Youthful Highlanders looking for consistency

Eureka Springs coach Brian Rambo didn’t know exactly what to expect out of his young team coming into this season, but he knew enough to expect some ups and downs.

With several sophomores playing meaningful minutes for the Highlanders — and the team adjusting to a new style of play to overcome a lack of size — Rambo said finding some consistency will be a key as the season goes on. Eureka Springs’ 46-21 victory over the host team in Decatur tournament on Tuesday, Nov. 14, snapped a three-game losing streak and evened the Highlanders’ record at 6-6.

“We’ve been in almost every ballgame,” Rambo said. “We just don’t have any size. We’re trying to speed the game up a little bit and play in transition. Any time that teams can control the tempo, slow the game down and grind on us, we just have a hard time getting enough stops. So that’s where we’re at right now and we understand that. But most importantly I think we’re growing and each game we’re getting better.”

Eureka Springs has plenty of potential, as it demonstrated in an 8322 victory over Mountain Home Christian Academy on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

“We made 18 three-pointers,” Rambo said. “I don’t remember a game at any point in my career when we made 18 threes.”

Eight of the three-pointers came from senior Michael Lester, Rambo said, with the other 10 coming from sophomores.

“We shot it really good, and that’s kind of who we are right now,” Rambo said. “The nights that we’re able to shoot the ball really well and hang in there offensively, we’re going to compete. When we don’t shoot it well and we get outrebounded, those are nights we’re going to struggle to win.”

Lester is the Highlanders’ senior leader and their most consistent scorer.

“Mike has been great,” Rambo said. “He’s averaging probably about 22 points a game. He went through a game the other night where he scored, I think, six or seven but he kind of bookended that with 30 point games. So once again, we’re kind of where Michael’s at. When Michael rolls out and gets 20 or 25 a night and the other guys chip in and get 12 to 15 we’re pretty good. But if Michael struggles and those young guys struggle to shoot the ball, then offensively we just can’t hang in there. We can’t turn people over. We can’t limit teams to one shot per possession. We’re giving up way too many shots. We’ve got to go out there and just fight.”

The Highlanders will play Cedarville on Friday, Nov. 17, in the Decatur tournament.