BENTONVILLE -- Avery Hughes is ready to be more than the stabilizing presence needed for a Bentonville High girls basketball team with so many new faces this season.
The junior guard broke three school records Tuesday night en route to leading the Lady Tigers to a 62-54 victory in their season opener against Greenwood in Tiger Arena.
Bentonville High 62, Greenwood 54
Greenwood (0-1): Cartwright 12, Clements 12, Price 10, Fisher 7, Julian 7, Terry 2, Glass 2, Sockey 2.
Bentonville (1-0): Hughes 34, Hawkins 13, Cochran 10, Dauda 4, Irlenborn 1.
Hughes, the lone returning starter on Bentonville's lineup, scored 34 points and broke the previous mark of 31 set by Jennifer McNames against Springdale in 2004. Her 20-of-22 outing from the free-throw line also smashed two records, with the previous mark for free throws hit being 14 by Stephanie Horton in 2008 and the record for free throws attempted is 16 by Ashley Wettengel in 2003, Horton in 2008 and Taylor Lee in 2013.
"It's exciting," Hughes said. "I have a great team. We're all supportive and we're all in it together.
"I was point guard last year, but this year it's more of being a leader. I know for us to win, all of us starters need to have a good game. There's definitely more pressure, but I'm ready for it."
It could have been more points for Hughes, who banked in a shot from near halfcourt as the first half ended. However, a foul was called before the shot was attempted, so she had to settle for two free throws that gave Bentonville (1-0) a 29-19 cushion at that point.
Fess Hawkins, a senior transfer, added a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds for Bentonville, which never trailed after jumping out to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter. Courtney Cochran was the only other Lady Tiger in double figures with 10.
"There's still some things we have to figure out," Bentonville coach Tom Halbmaier said. "But these girls played hard and had a lot of intensity. Whatever obstacles these girls have in front of them, they will hit it head-on.
"You have Fess coming in and doing the stuff she's doing defensively and in rebounding, then you have Miriam (Dauda) coming in and making the plays she's making. I thought she played pretty good minutes for a first varsity game."
Greenwood, also playing its season opener, kept things as close as possible. Kinley Fisher's bucket pulled the Lady Bulldogs within 20-18 with 2 minutes, 18 seconds left in the first half, and they were within 39-36 after Kylah Julian's bucket early in the fourth quarter.
Hughes, however, scored the next six points to make it a 45-36 game. She wound hitting 11 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter, including two with 1:38 remaining to gave her the school's single-game scoring record.
"That's just the type of kid she is," Halbmaier said of Hughes. "She's capable of being that special and doing the things she did. When you look at it, she never left the floor and she took care of the basketball. She played tremendously, and she was our leader."
Kaila Cartwright and Haven Clements each had 12 points for Greenwood, while Angela Price added 10.
Sports on 11/15/2017
Print Headline: Hughes rewrites record books in Bentonville victory