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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE Fayetteville's Collin Cooper (center) reaches to score in transition ahead of Bentonville West's Kade Ruffner Friday, Jan. 4, 2018, during the first half of play in Bulldog Arena. Visit to see more photographs from the game.

FAYETTEVILLE -- It's not a good sign when an opposing player has one point less than your whole team halfway through the game.

That's what happened to Bentonville West during its 76-39 defeat at Fayetteville on Friday in the 6A-West Conference opener at Bulldog Arena.

Collin Cooper had 18 points at halftime when the Bulldogs led 37-19. Cooper finished with 25 to lead Fayetteville, which jumped to an 11-0 lead. Cooper had 10 points in the first quarter to stake Fayetteville to a 19-10 lead.

Cooper was eager to get back on the court after missing three games because of a high ankle sprain during a tournament last week at Poplar Bluff, Mo. The Bulldogs (10-3, 1-0) beat Humbolt, Tenn., 72-55 to finish third in the tournament.

"Coop came out on fire, and that made a big difference," Fayetteville coach Kyle Adams said. "He's 100 percent now, and he was anxious to get back on the floor. I was happy he got to shine tonight because it was hurting him sitting on the bench."

Cooper was still stuck on 18 points when Bentonville West crept to within 43-29 in the third quarter. But Tamaury Releford picked up the slack with three quick baskets, including a slam dunk on a nearly court-length pass.

Cooper followed with a 3-pointer, and the Bulldogs took a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Releford finished 14 points for Fayetteville, which placed 11 players in the scoring column. Traven Hardiman had 12 points to lead Bentonville West.

"Tamaury's a load in the paint," Adams said. "Once we figured out that he's the guy to go to on the block, I was proud of the guys for doing that."

Bentonville West 10 9 13 7 -- 39

Fayetteville 19 18 15 24 -- 76

Bentonville West (6-8, 0-1): Hardiman 12, Bailey 9, Da. Bailey 5, Ruffner 4, Connor 4, White 3, Buccino 2.

Fayetteville (10-3, 1-0): Cooper 25, T. Releford 14, Garrett 7, Barnett 6, A. Releford 6, I. Releford 5, Blake 4, White 3, Wayman 2, Askew 2, Bowers 2.

Rogers High 45, Van Buren 40

The Mounties wiped away a 28-game conference losing streak to begin 6A-West play on Friday evening.

Rogers (11-3, 1-0) never trailed but could never quite put the Pointers away either.

Rogers coach Lamont Frazier was pleased with how his team reacted to Van Buren's slower pace. But he didn't say much about the losing streak following the game.

"We're used to getting out and pushing the tempo a little bit," Frazier said. "This was more controlled, possession by possession. That's fine, we'll take the win as it came. Not right now, because I felt like we should have been a lot better than we were tonight."

The Mounties led by as many as 10 in the fourth quarter, but senior Logan Brothers hit a pair of 3-pointers late to get Van Buren within 43-40 with 13.9 seconds remaining.

But Drew Miller hit a pair of free throws to set the final score.

Brothers led all scorers with 16 points, including four 3-pointers. Brayden Gilmore was also in double figures with 10 for the Pointers (4-10, 0-1). Van Rhame, a 6-4 sophomore, led a balanced scoring attack for Rogers with nine, while Derek Hobbs and freshman Will Liddell added eight each.

Van Buren 5 11 7 17 -- 40

Rogers 9 14 9 13 -- 45

Van Buren (4-10): Brothers 16, Gilmore 10, Phillips 8, Newton 3, Rios 3.

Rogers (11-3): Rhame 9, Hobbs 8, Liddell 8, Park 5, Paschal 5,Miller 5,Voigt 3, Uecker 1, Carter 1.

Bentonville High 61, Springdale Har-Ber 47

Connor Deffebaugh's steal and dunk broke a 22-22 tie just before halftime, and Colton Simmons hit seven 3-pointers to lead Bentonville past Har-Ber in Tiger Arena.

Sawyer Pride hit a 3-pointer to start the second half, then Simmons drilled two more as the Tigers (11-3, 1-0) extended their lead to 33-22 with 6:34 left in the third quarter, and Har-Ber (4-7, 0-1) couldn't get any closer than eight points.

"The second half, I thought our motion spread them out a little bit," Bentonville coach Dick Rippee said. "We had better spacing, and our second cuts were better where we got some guys some open looks. It certainly makes it look a lot better when you're making shots, and our guys made baskets."

Simmons, whose fifth 3-pointer beat the buzzer and gave Bentonville a 41-29 lead after three quarter, finished with 27 while Brayden Simmons added 13. Lawson Jenkins led Har-Ber with 21, including five 3-pointers, while Nick Buchanan chipped in 12.

Har-Ber 7 15 7 18 -- 47

Bentonville 13 11 17 20 -- 61

Har-Ber (4-7, 0-1): Jenkins 21, Buchanan 12, Bishop 5, McRae 5, Seawood 2, Pieroni 2.

Bentonville (11-3, 1-0): Simmons 27, Freeman 13, Price 5, Smith 5, Shanks 4, Spencer 3, Deffebaugh 2, Chambers 2.

Springdale High 57, Rogers Heritage 39

The Bulldogs saw a big first-half lead melt away in the third quarter, but senior Vincent Mason scored 9 of his game-high 21 points in the third quarter to help Springdale win its home and 6A-West opener.

Springdale (7-5, 1-0) held Heritage (5-8, 0-1) scoreless for almost 8 minutes in the first half and built a 20-5 lead. The War Eagles came out of halftime and pulled within 31-23 when the Bulldogs were hit with a technical and a shooting foul. Tyler Furuseth, who scored 9 points for Heritage, hit 3 of 4 free throws to make it an 8-point game.

Mason took over in the final eight minutes, hitting three shots and going 3 of 4 at the free-throw line.

"This was a big win for us," Mason said. "We practiced all week to get off to a good start in conference, and we had the crowd behind us."

Brandon Henry scored 13 for the Bulldogs. Logan Clines and Jason Kimball scored 10 points each for Heritage.

Heritage 5 7 13 14 -- 39

Springdale 12 14 10 21 -- 57

Heritage (5-8, 0-1): Clines 10, Kimball 10, Furuseth 9, Hill 6, Saucier 2, Ingram 1.

Springdale (7-5, 1-0): Mason 21, Henry 13, Boyd 7, Eckwood 7, Hignite 6, Sanders 2, Owens 1.

Sports on 01/05/2019

Print Headline: Cooper returns to ignite Fayetteville past Wolverines

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