By Rob Patrick
SHERIDAN — Even at 25-0, the Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team was primed for an upset when they took on the rival Benton Lady Panthers in the second round of the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference on Monday night.
The psychology was ripe.
Bryant had defeated Benton three times this season. No one had played the Lady Hornets tougher than the Lady Panthers did in the first two of those meetings. But, most recently — in fact, just four day before — Bryant had dominated the Lady Panthers on their own floor though that wasn’t the indication based on the 37-25 final score. The Lady Hornets had led 21-2 early in that one.
But with their season on the line in Monday’s tournament game, the Lady Panthers returned to form, jumping to a 10-4 lead and hanging on for a 12-10 edge at the half, just the second time this season that the Lady Hornets had been behind at the break.
But Bryant limited Benton to just 11 more points in the game while ratcheting up the intensity in their press and on offense, surging to a 37-23 win.
CABOT — Melinda Murdock hit a 3-point basket late in the fourth quarter to get the Bryant White Lady Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School within a point of the Sheridan Stingers but they could get no closer in a tough 18-17 loss at the Cabot North Tournament on Saturday.
“We looked much better Saturday,” said Bryant coach DeAnna Ward. “We just weren’t able to get a last-second shot off. We just ran out of time.
The Bryant Lady Hornets freshman volleyball team surged into sole possession of first place in the South Division of the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference with a 2-1 victory over the rival Benton Junior Lady Panthers on Monday, Sept. 28.
The win came on the heels of a 2-0 sweep of Sheridan in league play on Thursday.
The Lady Hornets have won four league games in a row and improved to 8-2 versus division foes, 11-3 overall. The win over Benton avenged one of their conference losses. The two teams came into Monday’s game tied for the Division lead.
McKenzie Rice finished the match with six kills she also got the Lady Hornets in position to win the first game by serving points 9 through 12. Courtney Davidson served points 15-17. She also contributed three blocks and four assists on the night.
After the loss in game two, the third game was a tussle when the Lady Hornets got a lift off the bench from Sarah McPherson who served for points 10 through 13 to give Bryant the upper hand. Then Alyssa Anderson helped put the game and match away by serving for points 18 through 24.
By Rob Patrick
SHERIDAN, Ark. — Neither team should've scored; such was the pitching of Bryant's Jordan Taylor and Sheridan's Tyler Lathan on Saturday.
Taylor, a freshman, scattered seven hits, fanned six and walked no one. He retired the first six batters he faced and, later, had a string of seven straight he set down.
Lathan, a junior, scattered six hits, walked a pair and struck out five. He too retired the first six he faced and had another stretch of six in a row along the way.
None of the runs that scored in the game were earned.
The gut-punch for Taylor and the Hornets turned out to be that they were in position to get out of both innings in which the Yellowjackets scored, unscathed.
Sheridan won, 2-1.
SHERIDAN — Plagued for the second game in a row by a slew of illegal pitches, the Bryant Lady Hornets overcame the adversity and the Sheridan Lady Jackets to capture third place in the Sheridan Invitational Tournament on Saturday.
The Lady Hornets opened with an 8-0 win in five innings over Watson Chapel then, for the second day in a row, lost in extra innings to the Lady Wolves of Lake Hamilton, 3-1. In the third-place game, Bryant trailed 4-3 going into the seventh inning but rallied for two runs and the victory. Peyton Jenkins drove in Kayla Sory with the winning run.
There's an art to constructing a batting order. There's a certain amount of balance involved, putting batters together in such an order that hits can be clustered to score runs in bunches rather than one at a time. Adjustments have to be made for who's hot and who's not. Often it's a work of trial and error.
As of Friday, March 20, Bryant Lady Hornets head coach Lisa Stanfield believes she's found her team's most effective arrangement.
The first inning of her team's non-conference game against Sheridan on Friday certainly was convincing. The Lady Hornets scored six runs on six hits on their way to an 11-1 victory in five innings.
The win improved the Lady Hornets to 5-3 on the season going into spring break. They'll return to action in a tournament in Murfreesboro, Tenn., starting Thursday, March 26.
Bryant hammered out 11 hits including three by Peyton Jenkins and two each by Christen Kirchner, Jessie Taylor and Sarah Hart.
Jenkins pitched and held Sheridan to one run on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
By Rob Patrick
BENTON — When baserunners are as few as they were for the Bryant Hornets and the Sheridan Yellowjackets in their second-round match at the Benton Panther Invitational Tournament on Thursday, Feb. 26, it behooves a team to make the most of what they get.
Sheridan did. Alas, the Hornets did not.
As a result, the Yellowjackets pinned the first loss of the season on Bryant, 3-0, to advance to the championship game against the winner of Friday's (or Saturday's, depending on the weather) other semifinal between Little Rock Catholic and the host team. Bryant was set to play the loser of that contest, after hosting Lake Hamilton in a regular-scheduled game on Friday afternoon at 4:30.
"We just didn't compete at the plate," asserted Hornets coach Kirk Bock. "We didn't compete offensively. We practice that. We just didn't execute the system. And we made some baserunning mistakes and it hurt us. We certainly have things to work on but I am disappointed in not executing.
"We made some blunders defensively that, in a tight game, hurt you too," he added.
By Rob Patrick
London Abernathy knocked down a trio of 3-pointers in the first quarter to help the Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team off to a fast start as they cruised to a 41-13 win over the Sheridan Lady Stingers on Thursday, Jan. 22.
Abernathy wound up with 15 points to lead all scorers in the game as the Lady Hornets improved to 14-4 overall and 7-2 in the South Division of the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference, keeping the heat on leaders Cabot South (tied with Bryant at 7-2) and North Little Rock (9-0).
Bryant, which lost its only two league games to the leaders, get another shot at them the first week of February. In the meantime, they were set to try to get past Mount St. Mary’s on the road on Monday, Jan. 26, and Lake Hamilton at home on Thursday, Jan. 29.
Sheridan came into Thursday’s game without Karson Henry, who has done the bulk of the team’s scoring this season. The Lady Stingers struggled mightily against the Bryant press, turning the ball over 17 times in the first half while attempting just four shots from the floor and six free throws. They hit three of the free throws and none of the field goals and trailed 20-3 at the half.
By Rob Patrick
The Bryant Hornets freshman basketball team is starting to develop a knack for winning close games. It may serve them well as they head down the stretch drive of their schedule leading into the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference post-season tournament.
For the third time in four games, the Hornets earned victories in the South Division of the CAJHC and, in each, their opponent had a chance to win or tie with a shot at the buzzer that failed to fall.
On Thursday, Jan. 15, the Hornets stunned Conway Blue, which had been one of the top teams in the division, 38-35. In a tight game, Bryant took a 1-point lead in the final minute on a stickback by Cody McPherson. Conway, in turn, missed a free throw then had to start fouling. The Cats had just two team fouls at that point. They had to foul four times in the last 20 seconds to get the Hornets to the free-throw line. But before they could commit the seventh foul that would’ve done the trick, Brantley Cozart broke free behind the defense for a layup to make it a 3-point game.
Conway got a shot to tie it at the end but couldn’t get it to go and the Hornets held on.
Prior to that, Cabot South had a chance to tie it with two free throws in the final seconds. After the first try failed, the Panthers’ J.D. Melby bounced the second shot off the rim and the backboard, beat everybody to the carom but missed the last-second shot that would’ve sent it into overtime.
On Thursday, Jan. 22, there they were again. Cozart had snapped a 21-21 tie with a drive up the baseline for a scoop shot that rolled in with 1:09 to go.