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story.lead_photo.caption WESTSIDE EAGLE OBSERVER/Randy Moll Bentonville's Cadarius Baggett attempts to shoot over Chris Childress of Gravette during nonconference play between Bentonville and Gravette at the Lion Field House in Gravette on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017.

GRAVETTE -- Bentonville's boys could have ushered in the Dick Rippee era with points on the scoreboard and a lead before the game even started.

That didn't happen as the Tigers missed both free throws after Gravette was issued a technical foul for dunking during pregame warmups. Bentonville, however, had plenty of more opportunities and made its new coach's debut a winning one with a 70-47 decision Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams.

"We're dealing with a lot of kids, and sometimes the adrenaline gets flowing," Rippee said. "I thought our kids made some good adjustments since they were calling it pretty tight, and I thought it was a good game for us to get started and get going right.

"As a coach, when you start the season, you always wonder how patient your team will be. We had a lot of one-sided possessions without getting any reversals. I thought in the second quarter we started settling down and getting those open looks."

Bentonville (1-0) never trailed, but its early 12-3 lead was trimmed to a 15-13 margin after Kelton Trembly's two free throws with 6 minutes, 21 seconds left in the first half. The Tigers, however, scored the next 13 points and extended their lead to a 28-13 margin after a free throw by Michael Shanks, who scored six of his 11 points during that run.

Gravette (0-1) never did get any closer than 14 points in the second half as Bentonville's lead grew to 46-21 after 3-pointers by Josh Smith and Colton Simmons with 1:21 left in the third quarter.

"We quit doing the little things," Gravette coach Matt Busch said. "We had back-to-back turnovers, then we had a wide-open look under the basket and threw it over his head.

"We have a lot of watch on film, and I think we'll come back better. I knew when I scheduled this game, I knew what I was getting my team into, and I feel like we will be a good Class 4A team."

Asa Hutchinson IV had 16 of his 24 points in the second half to lead four Bentonville players in double figures, followed by Smith with 13 and Simmons with 12. Dayten Wishon scored 20 to lead Gravette, while Trembly added 17.


Bentonville High 55, Gravette 41

Bentonville used a 10-0 run to close out the third quarter and take the lead for good as the Lady Tigers pulled away and gave coach Tom Halbmaier his 250th career victory.

Gravette broke a 25-25 halftime tie with a Cally Kildow 3-pointer, but the Lady Lions didn't score again in the third quarter. Bentonville (3-0) then went on its run and continue to pull away.

Avery Hughes led the Lady Tigers with 19 points, while 6-foot-4 freshman Maryam Dauda unofficially had a triple-double with 17 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks and Courtney Cochran added 13. Kildow had 14 for Gravette, while Jessica Bookout added 10.


Bentonville High 70, Gravette 47



Bentonville (1-0): Hutchinson 24, Smith 13, Simmons 12, Shanks 11, Baggett 2, Deffenbaugh 2, Beach 2, Cranna 2, Freeman 2.

Gravette (0-1): Wishon 20, K. Trembly 17, Soulé 4, B. Trembly 2, Austin 2, Childress 2.


Bentonville High 55, Gravette 41



Bentonville (3-0): Hughes 19, Dauda 17, Cochran 13, Hawkins 5, Hernandez 1.

Gravette (0-1): Kildow 14, Bookout 10, Foster 8, Morrison 5, Branscum 4.

Sports on 11/29/2017

Print Headline: Bentonville claims win in Rippee's debut

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