Abrahamson, Hornets present Mrs. A with a birthday win
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
The basketball teams from her alma mater, Fort Smith Southside, might’ve been in town for her birthday but there were no divided loyalties on Tuesday night at Hornet Arena.
“I want to wish my wife a happy birthday, Ashley Abrahamson,” said Bryant Hornets head coach Mike Abrahamson after his team’s 68-36 mercy-rule victory over the struggling Mavericks.
Thirteen players got into the game for Bryant and 10 of them contributed to the scoring as the team improved to 11-6 overall and 3-1 in 6A-Central Conference play going into a trip to Cabot this Friday.
The Mavericks, now 5-13 overal and 0-4 in league play, held their own in the first quarter. After trailing 8-4, on a driving layup by Bryant’s A.J. Jenkins and a three-point play by Camren Hunter, Southside went on a 10-2 run to take a 14-10 lead.
A 3 by Elijah York got the push started. Mykale Franks hit a free throw to tie the game.
Jenkins’ driving jumper snapped the tie but Dedrick Washington buried back-to-back 3’s from the right corner.
In the closing seconds, however, Catrell Wallace flew in for an offensive rebound and dunk.
That started a Hornets’ surge that left the Mavericks in their wake. Bryant outscored the visitors 28-3 in the second quarter.
“I was disappointed in that first quarter,” said Abrahamson. “We’ve got to mature as a team. Whether we’re playing man-to-man and just trying to be solid or pressing where we’re trying to create tempo or trying to slow it down, I know you can play really hard and you can do certain things consistently no matter what you’re trying to do. We just didn’t have the sense of urgency that we want to have.
“We’ve got to grow up,” he reiterated.
To rev up his team, Abrahamson deployed them in a 2-1-2 trapping press in the second quarter. Southside committed nine of its 18 turnovers during that stretch. The Mavericks didn’t manage a field goal for the first 5:40 of the quarter.
“We had to start creating turnovers and getting layups for that urgency and that intensity to get there,” Abrahamson said. “That’s disappointing. However, it did get there and got there pretty quickly in the second quarter.
“The second quarter was pretty good,” he asserted. “We were creating a lot of turnovers and keeping it more simple on offense. I thought, in the first quarter, we were over-thinking it. That led to turnovers.
“Passing up shots to try to make something else happen that wasn’t there and just complicating the game instead of keeping it simple,” the coach explained. “That’s just something we’ve got to work on. I was disappointed in the first quarter, but the second quarter was phenomenal. I don’t want to discount that.”
Hunter, who finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists, fed Wallace for the first basket of the second quarter. It turned into a three-point play when Wallace was fouled on his shot.
Jalen Montgomery got ahead of the defense for a layup then Wallace made a steal that led to a basket by the tenacious Jenkins, who was on his third rebound of the possession when he found the bottom of the net.
Khasen Robinson splashed a 3 to give Bryant a 22-14 lead and Southside head coach Stewart Adams called his second timeout of the quarter.
It failed the slow down the Hornets. Jenkins, who finished with a game-high 13 points, drove to the hoop which resulted in a three-point play. Off another Mavs’ turnover, Payne hit a layup. Another led to a layup for Jenkins and Southside’s third timeout of the quarter.
Robinson, chased off the 3-point line by the Mavs, drove the baseline and pulled up for a 12-foot floater that found the mark. When Hunter scored with 2:37 left in the half, Bryant led 33-14.
York’s three-point play ended Bryant’s 23-0 run. But before the half was over, Will Diggins got free inside for a basket, Aidan Adams connected from distance off a kick-out dish from Hunter, who, moments later, closed out the half with a pair of free throws.
The Hornets led 40-17 at the break.
Payne heated up from 3-point range to start the third quarter. He hit 3 of them to counter a bank shot by York and a driving basket by Josh Merrell. Paynes third triple started a 10-0 spurt for the Hornets. Jenkins scored. Adams canned another troika then Devin Pitts drove the baseline to score. It was 58-21.
Franks, Southside’s leading scorer for the season, finally got his first field goal to snap that run at the 1:58 mark. The Mavs rallied a bit as Abrahamson was working in reserves. That included a 3 from York and a steal and layup by Jay Washington.
Still, it was 59-28 going into the fourth quarter and the clock ran in accordance with the mercy rule.
Diggins scored 6 of his 8 points down the stretch. Landyn Newburn had a free throw before swishing a 10-foot jumper.
The Hornets’ largest lead was 33 before a late free throw by Southside’s Xander Naegle to set the final score.
“Respect the opponent, respect the game, respect that it’s about our standard of play, not anything else,” instructed Abrahamson. “It’s all about how we conduct ourselves, how we carry ourselves, how we play the game. Not who we’re playing against or where or what time or anything else. Those are factors that don’t really matter.”
HORNETS 68, MAVERICKS 36
Score by quarters
FS Southside 14 3 11 8 — 36
BRYANT 12 28 19 9 — 68
MAVERICKS (5-13, 0-4) 36
Mitchell 0-3 0-0 0, York 4-9 1-1 11, Merrell 2-4 0-1 4, Smith 1-5 0-0 2, Franks 1-6 1-4 3, D.Washington 2-8 0-0 6, Phonesounphan 1-1 0-0 2, J.Washington 2-3 2-2 6, LaRoche 0-0 1-2 1, Vaughn 0-0 0-0 0, Proctor 0-2 0-0 0, Hewitt 0-0 0-0 0, Naegle 0-1 1-2 1, Lane 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-42 (31%) 6-12 (50%) 36.
HORNETS (11-6, 3-1) 68
Hunter 3-6 4-5 10, Payne 4-9 0-0 11, Jenkins 6-9 1-1 13, Robinson 2-3 2-2 7, Wallace 2-5 1-1 5, Pitts 1-2 0-1 2, Adams 2-5 0-2 6, Montgomery 1-3 1-2 3, Diggins 3-4 2-3 8, L.Newburn 1-2 1-2 3, Schroeder 0-1 0-0 0, O.Newburn 0-0 0-0 0, West 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-49 (51%) 12-19 (63%) 68.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 6-17 (Payne 3-7, Adams 2-4, Robinson 1-1, Hunter 0-2, Jenkins 0-1, Pitts 0-1, Schroeder 0-1), Fort Smith Southside 4-16 (York 2-5, D.Washington 2-5, Franks 0-3, Smith 0-2, Mitchell 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 13, Fort Smith Southside 18. Rebounds: Bryant 14-22 36 (Hunter 2-6 8, Wallace 2-2 4, L.Newburn 3-1 4, Payne 1-2 3, Diggins 0-3 3, Montgomery 2-1 3, Jenkins 2-0 2, O.Newburn 0-2 2, Robinson 0-1 1, Pitts 1-0 1, Adams 0-1 1, West 0-1 1, team 1-2 3), Fort Smith Southside 12-14 26 (Merrell 6-0 6, York 1-4 5, Phonesounphan 1-2 3, Smith 0-2 2, Franks 0-2 2, J.Washington 1-0 1, Proctor 0-1 1, Naegle 1-0 1, team 2-3 5). Team fouls: Bryant 12, Fort Smith Southside 17.