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Friday, Oct. 21, 2016

Rebels fall to Chickasaws at NEA

Friday, December 26, 2008

CHICK MAGNET: Highland's Justin Bryant lets go of a shot against the Blytheville Chickasaws in the NEA Tournament on the Arkansas State University campus Dec. 20. Photo/Sparks
The Highland Rebels got another mini-vacation as the weather postponed their scheduled game against Pocahontas and their rescheduled game versus Newport.

However, the roads cleared in time for the start of the Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament at the Arkansas State University Convocation Center.

A new format this year guarantees all teams in the 4A-5A-6A bracket at least two games.

With a 53-42 loss to Trumann on Dec. 19 for the right to face Jonesboro, the Rebels put their 0-6 record against Blytheville's 0-6 record in the consolation game on Dec. 20.

Thirty-two turnovers, less than 50 percent shooting from the free throw line and continued poor shooting from the field kept Highland from taking advantage of a down Chickasaw team.

Blytheville may have beaten the Rebels 68-38, but the Chicks will have to play a lot better against 5A-East opponents if they want to win for a second time this year.

It took almost three minutes before either team scored, but Donnie French got Highland on the board with a bucket plus a free throw for a 3-0 lead. This seemed to jump start the Chickasaws who forced three turnovers and scored four times.

Justin Bryant added a free throw, but Blytheville had a 13-4 first quarter lead.

Bryant nailed a trey to open the second and it would be another four minutes before the Rebs scored again when French hit another 3-pointer. The Chicks struggled to put the ball in the hole as Bryant and Zac Hamilton challenged Blytheville for every rebound.

Highland finished the second quarter down 26-14.

Either Blytheville stepped up the pressure or the Rebels tired out in the second half.

The Rebs gave up nine turnovers in both the third and fourth quarters and the Chicks led 40-12 at the end of three.

Bryant led the team with nine points while French and Hamilton added eight apiece.

The rematch against Trumann was much like the first game.

Highland was able to play with the Wildcats throughout the game, but one big quarter kept them from overtaking their conference foe.

French started the Rebs out with a trey and Aaron Kahn closed the quarter with a 3-pointer, but Trumann found the basket early and often to get off to a 21-12 lead.

The Wildcats only outscored the Rebels by two the rest of the game, as the second quarter ended 27-17 and it was 41-30 at the end of three.

Highland (0-7, 0-1) was led by French with 12 points, Bryant put in 10 and Hamilton eight.

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