North Little Rock beats Bentonville, rolls into semifinals

North Little Rock did what it needed and beat Bentonville, 47-40, in the quarterfinals of the Class 6A girls state tournament at Fayetteville High School.

Bentonville was without its star player, Maryam Dauda, who has signed with Baylor and is a McDonald’s All-American. Dauda’s absence left a 6-foot-6 hole in Bentonville’s lineup but as well as North Little Rock shot, it may not have mattered.

North Little Rock senior guard Kalina Foster was on fire as she hit four 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 16 points in the win as she added another 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, plus a free throw in garbage time.

Bentonville got as close as five points late in the fourth quarter but they couldn’t overcome North Little Rock’s early advantage.

Daryl Fimple’s team also beat Bentonville and Dauda, 50-48, in a game played December 2020, so this was the second time the teams had played and also the second win.

The victory puts North Little Rock into the semifinals where they will face a very familiar opponent in Fort Smith Northside. This will be the third time the two teams have played this season as they’re both in the 6A-Central conference. Northside has won the regular season matchups.

The game will be the first of the day at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Bentonville’s Dauda missed the last five games due to injury but Northside’s McDonald’s All-American, Jersey Wolfenbarger, is healthy and ready to go. Wolfenbarger has signed with Arkansas and is a 6-5 forward, who mostly plays on the wing and also at the point.

Northside is the consensus second-best team in the state behind Class 2A Melbourne, a team that beat Northside earlier this season, and are playing for the third consecutive 2A state title this season behind Arkansas commit Jenna Lawrence, who is just a sophomore.

North Little Rock plays at 4 p.m. today at the 6A state tournament in Fayetteville.

We will update this post when the game is complete. So click back later for more coverage.