Bentonville West 2017-18 Preview

Bentonville West Wolverines

Coach: Greg White, second year

Record: 12-16 overall, 5-9 7A-West Conference

Pictures by David Beach – Collier Blackburn of Bentonville West fights for a rebound against Gravette at Bentonville West High School on Saturday, November 20, 2016.

Key Players: F/G Gabe Hornsby (6-4, Sr.), G Collier Blackburn (6-4, Sr.), F Ben Larsen (6-5, Sr.), F Boston Barron (6-5, Sr.), F Levi Rutherford (6-2, Sr.), G Collin Blackburn (6-2, Sr.), G Dillon Bailey (5-9, So.), G Garrett Wilmot (5-10, Sr.), G Hayden White (5-10, Sr.)

Notable: The Wolverines have a benefit game Monday at home against Russellville, then will open their regular season Nov. 21 against Siloam Springs. … West’s interior play, the team’s strength last year, will be just as strong with the return of Hornsby, Larsen, Barron and Rutherford and the addition of Hunter Swoboda, who started at Pulaski Robinson last year. … Collier Blackburn closed out the regular season with a 17-point, 10-rebound performance in the Wolverines’ state tournament game against Little Rock Central. Those two teams will have a rematch next month in Conway. … Bailey, whom Greg White considered moving up as a freshman last year, will be the starting point guard. … West went 17-4 during summer team camps, and White said the four losses could have gone either way.

Quotable: “We’re expecting a lot out of Gabe Hornsby, and Collier Blackburn had a really good fall campaign in the weight room. Ben Barron is going to be a good one. Those are the three guys we really feel we’re going to go through because they are interchangeable and versatile. We’ll have a sophomore point guard again this year, but it’s not by choice. We really like his game. Our post game was what we felt like our strength was last year because we were so big and physical, and we add to that with Hunter Swoboda. With Ben, Drew and Hunter, that gives me us a lot of size and tough guys down low. Right now, we’re just trying to figure out who will play, who will get what minutes, who will accept their role and give us what we need. It could be a different look every night.”

— West coach Greg White.

Bentonville West Lady Wolverines

Coach: Randy Richardson, second year

Record: 3-21, 2-12 7A-West

David Beach – Special to the NWA Democrat-Gazette – Shania Wilson goes up for layup at Bentonville West High School against Gravette, on Saturday November 19, 2016.

Key Players: PG A-shundi Henry (5-0, Sr.), G/F Imani Montgomery (5-7, Sr.), F Shania Wilson (5-11, Jr.), F Kelsey Wood (5-7, Jr.), G Ana Kash (5-6, Jr.), F Allie Clifton (5-9, Jr.), G Kayanne Reid (5-6, Sr.)

Notable: The Lady Wolverines will play a benefit game at home Monday against Russellville, then their season opener against Fort Smith Southside has been moved from Thursday to Friday because of the state football playoffs. … West didn’t keep everybody from last year’s team but did pick up Kash, Clifton and Wood from Bentonville High. … Henry returns to run the offense and has improved on her perimeter shooting, something that the Lady Wolverines lacked last season. … Montgomery and Clifton both return to the team after being out 6 weeks with an injury. … Kash and Clifton started at times at Bentonville last year and should help with West’ scoring.

Quotable: “I really like the group that we have. They work hard, and we raised the demand and the expectations over the summer. The kids are very sold with the program, so we’re excited. Last year, we were very defensive-minded and we had to keep teams under 40 points. If we felt like we could get keep teams down to 40, we were doing something. The 7A-West is a tough road to hoe, but this year I think we can score some points. We have a good mix of kids that can shoot the ball, we have some that can attack the basket hard and we have post players that as good as anybody in the conference.”

— West coach Randy Richardson

Henry Apple

Henry Apple

Henry Apple is a veteran sports reporter for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. His primary beat is Bentonville and Bentonville West, as well as topics that include state schools and the Arkansas Activities Association. During the spring, he handles high school track in Northwest Arkansas. He is a lifelong Arkansas resident.
Henry Apple

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