BENTONVILLE -- Michael Shanks carried most of the offensive load in the first half, but Bentonville High's boys put Rogers High away when others took over the scoring Friday night.
Colton Simmons scored eight of his 13 points in the second half, and Brayden Freeman had nine of his 11 as the Tigers claimed a 53-29 victory over the Mounties during 6A-West Conference play in Tiger Arena.
Shanks, the Belmont signee, scored 12 of his game-high 16 points in the first half and helped Bentonville (14-4, 4-1 6A-West) built a 27-16 halftime lead
"I thought Michael was as good as he has played since I've been here," Bentonville coach Dick Rippee said. "He rebounded, he made the extra pass and he was good defensively. He relaxed and played like a senior leader should play on a team that was desperately trying to rebound.
"I thought everybody else followed his lead, and that's what they are supposed to do. Brayden Freeman was solid as always, Connor Deffebaugh got us into our stuff and his defense was fantastic. Colton Simmons and Josh Smith got it going at different times to help us."
A Smith 3-pointer sparked an 11-0 run early in the second quarter and allowed Bentonville to stretch its lead into a 21-8 cushion following a Deffebaugh free throw midway through the second quarter. Rogers (13-4, 3-2), however, did manage to pull into single digits three times, with the final time being 26-17 on Derek Hobbs' 3-pointer in the final minute.
The Mounties, however, struggled with their shooting throughout the second half and never gave themselves a chance to recover once Bentonville went an 18-6 run through the third quarter and stretched its lead to a 44-23 margin. The Tigers defense held Rogers to just five field goals over the final 16 minutes, and the Mounties didn't attempt a free throw in the entire game.
"We just didn't make shots, and that happens sometimes," Rogers coach Lamont Frazier said. "When you run the style of offense we run, if you don't shoot the ball well you struggle. Our struggles carried over to the defensive end, as well.
"Not getting any free throws was disheartening because we're used to at least making attempts to get to the free-throw line. We just didn't do a very good job."
Hobbs finished with 11 points and was the only Rogers player in double figures....