Teams play on after storms

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It is hard to imagine that anyone's mind would be on basketball after the two weeks' of bad weather this area has sustained.

After suffering through high winds, snow and ice, and then the devastating tornado that moved through both Izard and Sharp counties, calling all games off until each schools respective senior district tournament would not have been questioned.

Highland's Feb. 5 Cave City game was cancelled.

The senior night game against Izard County had been scheduled for Saturday afternoon, but with the departure of the 3-4A Junior District Tournament to its new location at Westside, it was decided to play it on Friday night, Feb. 8.

The electricity was reconnected and Highland students were able to attend school on Friday, so a game shouldn't be a problem.

That is unless the electricity was only temporarily connected, as it was, with Entergy deciding to make the new connection as the senior boys' B game was about to start.

But there is certainly no blame being placed on Entergy, as their work was a little more important then a basketball game.

Out of sheer defiance to the situation, the Rebel and Cougar B squads went ahead and played one half of their game using just the sunlight streaming in from the skylights.

A second half was out of the question as it was just too dark.

Imagine that, a packed house sitting in the dark watching a B game, and then remaining in the dark until the lights came back on an hour and half later.

When all was said and done, members of the senior girls and boys basketball teams and cheerleaders were honored, and two games were played.

The Lady Rebels wore down the Lady Cougars to notch a 65-46 win.

The Rebels used an 18-0 run in the first quarter to beat the 1A-2 South champion Cougars 66-53.

Even though the score was back and forth midway through the first quarter, the Cougars seemed to dictate the tempo and were doing a better job of rebounding at both ends of the floor.

With the score at 13-7 in Highland's favor, Rebel Head Coach Chad Arnhart called for a full court press.

Matt Gage stole two consecutive inbound passes that went for scores and the Rebels were on their way to a big lead.

Highland maintained its pressure and Izard County wouldn't score again until the Rebs were up 22-7.

"That press. That was one thing we were worried about tonight not having (Kyle) McCandlis in the line up. We knew we were going to be minus a guard," said Cougar Head Coach David Harmon. "That's what we tell our kids. No team is going to hurt us with the press, but we can hurt ourselves and that's what we did with some poor decisions tonight."

McCandlis, out with the flu, averages about 15 points per game for Izard County.

Gage finished the first quarter with two steals and 10 points and the Rebels leading 26-12.

Scott Small took over the game in the second quarter for Izard County, keeping Highland from getting more than one shot. He was also instrumental in senior Rebel David Street's three first half fouls and seat on the bench.

"Small is tough in there. He's 6-5 and strong. The Caraway kid is about 6-5 and a good leaper and they are physical for an 1A school," said Arnhart. "They just outmanned us a few times there."

Small had seven points and Chase Massey added five as Izard County closed to within six, 33-27, at halftime.

The third quarter saw Street manage to get rebounds and points for Highland without getting a foul called on him. The Rebels had runs of 7-0 and 8-4 to extend their lead to 50-35.

Street had six of his 11 points in the third quarter.

"We've been off since Tuesday. We haven't even been in the gym. We came in a little bit yesterday for a shoot around," explained Arnhart. "So we'd either be rusty or have a little pop to us. I thought we were a little snappy tonight and maybe the layoff helped us."

Gage led the Rebels with 15 points followed by Jordan McGuire with 14 and Preston King's 13.

"We're going to have to play better defense down the stretch than we did tonight," said Harmon. "But even with (McCandlis) if we didn't play any better defense than we did tonight, we weren't going to win the ballgame."

Small had 22 points for the Cougars and Massey added 10.

Keri Kalmus did something against Izard County that she is sometimes reluctant to do in a basketball game; she shot the ball.

She drove to the basket early and often, and she eventually wore down the Lady Cougars.

Kalmus scored 33 game-leading points without a single 3-pointer, just 14 old-fashioned field goals and a perfect five-of-five from the free throw line.

The Lady Cougars made Kalmus' effort a necessity, as they led the 3-4A champions 15-11 after one and 28-27 at halftime.

Lady Rebel senior Jessie Friend, playing for the first time since a knee injury sidelined her at the beginning of the season, marked her return by stealing the ball on the opening possession and feeding it to Kalmus for two points.

"I was really planning to play her about two possessions, but they weren't guarding us hard enough and she could kind of stay out on the floor," said Davis of the still recovering Friend. "I wish she could have been out here all year long, she could have helped us a lot."

Leathyr Spangler helped Izard County rebound by knocking down nine points, while Keressa Campbell put in eight and Trace Grinnell added five in the first half to secure the lead.

Kalmus scored 14 first-half points.

Lady Cougar Head Coach Billy McBride said he liked the way his team competed against Highland and they can take this effort with them into the district tournament.

"I liked that we attacked their pressure in the half court and got some good shots against it," said McBride. "That's kind of been the story. A lot of times we'll hang around in the first half against a team, but we don't have a real deep bench and we kind of wear down."

The Lady Rebels limited Izard County to eight points in the third and 10 points in the fourth. Highland led 43-36 after three. Highland was 15-of-15 from the charity stripe.

Hassi Bray scored 14 points and Alison Price 12 for the Lady Rebs. Campbell led the Lady Cougars with 13 and Rachel Harmon had 13.

ICC was five-of-nine from the free throw line.

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