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#StickStarReport North of the Red River

On a blustery Saturday in mid-February, Senior Kyle Condon of Bentonville (Bentonville, AR) contributed 5G, 1A in a winning effort over Jenks (Jenks, OK). Seniors Erik Jimenez (2G, 3A) and Brayden Gilson (2G, 1A) rounded out the attack scoring for Bentonville. Specialists Mateo Fano (1G, 2A, 64% FO) and Kooper Harris (63.5% save percentage) also added to Bentonville's victory.

Bentonville has a deep squad representing 2 high schools from Northwest Arkansas, with what appeared to be a varsity bench upwards of 40 players. This depth was a huge factor in wearing down the Jenks Trojans. Jenks had 1G, 1A contributions from both Jake Peck and Jett Millican on the day. Sophomore midfielder Max Mitcho added a lone goal in the contest while senior goalie Phoenix Perkins registered 9 saves to keep the game close early on.

Teams traded blows early, splitting possession evenly and ending the first quarter tied 2-2. While Bentonville started to pull away in the second, Jenks used efficient offensive possessions to keep the game close and the first half ended with a 7-4 advantage to Bentonville.

Ultimately, Jenks' lack of depth forced their offensive players to expend energy at the faceoff dot, between the boxes, and on the defensive end. Possession swung in favor of Bentonville in the second half, and Jenks started to commit penalties. Extra man opportunities helped Bentonville dominate possession, entering the final frame up 8-4. They would pile on odd-man situations, both man up and fastbreak, to finish the game with an 11-4 victory.

Bentonville has a dynamic group of seniors on offense who are especially deadly in odd man situations. Kyle Condon has an arsenal of windups and can hammer the ball from distance with his hands free. Erik Jimenez is also a dynamic ball carrier, who generates slides and draws attention when Bentonville uses up-picks in the righty alley. Off-ball, this Bentonville team is certainly capable of cutting into open space and finishing when presented with opportunities. They have quality up the middle of the field at the face off X and in goal, with a number of defensemen who can handle the ball, which provides Condon and company enough possession to become the aggressor.

While Jenks has plenty of quality on their side, Bentonville showed why they are the reigning state champions in Oklahoma lacrosse. Jenks simply could not keep pace down the stretch and had difficulty creating rotations in the settled offensive set. While presented enough opportunities on man-up to get their offense in a rhythm, they could not finish in a timely manner to stymie the 1 or 2 offensive runs that Bentonville ignited in the 2nd and 4th quarters.

We are thrilled to see how the Oklahoma high school lacrosse season continues to pan out. Bentonville sits at 5-0 and is demanding that a challenger present themselves. With the growth of the youth game in the state, the immediate future is very exciting in Oklahoma and parity will soon become commonplace. Follow along on twitter @StickStarLax and @StickStarReport to keep up with our comprehensive, region-wide coverage of high school lacrosse.

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