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story.lead_photo.caption Bud Sullins/Special to Siloam Sunday Siloam Springs sophomore guard Landon Ward goes up for a shot Thursday against Claremore, Okla., during the opening day of the Siloam Springs Holiday Classic. Claremore defeated Siloam Springs 71-57.

The fourth quarter has been a mystery that Siloam Springs can't solve in its last three ballgames.

Siloam Springs pulled within four points of Regent Prep's lead entering the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the Panthers couldn't score for nearly four minutes to open the fourth quarter and the Rams took advantage and gave coach Kerwin Dees a 53-37 victory against his old team Friday in a consolation semifinal in the Siloam Springs Holiday Classic.

"We just felt like we needed to bring the defensive intensity we had earlier in the game," said Dees, the former Siloam Springs head coach and athletics director. "We got some transition baskets. I think that was the difference for us. I've seen Siloam play and it was just tonight was our night to get some easy ones. They're very good at that also. During that stretch, they missed we got some rebounds and fast break baskets, which make a difference."

Regent Prep outscored the Panthers 17-5 in the fourth quarter just one day after Claremore outscored the Panthers 27-14 in the fourth in the tournament's opening day. On Dec. 18, Siloam Springs led Rogers by six going into the fourth quarter and was outscored 24-6 in the final quarter.

"Right now we're struggling when the other team turns the pressure up in the halfcourt and really plays physical," said Siloam Springs coach Tim Stewart. "Out of the last five ballgames we've handled it well once."

After falling behind on the first possession of the game after a Landon Ward 3-pointer, Regent controlled the rest of the ballgame, nearly leading wire to wire.

The Rams led 14-9 after the first quarter and 28-19 at halftime.

The Panthers got back in the ballgame in the third quarter, outscoring Regent Prep 13-8 and pulling within 36-32. A transition basket from Murphy Perkins, a steal and score from Drew Vachon and a 3-pointer from Perkins in the corner had the Panthers back in it heading into the fourth.

But early in the fourth the Panthers couldn't buy a basket missing their first four shots from the field. Regent took advantage with a pair of layups from Jack Wright and a three-point play by Jonathan Buskirk to go up 11 points.

Wright went on to score 12 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter as the Rams pulled away for the win.

"We battled back and felt really good and took some marginal shots with Regent in better rebounding position," Stewart said. "That allowed them to get fastbreak layups. So we'd take a marginal shot. They'd get a layup. It kind of snowballed on us.

"Our kids kept fighting. The energy was good. We didn't make the fundamental plays we needed to make. And give Regent a lot of credit. They were able to be more handsy than we were. We didn't handle their pressure. They double teamed us, trapped us in the halfcourt and we didn't handle it very well."

Buskirk added 12 points for Regent Prep, while Harrison Smith had 10. Perkins led Siloam Springs nine points, while Karson Clement had six, Drew Vachon and Landon Ward five each, Evan Sauer four, Thad Wright and Jordan Stewart each with three and Jacob Wakefield two.

"We weren't able to make those plays down the stretch," Stewart said. "We've got to make more shots. We've got to handle pressure and they got way too many fast break layups."

Dees said it was special to be back in Siloam Springs this week.

"It's just so special to see so many people that I love that loved on my family over the years," Dees said. "I have such respect for this school and this staff and this community. It's just special to be here. I had Mr. (Ken) Ramey speak to our team (Thursday) on leadership. Coach (Jason) McMahan, who used to be the coach here and is now a missionary, spoke to our kids yesterday about their faith and how to live their faith. Tim Stewart is a great coach and does a great job here. I just really loved being back here."

Regent Prep (Okla.) 53, Siloam Springs 37

Regent Prep (Okla.)^14^14^8^17^--^53

Siloam Springs^9^10^13^5^--^37

Regent Prep (3-3): J. Wright 24, J. Buskirk 12, Smith 10, Maresburger 5, D. Buskirk 2.

Siloam Springs (5-6): Perkins 9, Clement 6, Vachon 5, Ward 5, Sauer 4, T. Wright 3, Stewart 3, Wakefield 2.

Claremore, Okla. 71, Siloam Springs 57

Siloam Springs and Claremore, Okla., went nose-to-nose for three quarters on Thursday in the opening round of the Siloam Springs Holiday Classic, with the Zebras holding on to a one-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

But similar to Siloam Springs' previous outing against Rogers, the Panthers unraveled in the fourth quarter and Claremore outscored them 27-14 to take a 71-57 victory at Panther Activity Center.

Siloam Springs led most of the first half, carrying a 13-10 lead after the first quarter and a 28-26 advantage in the second quarter.

The Panthers pulled ahead by six points, 39-33 and their biggest lead of the game, midway through the third quarter after a Murphy Perkins 3-pointer. But Claremore responded with an 8-3 run to tie the game at 42, and the Zebras pulled ahead 44-43 entering the fourth.

After Nate Potts opened up the fourth with a free throw for a 45-43 lead, the Zebras forced two straight turnovers and scored off both for a 50-43 lead.

Caison Hartloff had a transition layup and then followed up with a 3-pointer to give the Zebras a 50-43 advantage.

Perkins got the lead back to five, but Potts hit another 3-pointer to get it back to 53-45.

Jordan Stewart hit a 3-pointer to bring the Panthers back within 53-48, and a Thad Wright free throw cut the deficit to 53-49 with 3:49 left, but the Panthers could get no closer.

Bray Glenn and Hartloff hit back-t0-back 3-pointers for the Zebras and Potts had a basket inside as the Claremore lead quickly ballooned up to 63-51.

The Zebras were off and running from there, leading by as many as 16 down the stretch.

Potts and Glenn each finished with 17 points for Claremore, with Potts scoring 10 in the fourth quarter. Hartloff had eight of his 12 points in the fourth.

Perkins led Siloam Springs with 20 points, while Stewart had seven, Drew Vachon and Evan Sauer each scored six, Landon Ward and Wright each with five and Karson Clement four and Jacob Wakefield each with four.

Claremore, Okla. 71, Siloam Springs 57

Claremore, Okla.^10^16^18^27^--^71

Siloam Springs^13^15^15^14^--^57

Claremore, Okla.: Potts 17, Glenn 17, Hartloff 12, Ewton 8, Priess 7, Wofford 6, Wood 4.

Siloam Springs: Perkins 20, Stewart 7, Vachon 6, Sauer 6, Ward 5, Wright 5, Wakefield 4, Clement 4.

Sports on 12/30/2018

Print Headline: Rams give Dees victory in return

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