By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Fayetteville’s three-day stint in Springfield featured team bonding, tornado sirens and a tournament championship.
The Bulldogs will take the 2018 Arvest Classic championship back to Arkansas after defeating host Parkview 77-47 in Saturday’s tournament finals.
Nine players scored for Fayetteville, including 32 points from tournament MVP Collin Cooper.
“I think we got a lot better this weekend,” said Bulldogs coach Kyle Adams. “It’s always good to get away from home. The only ones you have to rely on is each other. I think our kids really responded well.”
Cooper, a Central Arkansas commit, scored 17 of his 32 points in the second half. The point guard was 11-for-14 at the free throw line and kept the Vikings in foul trouble throughout the game.
“He’s our leader. Everything goes through him,” Adams said. “I hesitate to say he has the green light because it’s probably not green enough.
Parkview led 16-15 after the first quarter, but the Bulldogs took control over the next 16 minutes. Fayetteville outscored Parkview 20-10 in the second quarter and 23-9 in the third quarter.
“That’s why we want to play Fayetteville: they’re really, really good,” said Parkview coach Landon Cornish. “They’re very talented, well-coached and really get after it.”
Tyem Freeman scored 35 in the loss, but no other Vikings player had more than five points. Freeman was also 14-for-14 at the free throw line and made three of Parkview’s four 3-pointers.
He picked up his fourth personal foul midway through the third quarter, on a charge call, with Parkview trailing by 14. Parkview’s bench disputed the call and was hit with a technical foul. Freeman sat the rest of the third quarter.
“You can feel (momentum plays) when they’re going your way,” Adams said. “They just start kind of building on each other. That’s the way it felt in the third quarter, especially.
Parkview starting guard Dontae Taylor later fouled out in the third quarter.
“We just had too many turnovers and fouls, all the way around,” Cornish said.
On Friday night, Fayetteville pulled out a hard-fought five-point win over Kickapoo in the semifinal round.
Later that night, the Bulldogs got an early wake-up call when tornado sirens blared around the Springfield area.
“I had just got done doing laundry and laid down about 1 a.m. and that’s when the sirens went off,” Adams said. “We had to get all of the kids out of bed and went downstairs at our hotel. But everyone else had to deal with it, too. It wasn’t just us.”
Fayetteville improved to 4-1 overall. Parkview dropped to 3-1 overall and returns to action Tuesday night at Willard.
“(Our players) know we’ve been through tough losses before,” Cornish said. “We went through that last year. We’re going to come back (at practice) Monday, keep working and get better as the year goes on.”
Fayetteville 77, Parkview 47
Fayetteville 15 20 23 19 — 77
Parkview 16 10 9 12 — 47
Fayetteville – Collin Cooper 32, Austin Garrett 10, Hank Gibbs 9, Tamaury Releford 8, Isaiah Releford 6, Alonzo Releford 4, Darius Bowers 4, Isaac Smith 2, Connor Barnett 2
Parkview – Ty Freeman 35, Nakai Johnson 5, Jevin Huddleston 3, Trevon Brazile 3, Latre Morrison 1