Friends are foe for one night
Coaches and longtime friends were matched against each other during Wednesday's makeup game at Fayetteville.
Fayetteville assistant Brad Stamps took over the head coaching duties for Kyle Adams, who missed the game because he was sick. It was Stamps' first head coaching assignment since he left Springdale High as head coach to join the Purple Bulldogs.
Stamps was matched against Bentonville West coach Greg White, his former assistant at Springdale and Shiloh Christian. Fayetteville won 69-63 in a game that was tough, physically for the players and mentally for the two coaches on opposite ends of the scorers' table.
"That was tough. That was tough," Stamps said about going up against his former assistant. "Greg and I spent a lot of years and a lot of time together. Looking down there and see him battling me, and I'm battling him, was fun but it was also tough because there's a lot of history between us."
Jon Conley scored 17 points and Collin Cooper 16 to lead Fayetteville to its fourth consecutive victory. Bentonville West held a 51-50 lead in the fourth quarter before Fayetteville regained control behind the play of Conley and Cooper, who combined to make 13 of 16 free throws. The Bulldogs also received a boost off the bench from senior guard Quinn Schach, who made a basket, two free throws, and contributed defensively in the fourth quarter when Fayetteville regained the lead.
"Quinn is one of the leaders of our basketball team," Stamps said. "When he's out on the floor, I know we're going to get his best effort every time. He's a winner and he came through for us when we needed him the most."
Fayetteville (14-7, 7-2) remains tied with Springdale Har-Ber for first place in the 7A-West heading into tonight's game with Rogers High. The Mounties (7-15, 0-9) lost 53-31 to Rogers Heritage on Wednesday.
-- Rick Fires • @NWARick
FORT SMITH SOUTHSIDE
Mavericks pushing for state tournament berth
Fort Smith Southside's boys basketball team hasn't been to a state tournament since 2012, but the Mavericks came up with back-to-back wins recently to put them right into the conversation.
Southside (12-11, 4-5 7A-Central) came up with a huge 65-59 win over Cabot on Tuesday, avenging a pair of 18-point losses to the Panthers earlier this season. That came on the heels of a win over Conway on Friday, which avenged a 23-point loss a month ago.
Southside coach Charlie Cooper said his team's making better decisions offensively recently. But he also moved junior Taye Gatewood to the point recently, too.
"Ike Moore's shooting the ball well, but Dillon Hamilton's really done a good job inside for us," Cooper said. "He's only about 6-2 or 6-3, but he's getting good positioning where the guards can find him. Every night we take the floor in the Central he's going against guys 6-5 or taller."
Hamilton had a team-high 19 in the win over Cabot, while Moore added 17, but Cooper said the play of his bench can't be overlooked in this recent stretch where the Mavericks have won four of six.
"I really can't emphasize that enough," Cooper said. "Elijah York, Jordyn Jackson and Jaylin Coleman's giving us some great defense. We're getting a lot of mileage out of bench. We're playing anywhere from seven to nine guys now. Another thing is we have five guys who played football and it's taken them a while to get acclimated."
Southside just missed out on a state tournament berth two years ago when Rogers Heritage knocked off Springdale Har-Ber in the final game of the season. The War Eagles clipped Southside thanks to tiebreaker points and left the Mavericks at home.
But the recent win over Cabot puts Southside in fifth place and a game ahead of the Panthers and Little Rock Central int he 7A-Central standings.
-- Paul Boyd • @NWAPaulB
Warriors ready for postseason
Western Grove appears to be rounding into postseason form according to coach Lendall Martin.
The Warriors (21-11) have won five straight games and secured the No. 2 seed in next week's 1A-East District Tournament to be played at North Arkansas Community College in Harrison. Western Grove has a bye to the semifinals and already secured a berth in the regional tournament in two weeks in Alpena.
"It's a long basketball season especially for non-football schools, but I think we're ready," Martin said. "We've played 32 games and that's what you play for all season to do as well as you can in the postseason. The kids are anxious for the posteason."
Martin said the team has meshed well with the addition of 6-2 Champ Saylors, who moved in at semester.
"He's gradually getting more comfortable," Martin said. "And that's really helped our depth. We were really only playing six players and now we have seven. It's helped us quite a bit."
Martin said they should also get some help from a junior high team that won the conference title and is currently 23-2 following the completion of its district tournament this week.
The Warriors had their game against Flippin on Tuesday cancelled because of winter weather. They close the regular season tonight with a tall task when they travel to 32-1 Omaha.
-- Paul Boyd • @NWAPaulB
Sportsmanship rule surprises Rippee
First-year Bentonville boys coach Dick Rippee admitted he was caught a little off-guard by the final 8 minutes of Wednesday's game against Van Buren.
