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Girls Basketball: Davis guides Springdale's fourth-quarter rally

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Photographs by Ben Goff

Kearah Conley (52) of Springdale fouls Shania Wilson (00) of Bentonville West as she shoots in Springdale’s 56-53 victory Friday night in Springdale.

SPRINGDALE -- Springdale High junior Marquesha Davis was the highest-scoring player on the court Friday night, but it was not until the fourth quarter before she really did her damage.

Davis scored 13 of her 23 points at the end of the game to help the Bulldogs stave off an upset bid from Bentonville West (7-9, 0-3) during Springdale's 56-53 win over the Lady Wolverines.

Davis and teammate Jeniya Gause led their team on a 12-point run to open the fourth that gave the Bulldogs (13-4, 3-0) the lead back for the first time since about two minutes into second half.

The run came after Bentonville West went on its own 10-point run in the third quarter that led to the Wolverines hanging onto a 43-36 lead headed into the fourth quarter.

Springdale coach Heather Hunsucker said her team had been in similar experiences before and credits the Bulldogs' resilience for her team's win.

"I said to them, 'Guys we were down eight points to Van Buren with less than three minutes to go at Paragould on a neutral court, and came back and won,'" Hunsucker said. "I said, 'We've got another run in us. Let's go make a run,' and I thought when they came out, they did that."

Davis started the game off slow with only three first-half baskets, which was characteristically unusually for her, Hunsucker said. But during Davis' quiet half, the Bulldogs had other options to turn to. Sarah Vogel scored nine of her 13 points in the first half and four others chipped in a basket to make up the difference in scoring.

"Our team was just scoring before she had a chance to score," Hunsucker said. "What I liked about Marquesha was how she responded when it was time to respond."

After playing man defense a majority of the first half, the Wolverines jumped into a zone in the second half that stifled the Bulldogs' hot hands early in the third quarter, giving West the chance to make its run.

Springdale settled down into their zone offense, spelling an end to West's zone defense's effectiveness, and hit some open looks that were not falling for them in the third, Hunsucker said.

"We're almost more comfortable in zone than we are in man because we've seen zone so many more times," Hunsucker said. "I bet in our 17 games, all but six or seven quarters have been zone."

Shania Wilson led all West scorers with 16 and was followed by Anna Kash and Kelsie Mahone with eight points apiece.

SPRINGDALE 56, BENTONVILLE WEST 53

Bentonville West 14 10 19 10 -- 53

Springdale 11 13 12 20 -- 56

Bentonville West (7-9): Wilson 16, Kash 8, Mahone 8, Montgomery 6, Kultgen 6, Henry 5, Clifton 2, Wood 2.

Springdale (13-4): Davis 23, Vogel 13, Gause 10, Caldwell 4, James 4, Minchew 2

Boys: Bentonville West 61, Springdale 50

The Wolverines (12-4, 2-1) came away from Springdale (9-7, 0-3) with a win over the Bulldogs thanks to a big game from Collier Blackburn, who scored a game-high 21 points.

"Every time something would happen, we would make a toughness play," West coach Greg White said. "I just got tough kids. Anytime someone asks me, that's what I tell them -- I have the toughest team in Northwest Arkansas, and we proved that tonight in a tough environment."

West was able to utilize its size -- three of the Wolverines' top four scorers are over 6 feet, 4 inches -- to overcome an admittedly poor shooting night.

"Our big thing was that we got them a little rattled with our size," White said. "We're physical, we make some tough plays inside that finally got the ball seeing it go in."

Garrett Wilmot, the other top West scorer, contributed 14 points off the bench and went 6-for-9 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.

Both teams battled through a physical game that saw 43 total fouls, including technicals, called between the two teams.

"We like road games. We like being the bad guy," White said.

Springdale's sophomore trio of Trentez Scales, Jajuan Boyd and Tavari Eckwood combined for 37 of the team's 50 with Scales leading the Bulldogs with 18. Boyd added 13, and Eckwood chipped in six.

BENTONVILLE WEST 61, SPRINGDALE 50

Bentonville West 12 17 7 15-- 61

Springdale 10 20 5 15 -- 50

Bentonville West (12-4): Collier Blackburn 21, Wilmot 14, Hornsby 12, Barron 5, Collin Blackburn 5, H. Swoboda 2, Larsen 2

Springdale (9-7): Scales 18, Boyd 13, Donahoo 7, Eckwood 6, Johnson 4, Fitch 2

Sports on 01/13/2018

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