ROGERS HERITAGE--With time ticking away in the second quarter, the Rogers Heritage Lady War Eagles called a play clinging to a three-point lead. A shot resulted in a clank off the front of the rim, but the ball bounced around until it went into the hands of Kayla Richardson, who banked in a shot as time expired and gave her team the momentum it needed to earn a 55-52 victory over Bentonville West for its first conference victory Friday night.
Rogers Heritage 17 14 8 16--55
Bentonville West 14 12 11 15--52
Rogers Heritage: Dickerson 11, Seiler 10, Menke 9, Richardson 8, Kinnamon 5, Combs 4, Rohrbaugh 4, Brooks 2, Pabon 2
Bentonville West: Kash 12, Henry 9, Wilson 9, Clifton 7, Kultgen 7, Wood 5, Reid 3
"We were all pumping each other up, and (the shot) helped a lot," said senior forward Kayla Richardson, who drilled the shot as the buzzer sounded. "I was just trying to take care of the ball and shoot my shot."
Richardson's shot gave the Lady War Eagles an enormous boost heading to the locker room. She doesn't generally take shots outside the paint, despite her ability to hit them in practice, said Heritage coach Scott Moore.
"We had a play set, and once we missed, I just started yelling, 'Swing it, swing it'," Moore said. "It just ended up in Kayla's hands. She can actually shoot it out there. She doesn't have the confidence to shoot it in a game, but she'll do it in practice. I thought it had a pretty good chance to go in, and it did."
Richardson finished the game with eight points, six rebounds and two assists. The buzzer beater gave her team the confidence to finish business in the second half, she said.
"I think we just wanted it more and handled it well," Richardson said.
The Lady War Eagles trailed 9-3 early in the first quarter and picked up a number of fouls to boot. The home team's foul troubles continued into the second quarter before the girls came out of the locker room with a renewed energy on the defensive end.
"We dig holes to start off all the time. I swear they use that as a motivational tactic on themselves," Moore said. "I let them play through it. That's just the maturity of the team, the confidence in themselves and the trust in the process."
In the second half, several potential Lady Wolverines runs were squashed by stellar defensive play from Heritage. Richardson was one of the players who closed off passing lanes and forced turnovers.
"When she's having a good game offensively and defensively, it provides energy for our team," Moore said. "She's active on the defensive end, and she's probably our best post defender in a zone (defense) because she's so active."
Heritage was led in scoringt by junior forward Danielle Dickerson, who scored 11. Anna Kash led Bentonville West with 12 points.
Boys: Bentonville West 53, Rogers Heritage 46
Senior forward Ben Larsen laughed with his teammates as he crossed the court to shoot two free throws with seconds left in Bentonville West's 53-46 victory over Rogers Heritage on Friday night.
Rogers Heritage 8 9 15 14--46
Bentonville West 11 8 18 16--53
Rogers Heritage: Stanley 22, Breedlove 16, Olsen 7, Peck 1
Bentonville West: Larsen 16, Blackburn 13, Bailey 6, Blackburn 6, Barron 4, Swoboda 4, Hornsby 2, Wilmot 2
Just like he'd done the entire second half, Larsen delivered, knocking down both attempts to seal the game.
"We love road games," Larsen said. "We love coming into an environment with a tough crowd because we feed off them."
Larsen's strong second-half performance started on the defensive end, where he took a charge on two consecutive possessions midway through the third quarter. The plays gave the Wolverines' offense momentum on the other end, Bentonville West coach Greg White said.
"It's unselfish," White said. "He gives his body up (to win). He's got teeth marks on his shoulder from last game when he got tangled up. Even by the way he checks in the game, he dives in head first. It's a pleasure to have a guy that works that hard and plays like that."
Larsen finished with 16 points, many coming from layups. Pregame film study revealed a lapse in Heritage's low-post advantage, and the Wolverines took advantage of that by targeting the low block.
"Last time we played them, we were shooting really well and beat them by 30," White said. "We wanted to focus on the inside this time, and that's one of our strengths."
Collier Blackburn scored 13 to round out Bentonville West's double-digit scorers. For Heritage, the War Eagles were led by senior guard Seth Stanley, who finished with 22. Bryce Breedlove added 16.
Preps Basketball on 02/17/2018
Print Headline: Basketball: Lady War Eagles claim first 7A-West win