BENTONVILLE --Bentonville High finally put away a persistent Rogers High team late in the fourth quarter Friday night, finishing the game on a 15-5 run.
Rogers 11 10 6 5 -- 32
Bentonville 17 7 10 7 -- 41
Rogers (12-15, 5-7): Loyd 7, Storey 6, Figenskau 6, McConnell 6, Hatch 3, Risenhoover 2, Covington 2
Bentonville (20-5, 9-3): Hughes 16, Hawkins 12, Dauda 8, Sanders 2, Smith 2, Palasak 1
Bentonville (20-5, 9-3) struggled against Rogers' shooters early in the game, but a second-half defensive adjustment proved to be the difference maker in the Tigers' 41-32 win over the Mounties (12-15, 5-7).
"They finished strong. I thought they did a really good job the last quarter and a half finishing the game," Bentonville coach Tom Halbmaier said.
Bentonville led a majority of the game, but Rogers took the lead in the third quarter when London Hatch made a 3-pointer to put the Mounties up by one.
The lead would not last long as Fess Hawkins would come down on the next possession and score, but it was enough to get the Tigers to jump into a man defense, going away from their usually zone.
"When they started stretching our zone out, it kind of made it more difficult," Halbmaier said. "It kind of kept us off-balance."
The Mounties shot six three pointers on the night, but only one of those came after Bentonville made the switch on defense. The Tigers kept Rogers to two baskets in the fourth quarter.
Avery Hughes reaped the benefits of Bentonville's stingy defense, scoring a majority of her points on fast break opportunities. Almost like clockwork, the junior would receive the outlet pass, drive toward the left side of the basket, fake she was about to go back right and then hit her defender with a crossover, giving her enough space to score or go to the foul line.
She scored nine of her game-high 16 points in the first quarter and finished six-of-eight from the free-throw line to pace the Tigers' offense.
"When she's in the open court, that to me is when she really excels," Halbmaier said. "She finishes the ball really well in transition, and for the most part, I kind of felt like every time she had the basketball in her hands, she just had that confidence. I want that for her, and tonight I thought she played really well."
Bentonville will travel to take on Rogers Heritage in its next game, while Rogers will play at Bentonville West.
Boys: Bentonville 60, Rogers 33
Bentonville (15-8, 7-5) rode strong nights from three of its players to beat the Rogers and clinch a spot in the Class 7A state tournament.
Rogers 9 9 7 8-- 33
Bentonville 14 16 13 17 -- 60
Rogers (7-18, 0-12): Paschal 13, Dake 5, J. Uecker 5, Early 3, Satchel 2, Miller 2, Lacewell 2, Jones 1
Bentonville (15-8, 7-5): Hutchinson 21, Shanks 12, Simmons 12, Freeman 5, Baggett 4, Beach 4, Deffebaugh 2
Asa Hutchinson, Colton Simmons and Michael Shanks all finished with double-digit points to pace a Tiger offense that outscored the Mounties in every quarter.
Hutchinson led all scorers with 21 points, scoring most of them in the paint.
"Asa can score inside, he can score outside, he's got a dislocated pinkie right now that he's playing through," Bentonville coach Dick Rippee said. "He's a tough kid and playing through it, but his overall game has improved so much since we got here on campus, and I'm just really proud of him."
Rogers (7-18, 0-12) struggled to hit open shots. Sophomore Elliott Paschal led the Mounties with 13.
The last time these two teams faced each other, Rogers' Drew Miller dropped 24 on Bentonville, but the sophomore was limited just two points Friday night.
"I thought Baggett and Shanks kind of took turns at him, in particularly Baggett was really good," Rippee said. [Miller] didn't get any open looks, and [Baggett] made him work really hard just to catch it. I thought we did a much better job on him tonight."
Even with this team's dominant performance, Rippee thinks there is still room for improvement ahead of the state tournament.
"There were some times our guy didn't make the extra pass and that's something you're going to have to just get better at," Rippee said. "This time of the year it should already be done, so we got some things to still work on."
Preps Basketball on 02/17/2018
Print Headline: Basketball: Lady Tigers pull away late