BENTONVILLE -- Collier Blackburn's only points of the game Friday night couldn't have come at a better time for Bentonville West's boys.
West 14 16 5 18 -- 53
Bentonville 20 10 8 13 -- 51
West (18-9, 8-6): Hornsby 20, Barron 10, Larsen 7, Bailey 5, Wilmot 5, Collier Blackburn 4, Swoboda 2.
Bentonville (16-9, 8-6): Shanks 16, Baggett 15, Hutchinson 10, Simmons 6, Deffebaugh 2, Chambers 2.
The senior hit the rare four-point play to give the Wolverines the lead with 1 minute, 29 seconds remaining, and they went on to post a 53-51 victory over Bentonville High inside Tiger Arena.
"We just ran the play right, I guess," Blackburn said. "I knew that we needed a big shot and needed points to get up on them. So I just did my job.
"I felt like I was fading out. I caught the ball on the run, and I was fading away. I didn't have much room, but enough to get it off. When they called the foul, the ball was still bouncing on the rim, and my teammates were talking to me. The ball couldn't get any more parts of the rim. It went in, and we celebrated."
Bentonville (16-9, 8-6) led 51-46 after Connor Deffebaugh's free throw with 1:50 remaining, but Gabe Hornsby's two free throws pulled West within three before the Wolverines' defense forced a turnover. Moments later, Blackburn hit his shot and was fouled.
Blackburn sank the free throws to give the Wolverines (18-9, 8-6) a 52-51 lead -- the first time West had led since early in the first quarter. Bentonville had two chances in the closing minute to regain the lead but missed on a pair of long 3-point tries before Boston Barron then hit a free throw with 2.9 seconds remaining to close out the scoring.
"Everybody did their job defensively and executed," West coach Greg White said. "When the breaks weren't going our way, we just found a way to fight. That's the heart of this team, and I love them.
"Collier's shot may be the biggest one in our history right now. We had told him at halftime he needed to show up on both ends. He's our best defenders and one of our leaders. He shot that and hit it, and it was rightful to go in. He's the blood of this team."
Hornsby finished with 20 points and Barron added 10 for West, which becomes the fourth seed in the Class 7A State Tournament. Michael Shanks led Bentonville with 16, followed by Cadarius Baggett with 15 and Asa Hutchinson with 10.
Girls: Bentonville High 68, Bentonville West 38
Bentonville's twin towers proved to be too much as the 6-foot-4 Maryam Dauda and the 6-foot Fess Hawkins combined for 31 points in the Lady Tigers win.
West 9 8 6 15 -- 38
Bentonville (22-6, 11-3): Hawkins 16, Dauda 15, Hughes 12, Palasak 8, Hernandez 5, Sanders 5, Skidmore 3, Spear 2, Wagner 2.
West (9-17, 2-12): Kash 11, Wilson 7, Kultgen 6, Henry 5, Wood 3, Vaughan 3, Clifton 2, Reid 1.
Hawkins, a transfer from Illinois, had 16 points for Bentonville (22-6, 11-3) and also surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career with her fourth point of the game. Dauda, the freshman, finished with 15, while Avery Hughes was right behind with 12.
"We took advantage of the mismatches they gave us," Bentonville coach Tom Halbmaier said. "The kids did a good job of seeing it, making good passes and finishing. That third quarter, they just killed it. They did a great job of executing, hitting high-percentage shots and made that big run."
Dauda scored 10 of her 15 points in the third quarter, and it was her four-point play that sparked a 17-2 run that turned the game into a blowout. She also capped the outburst with an assist, flipping a pass to Hawkins for the bucket with 3 seconds left that made it a 50-23 game heading into the fourth quarter.
"For Maryam to hit that and be able to knock down the free throw as a freshman, that says a lot," Halbmaier said. "That overall run, I think eight or nine assists in that quarter. That's just good team basketball."
Anna Kash was the only player in double figures for Bentonville West (9-17, 2-12).
Preps Basketball on 02/24/2018
Print Headline: Blackburn connects late, sends Wolverines to victory