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Fayetteville holds off Bentonville; Lady Tigers work overtime to beat Lady Bulldogs

The Bulldogs are undefeated in 6A-West Conference play.

By Steve Andrews | Photos by Sadie Rucker

FAYETTEVILLE — Bentonville was able to keep it close until the end Wednesday night, but the homecourt advantage and some sharp shooting by Fayetteville down the stretch was enough for the Bulldogs to claim a 75-68 victory in the hotly-contested 6A-West.

“That was a really good basketball game,” Fayetteville coach Brad Stamps said. “It was two teams that just battled, and that’s what a Bentonville-Fayetteville basketball game is supposed to be about. I feel like we beat a really good basketball team tonight.”

Sophomores Jadyn Haney and Ornette Gaines got the Bulldogs (14-4, 6-0) off quickly with back-to-back 3-pointers. But Bentonville’s 6-foot-9 sophomore Caden Miller was up to the challenge for the Tigers, scoring 7 of his 13 points in the first quarter.

“Early in the game, we let them get away a couple of times in transition, and that’s what they like to do and that’s what they are best at,” Bentonville coach Dick Rippee said. “And good teams make you pay when you slip up, and that’s what they did.”

Haney and senior Landon Glasper pushed the pace for the Bulldogs all night. Glasper scored on a putback, then knocked down a pair of free throws early in the second quarter, then hit a long-range three to give Fayetteville 25-20 lead.

“I thought Jaden Haney was phenomenal and showed why he is one of the best point-guards in the state,” Stamps said of his floor general, who finished with 13 points, including 6-for-6 at the free throw line. “He delivered tonight.”

After Fayetteville extended the lead to eight midway through the quarter, Bentonville outscored the Bulldogs 9-5 to end the first half, getting 3-pointers from Hayden Shanks and Harrison Hicks to cut the lead to 39-36.

Shanks led Bentonville (13-6, 3-3) with 19 points, including three from beyond the arc, and a perfect 8 of 8 from the free throw line.

“Fayetteville created some matchup issues for us, so we played more possessions of zone defense tonight than I have in my entire career,” Rippee said. “It was a necessity and I thought we did some good things out of it. I just thought it was a great high school basketball game.”

The teams went bucket for bucket for the majority of the third quarter, but it was a pair of 3-pointers by another sophomore, Mason Simpson, who sent the Bulldogs to the final quarter up 54-50.

“Mason is just another one of those sophomores we have and really hit some big shots for us tonight,” Stamps added.

Junior Xander Collins canned back-to-back threes for Bentonville early in the fourth to tie the score at 56. Jaylen Lee’s triple just two minutes later then gave Bentonville a 59-58 lead with 4:24 to play in the game.

Fayetteville then went on an 8-0 run, including a steal and break-away dunk by Glasper.

“We just knew we had to come into this game playing really hard, and stick to our gameplan like [Stamps] told us,” said Glasper, who tallied a game-high 25 points. “I think our defense was the difference. Just boxing out and keeping them off the glass. I think we were able to create a lot of mismatches with our offense, and that led to some open shots.”

The Bulldogs hit 6-of-8 free throws in the final minute to put the game on ice.

“Our kids stepped up to the challenge,” Stamps said. “There was some courage, there was some confidence, and there was some toughness that we had to have to win a game like this. And I’m very proud of that.

“In our league, it’s all about the matchups. Every game is different, they are played different. Ultimately it boils down to the kids’ will to win.”

Gaines netted 18 points for Fayetteville, with Simpson chipping in 12.

It was the second loss in two nights for the defending 6A-West champion Tigers, who fell 60-52 in overtime to Springdale Tuesday night.

“We had a tough night last night, so tonight was just another opportunity to come out and compete, and I thought that’s what our guys did,” Rippee said. “Our entire league is better than it was last year, from top to bottom, and I think we are better than we were. But right now, we are in a little bit of a funk and trying to work through some things. But our guys are continuing to play really hard, and I am proud of them.

Fayetteville will welcome Springdale Har-Ber Friday night, while Bentonville will play host to Fort Smith Southside.

Bentonville 54, Fayetteville 52, OT (GIRLS)

Fayetteville rallied from an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit Wednesday night to force overtime against Bentonville, but in the end, it was ultimately the Lady Tigers who prevailed, 54-52.

Bentonville (11-6, 3-2) outscored Fayetteville 8-6 in the overtime period, as Jada Brown sunk a pair of late free throws, them San Rhuda made 3 of 4 from the stripe in the final 30 seconds to lift the Lady Tigers.

Trailing 38-20 heading to the final quarter, junior point guard Wynter Beck scored 10 of her game-high 18 points for Fayetteville (8-11, 3-3), as the Lady Bulldogs roared back to take the lead. Beck’s steal and layup with 2:15 to play in regulation gave Fayetteville a 44-42 lead.

Junior Abbey Kate Sanders then scored all four of her points – a layup and two free throws -- in the final minute to send the game to the extra period, tied 46-46.

“Fayetteville did a great job getting back in the game, and we were just doing a poor job taking care of the basketball,” Bentonville coach Tom Halbmaier said. “But I’m proud of my kids, because they found a way to win in the overtime.

Beck’s two free throws gave the Lady Bulldogs a 50-49 advantage with 2:26 left, it was the Lady Tigers who made them count in the end.

“Sam and Abbey Kate hit some

 big free throws for us, and we made the plays down the stretch that we needed to,” Halbmaier said.

Rhuda led Bentonville with 15 points, going 11-of-15 from the foul line. Loren Lindsey and Morgan Gaines each added 11 for Fayetteville.

“This is a difficult conference to compete in, with a lot of great teams,” Halbmaier added. “Then you throw in COVID and all the other adversities we have to deal with. But our kids continued to play hard and showed a lot of resilience tonight.”

Fayetteville hosts Springdale Har-Ber Friday night, as the Lady Tigers welcome Fort Smith Southside.