JONESBORO -- A 3-minute stretch in the fourth quarter made all the difference for Bentonville's girls Friday night.
The Lady Tigers scored the first 14 points of the final quarter to break open a close game and pull away for a 63-52 victory over Jonesboro during the Natural State Hoopfest at Don Riggs Gymnasium.
Sophomore guard Jada Brown knocked down six 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 22 points for Bentonville (11-1), which had trouble holding on to the ball in the first half but shot it well enough to keep Jonesboro at bay.
"We definitely hurt ourselves by throwing it away so much; that's for sure," said Bentonville coach Tom Halbmaier, whose team committed 12 of their 15 turnovers in the first half. "But I'm glad Jada played the way she played. She played a great game and was under control throughout.
"She had one or two mistakes, but for her to play as big as she did was huge."
Senior guard Natalie Smith had 14 points, while junior center Maryam Dauda added 12 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks for the Lady Tigers. Junior guard Rylie Hayes added 10 points.
Senior guard and University of Tennessee signee Destiny Salary had 18 points and sophomore guard Ereauna Hardaway scored 10 points to lead Jonesboro (6-6).
The Lady Tigers held six-point leads on separate occasions in the opening half, but each time, the Lady Hurricane was able to storm back to tie it. Back-to-back baskets from Hardaway and sophomore center Destiny Thomas late in the second quarter tied the game at 18-18 until Brown scored the final five points of the period, including a long 3-pointer from the right wing, to give Bentonville a 23-18 lead at halftime.
Bentonville extended its advantage to as much as 37-27 after a 3-pointer from Smith with 2:57 left in the third quarter, but again, Jonesboro spurted back and was within 45-40 by period's end after a 21-footer from Salary at the buzzer.
The Lady Tigers' back-breaking run at the start of the fourth quarter, however, not only turned the game's momentum, but it essentially dashed any hopes the Lady Hurricane had of mounting a rally. By the time Jonesboro senior guard Kianna Hardaway hit a short jumper with 5:01 to go in the game, the Lady Tigers had built a 59-42 lead.
"This was a test for us because Jonesboro is a really good team," Halbmaier said. "They're physical inside, and seeing both Hardaway and Salary on film doesn't do them justice. Those two are tremendous players.
"This one definitely gets us ready for conference play."
Bentonville (11-1): Brown 22, Smith 14, Dauda 12, Hayes 10, Irlenborn 5.
Jonesboro (6-6): Salary 18, Laws 11, E. Hardaway 10, Thomas 10, Scott 3.
Preps Sports on 01/04/2020
Print Headline: Brown supplies enough offense for Bentonville