The reason was the continuously running clock, courtesy of Brayden Freeman's buzzer-beater that gave the Tigers a 59-28 lead at the end of the third quarter. Under the Arkansas Activities Association's sportsmanship rule, the clock will only stop for timeouts whenever a team has a 30-point lead any time after the start of the fourth quarter.
Rippee, however, was accustomed to Missouri's version of the rule since he had coached there a number of years before taking over the Bentonville job. Missouri has a running clock when a lead reaches 30 points, but the game returns to a regular clock if that lead ever drops below 30 points -- which happened when Van Buren opened the fourth quarter with a Jordan West bucket and made the score 59-30.
"We're having to learn on the run," Rippee said. "I was trying to give some of our guys one more run because I kept waiting for the clock to stop, and it didn't. I knew that clock was running really fast for some reason. I was so wrapped up in helping some of our guys out that I never watched the clock.
"But it was a good night. We were able to get everybody into the game and enjoy a victory. Hopefully we can experience some like that again."
The win allowed Bentonville (14-6, 6-3) to remain one game back of Springdale Har-Ber and Bentonville in the 7A-West Conference standings with five games remaining. The Tigers return to action tonight when they travel to Har-Ber.
"All of our remaining games will be big," Rippee said. "But the game against Har-Ber will be the biggest one, simply because it's the next one."
-- Henry Apple • @NWAHenry
Lady Bulldogs fighting for high seed
There are five games remaining in the regular season, and Springdale High is right in the thick of the chase for a No. 2 seed in the 7A state tournament.
The Lady Bulldogs (15-7, 6-3) are tied with Bentonville High, also 6-3 in league play, in second place behind undefeated Fayetteville. The top two seeds earn first-round byes in the state tournament. scheduled for Feb. 28-March 3 in North Little Rock.
On Wednesday, Springdale turned up the defense and knocked off crosstown rival Springdale Har-Ber on the road. Rivalry games are usually spirited and this one was no exception, but Lady Bulldogs coach Heather Hunsucker said all the remaining games will carry a lot of implications.
"I think any time you're down to six games, it's going to be tight," Hunsucker said. "I'm just really proud of our team. I feel like our team is getting back to Springdale basketball. We hit some adversity with several different things and I just really feel that our best basketball is still ahead of us."
Junior Marquesha Davis, an elite-level player who is drawing a lot of Division I interest, was big again Wednesday night, but several Lady Bulldogs made key contributions to the 42-35 win, Hunsucker said.
"I've been saying all year that we are a team. We have a lot of parts and pieces," Hunsucker said. "I feel like Sarah Vogel, Ashlyn Minchew, Olivia James, I just feel like they're continuing to come on and that's only going to help us."
Springdale has a road game at Bentonville West tonight, then hosts Bentonville on Tuesday in a huge league game and another next Friday at Van Buren. Bentonville beat Springdale by 20 points, 58-38, in their first meeting.
-- Chip Souza • @NWAChip
Lady Pioneers stumble, but still in chase
The momentum from last Friday's huge one-point win against Gravette did not carry over Wednesday night for the Gentry Lady Pioneers in a 37-30 loss to Greenland.
Gentry (16-7, 14-3) can still earn what will likely be the No. 2 seed in next week's 4A-1 Conference tournament with a win at Shiloh Christian. That game was played Thursday night.
"We were just flat and I think we had a big letdown," Gentry coach Toby Tevebaugh said. "But Greenland did a lot of things that hurt us. We just didn't have our best night."
Gentry also lost leading scorer Hannah Boss to an ankle injury and she was not expected to play against Shiloh Christian. Tevebaugh said she should be OK for the conference tournament, which starts Monday at Lincoln.
If Gentry can hold on to the No. 2 seed, it likely would face No. 7 Pea Ridge in the first round at 7 p.m. Monday. Tevebaugh said the conference tournament would be a dogfight with most of the teams fairly even.
"Every first-round game could go either way," he said. "Pea Ridge is a seven seed and Gravette is a two or three seed and it was a two-point game two weeks ago. There is not a bad team in our league."
Berryville and Huntsville will jump from District 4 into the conference tournament, and Berryville is expected to be the No. 1 seed with just one loss this season.
"They are the real deal," Tevebaugh said of Berryville. "They are a state championship caliber team, and Huntsville will be solid."
-- Chip Souza • @NWAChip
Fayetteville assistant coach Brad Stamps gets the attention of his team Jan. 30 at War Eagle Arena in Rogers.
Bentonville West coach Greg White calls a play Jan. 19 at Bentonville West High School in Centerton.
Sports on 02/09/2018
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