For more photos from this event by Kevin Nagle, go here
CABOT — Over the final 2:59 of a back-and-forth battle with the Cabot South Panthers, the Bryant Hornets freshman team went on a 13-2 tear that turned a 44-42 deficit into a 55-46 victory Thursday night.
With the win — their first on the road this season — the Hornets improved to 6-5 overall and 3-4 in the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference, pulling even with Cabot South and Benton in the league standings going into the Christmas break.
Jalen Montgomery tied the game at 44 then, after Aiden Adams and Austin Ledbetter combined on a steal, Montgomery drove into the lane, drew the defense and rifled a pass out to Adams at the 3-point line. He nailed the trey and the Hornets were ahead to stay with 2:27 left to go.
After a timeout, Cabot South misfired on a 3 as the Bryant defense started closing out on the Panthers’ deep shooters, who had hit seven long-range shots to that point in the game.
Bryant’s Gavin Brunson rebounded a miss by Montgomery who, again, penetrated the Panthers’ defense to extend the lead to 5.
Another Cabot South miss, was cashed in by Myles Aldridge behind the pressing Panthers, resulting in a layup and a 51-44 advantage with 1:01 left.
After a Cabot timeout, Montgomery was fouled bringing the ball up the court. Awarded a one-and-one opportunity, however, he missed and Cabot South quickly got the ball up court for a layup.
But, with :28.9 to go, Montgomery got another chance at the line and converted both shots. A Cabot South turnover led to a trip to the line for Adams, who missed both shots. But, even with his teammates back for defense and not on the line, Adams rebounded the missed second shot. With :13 to go, Ledbetter converted twice at the line to set the final score.
“We’re going into the Christmas break after this game and I really thought we had a good week of practice so I was telling the guys that our goal was get one to store for Christmas break, get us in a good mode of confidence,” said Hornets coach Tyler Posey. “It’s always tough to win on the road. But we accomplished our goals tonight and did that. They battled. And they really executed the game plan exactly what we practiced.”
Ledbetter led the Hornets with 14 points. Montgomery finished with 12 and Brunson, in off the bench, had 10 points, making all five of his attempts. Adams had 6, Aldridge 5 with Ryan Riggs and Hayden Schroeder each hitting a key 3-pointer. Hayden Schrader had a bucket.
Hunter Smith led Cabot South with 13 points but was held without a point in the fourth quarter. Eli Hutcherson added 9.
The game didn’t look very promising out of the gate as Smith scored 7 points as his team built an 8-0 lead. A driving jumper by Ledbetter broke the ice for the Hornets. He added a three-point play but Hutcherson bombed in a 3 to make it 11-5.
Brunson, however, beat the buzzer ending the first half with a stickback to make it a 4-point difference.
Smith added a free throw to the lead but then Ledbetter and Schroeder connected for consecutive triples, giving the Hornets their first lead, 13-12. After Cabot South regained the upper hand, Brunson scored inside to start a little run for Bryant. Adams canned a 3 and Aldridge hit a free throw to give Bryant a 19-14 advantage.
With :37.4 left, a three-point play that wasn’t wound up being credited to the Panthers. The free throw was waved off due to a lane violation but the official was across the floor from the scorer’s table and the bookkeeper didn’t see it. So it was 19-17 when it should’ve been 19-16.
Montgomery drove for a bucket but a 3 at the buzzer cut the lead to 21-19, or rather 21-20 at the half.
The lead seesawed in the third quarter. Initially, the Hornets scored when Ledbetter made a steal and a layup. After Cabot South answered, Ledbetter took a feed from Montgomery and scored.
A three-point play by Smith tied it on the scoreboard at 25 but Braden Godwin drove the baseline for Bryant and fed Schrader for a basket. Montgomery followed with a steal and layup and Bryant led 29-25 (24).
The Panthers pushed out to a 33-30 lead but Riggs hit his 3 to tie it. Free throws by Aldridge and a basket by Montgomery helped the Hornets regain the upper hand. They led 37-36 going into the fourth.
Cabot South scored first to lead by a point then Brunson came through with back-to-back hoops as the Hornets took a 41-38 lead.
Hutcherson tied it with a 3 then, after Montgomery hit a free throw, he splashed another trey to give the Panthers a 44-42 lead with 3:21 left.
But they would only score 2 more points the rest of the way as the Hornets surged to victory.
“We changed a few things on defense, not really over-selling on anything or doing anything a lot different,” Posey said. “We just made a few minor adjustments to apply a little more pressure to the ball and get us going a little bit earlier, set us in a mood to attack and a mindset that we’re not going to back down. We’re going to play real aggressive on the defensive side.”
The Hornets will return to action on Thursday, Dec. 28, at the annual Kameron Hale Invitational Tournament at Lake Hamilton. They’ll play Friday and Saturday there then return to conference play on Jan. 4, at Conway White.
HORNETS 55, PANTHERS 46
Score by quarters
BRYANT 7 14 16 18 — 55
Cabot South 11 9 16 10 — 46
Montgomery 4-10 4-8 12, Riggs 1-1 0-0 3, Adams 2-5 0-2 6, Ledbetter 5-10 3-3 14, Schrader 1-1 0-0 2, Schroeder 1-3 0-0 3, Godwin 0-2 0-0 0, Aldridge 1-3 3-8 5, Brunson 5-5 0-1 10. Totals 20-40 (50%) 10-22 (45%) 55.
Tonnessen 2-9 2-6 6, Chisholm 1-2 0-0 3, Owen 3-9 0-0 8, Organ 2-7 0-0 4, Smith 4-7 4-5 13, Finley 0-0 0-0 0, Hutcherson 3-4 0-0 9, Santana 1-1 1-1 3, Lefever 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-40 (40%) 6-11 (55%) 46.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 5-12 (Adams 2-4, Ledbetter 1-3, Schroeder 1-2, Riggs 1-1, Montgomery 0-1, Godwin 0-1), Cabot South 7-20 (Hutcherson 3-4, Owen 2-7, Smith 1-2, Chisholm 1-1, Tonnesen 0-4, Organ 0-2). Turnovers: Bryant 16, Cabot South 12. Rebounds: Bryant 13-21 34 (Aldridge 4-5 9, Adams 1-7 8, Brunson 5-1 6, Ledbetter 2-3 5, Montgomery 0-3 3, Schroeder 0-2 2, Schrader 1-0 1), Cabot South 5-12 17 (Tonnessen 0-3, Organ 1-2 3, Smith 0-2 2, Chisholm 1-1 2, Owen 1-1 2, Santana 1-1 2, Lefever 0-1, team 1-1 2). Team fouls: Bryant 13, Cabot South 17. Fouled out: Cabot South, Smith.