Bentonville won’t have any problems scouting its two opponents this week as they played each other Friday night.
Bentonville closes out the first half of 7A-West Conference play with a road game Tuesday night against Rogers Heritage, then returns to Tiger Arena for a Friday night showdown with Bentonville West for the first time.
Bentonville’s boys just missed out on an opportunity to claim a share of the 7A-West lead when Har-Ber edged Fayetteville in overtime Friday night.
So the Tigers will try to keep pace with the Wildcats, and wins over Heritage and West this week would also give Bentonville some separation between the other teams. Bentonville also has the chance to reach the .500 mark and go over it for the first time this season with a pair of wins this week.
The Tigers (8-9, 4-1) made statements last week with a pair of lopsided victories, and they have enjoyed double-digit decisions in league play so far. Bentonville traveled to Springdale and came away with a 50-35 victory, then used a 28-6 run in the fourth quarter to turn its game against Rogers High into a 69-37 rout.
Senior guard Jordan Hemphill has emerged as the Tigers’ leader, particularly on the offensive end. Hemphill scored 20 points in the win against Springdale, then scored Bentonville’s first 11 points against Rogers and finished with a game-high 21.
Heritage (11-7, 3-2) claimed a 52-47 victory over West in their meeting Friday night, but the War Eagles had to hang on for the win. Heritage led by 16 points at one point and had a 32-21 halftime cushion, but needed four free throws by Ty Olsen to cinch the victory after West had cut it to 46-45 on Collin Blackburn’s 3-pointer with 2 minutes remaining.
West (9-9, 2-3) is currently caught in a tailspin, losing three straight games, but the Wolverines have had their moments. They had a 17-12 lead in the second quarter of their game against Har-Ber before everything collapsed, then they made a valiant comeback effort against Heritage before falling short.
Bentonville’s girls continue to go through more than their shares of ups and downs this season, and last week was no exception.
The Lady Tigers (9-9, 2-3) rallied from a nine-point deficit to claim a big road win at Springdale, thanks to Avery Hughes’ three-point play with under a minute remaining to give Bentonville the lead. However, the Lady Tigers let one get away Friday night with a 45-44 loss to Rogers, especially since they didn’t hit a single bucket in the fourth quarter.
This week’s games could allow Bentonville to finish the first half of 7A-West play on a positive note. Their two opponents — Heritage and West — played Friday night, and the Lady Wolverines notched their first 7A-West win in what proved to be a foul-plagued game.
West wound up shooting 48 free throws against Heritage and hit 19 of 27 from the line in the fourth quarter alone. Ashaundi Henry led West with 15 points, and all of them came courtesy of free throws.