So close. The Highland Lady Rebels were so close to picking up their first victory of the season, but a bad fourth quarter kept them from it. Highland was tied with Jonesboro-Westside late in the third quarter, only to fall, 59-49, at Gosnell on Monday, Jan. 14.
The Lady Rebels also fell to Jonesboro-Westside, 55-45, at Highland on Thursday, Jan. 17. It was a brutal game with a lot of pushing, shoving, elbow swinging and at least one bloody lip.
The gentleman Rebels avenged a 37-point loss at Valley View in December by winning three of four quarters and ultimately the game, 66-53, at home on Tuesday, Jan. 15.
They could not do the same against the Wildcats losing at Trumann, 59-42, on Friday, Jan. 18.
Gosnell jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but Highland went on a 9-2 run thanks to six points from Kylie Severn and finished the quarter up, 16-10.
The Lady Rebels extended their lead with a 5-0 run to start the second, but Gosnell took the lead with three seconds left behind two three-pointers. Cassidy Berton's buzzer trey gave Highland a 28-26 halftime advantage.
Gosnell started the second half with a bucket plus one to retake the lead. Hope Isaacs returned it to Highland, but it would be their last one of the game. Isaacs scored 10 points in the third, including a shot to tie the score at 41-all, but Gosnell led 43-41 at the end of the period.
Highland struggled to get a shot in the fourth, and Gosnell went 6 of 10 from the free throw line.
Issacs led Highland with 26 points and Severn added 9.
You couldn't tell the end from the beginning as Valley View hit two treys and had a 10-0 lead before Cody Odell hit the backend of his two free throw shots. Avery Johnson scored seven points in Highland's 13-2 run to take a first quarter lead.
"They started off, they were ahead of us 10 to nothing, and the kids could have hung it up right there," said Rebel Coach Jeremy Lewis. "They didn't. Down the stretch, we just executed and made some big shots."
The two teams exchanged the lead seven times with Valley View up 26-25 at halftime.
Ethan Hoppe retook the lead on consecutive layups-plus-one midway through the third. The Blazers went up 39-38 near the end, but Hoppe got a put back for the lead.
Spenser Stowers hadn't scored a point in the entire game, but started the fourth with a layup and then went to the free throw line 18 times. He made 14 of them to seal the victory.
"We've been trying to narrow things down. Win the possession. Win the quarter. Win the half," explained Lewis. "Talking to kids in that aspect, and none of the quarters did get away from us."
Johnson led Highland with 25 points, Stowers added 16 and Hoppe 14.
It was at this game that fans learned that Sterling Stowers would be out for the rest of the season. The knee injury he suffered in the football playoff game against Ozark wasn't healing properly.
"Everybody just has to move up a spot in the rotation," said Lewis. "We're going to miss Sterling's leadership. He's a tough kid and I appreciate everything he's done for us."
The Lady Rebels found themselves down 16-9 after one period, and 29-18 at halftime.
In the first half, Highland had six fouls compared to Westside's three. In the second half, as the Lady Rebs started to hit more shots, the foul calls gained momentum. Westside had eight fouls and Highland 14, including five for Isaacs. Shaina Manning left the game in the third with a bloody lip.
With the score 43-24 late in the third, Isaacs scored seven straight points to cut into the score, but the Lady Warriors recovered for a 47-30 lead.
Highland started on the fourth on a 6-0 run and had another 6-0 run late in the game, but it was too late.
Issacs led Highland (0-18, 0-10) with 25 points and Severn added 9.
The Rebels were down just 28-20 at halftime against Trumann, but gave up a 19-6 third quarter to go down 47-26. They outscored the Wildcats 16-12 in the fourth.
Highland (5-10, 2-6) was led by Odell with 19 and Hoppe with 12.