February 19 in Bryant athletic history: 2011

Adams’ free throws lift Lady Hornets to dramatic win over Cabot

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 continue posting 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).

McKenzie Adams sinks the second of two free throws, providing the winning margin in Bryant's win over Cabot. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)By Rob Patrick

Photos by Kevin Nagle

Going into the final minute of their 7A/6A-Central Conference grudge-match with the Cabot Lady Panthers, the Bryant Lady Hornets had converted just[more] 5 of 14 free throws. The misses included front ends of bonus opportunities with 4:18 left (with Bryant trying to expand a 41-37 lead) and with 2:13 to go (when the game was tied at 41).

Lady Hornets coach Blake Condley makes a point with sophomore guard Kiara Moore. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

But when the Lady Hornets absolutely had to have them, sophomore McKenzie Adams stepped to the line with just :02.2 left in the game and nailed two shots that turned a 42-41 deficit into a 43-42 victory in a rousing game at the Hornets Nest.

The win avenged a 48-34 loss at Cabot and provided a big step toward the Lady Hornets’ earning a return trip to the Class 7A State Tournament.

Bryant improved to 17-6 overall and 4-6 in league play. Cabot dropped to 7-5 and 16-9. The Lady Hornets finish with four games in five days next week starting with a visit from Russellville on Monday.

Bryant led most of Friday’s game but Cabot rallied by attacking the basket and getting to the line. The Lady Panthers converted 8 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter, which helped them erase a 6-point deficit with 6:25 left to play. But one of those two misses came on the second of a one-and-one opportunity with :12.8 showing. Sydney Wacker, who had been held scoreless the entire game, sank the first attempt to snap the 41-41 tie.

Her missed second shot was rebounded by Bryant’s Breanna Blundell and the Lady Hornets worked the ball up the floor, beating Cabot’s soft three-quarter-court zone trap. Adams got the ball on the right wing and drove. Surrounded by a trio of Lady Panthers, she went up for a shot and was fouled much to the consternation of the Cabot fans and bench.

Adams knocked down the first shot to tie the game and, after a Cabot timeout, drained the second. The Lady Panthers were left with no time to get a decent shot.

Abbi Stearns (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

“We wanted (Adams) either getting in there and taking that shot or for her to kick and somebody be ready to shoot it,” explained Lady Hornets coach Blake Condley. “I felt like she got hammered. She drives in. She goes up. Now there are a lot of games that that’s not going to be called but I felt like there was contact on the shot.

“We played with the energy and intensity that it takes to play in the 7A-Central,” the coach stated. “I feel like we’re starting to understand, it’s got to be 32 minutes as hard as you can go, as intense as you can go. But, while you’re playing that hard, you’ve got to execute well too. So you’ve got to be thinking, you’ve got to be doing what you have to do and at full speed. I felt like we did that tonight.”

Adams finished with 15 points. Kiara Moore had 12 and Blundell 7. Senior Abbie Stearns had 6 before she fouled out with 3:56 left to play and the Lady Hornets clinging to a 41-39 lead. Cabot was led by Melissa Wolff’s 19. Elliot Taylor had 11.

“We’re much better with Abbi in the game,” Condley stated. “No question. I was a little worried because we give up rebounding. Pretty much everything that comes off, she’s going to get a hand on it somehow and someway. I was just really proud of Courtney (Davidson). She came in and gave us good minutes defensively and she rebounded well.”

Bryant's London Abernathy tries to get around Cabot's Melissa Wolff. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Cabot’s only lead before that late 42-41 edge came in the first quarter when Wolff hit a 3 on the heels of a basket by teammate Laci Boyett to make it 8-7. But a 3-pointer by Moore put the leady Hornets back on top. She would add a layup off a baseline drive and, after Boyett scored inside, Moore fed Blundell for a layup and a 14-10 lead. Wolff hit a jumper in the lane in the final seconds of the quarter then Taylor opened the second stanza with a drive for a bucket that had the game tied at 14.

London Abernathy fed Stearns who hit a baseline jumper to snap the deadlock and, after a Cabot turnover, Moore drilled a 15-footer. She followed up with a steal and layup that had the Lady Hornets ahead 20-14 with 5:56 left in the half.

Breanna Blundell (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Wolff answered with back-to-back hoops to trim the margin to 2. Taylor had a chance to tie it but Adams blocked her shot. Free throws by Adams and Stearns pushed the lead to 22-18 before Wolff, following her own miss, scored with :05.3 left in the half to trim the Bryant lead to 22-20.

Taylor tied it again with the first basket of the second half but Bryant pushed the lead back out to 31-26 on baskets by Blundell, Stearns and Moore then a 3 by Adams. In turn, Cabot rallied back to within 31-30.

With 2:23 left in the third quarter, Moore hit a free throw. Bryant forced a turnover and Adams flushed a long triple to pad the margin. Stearns added a free throw but Wolff answered to make it 36-32 going into the fourth quarter.

Cabot’s Kaki Thomas missed a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter. Adams rebounded and went coast-to-coast, pulling up to nail a 10-foot jay that gave her team a 38-32 advantage. Taylor hit a free throw then Davidson fed Blundell as the Lady Hornets broke the Cabot press. Just missing her shot, Blundell converted once at the line to maintain the 6-point edge. Wolff hit two free throws but Abernathy dished to Blundell for a basket to make it 41-35.

Wolff hit another short jumper then the Lady Hornets began to spread the floor against the Cabot zone. Having committed just four team fouls, the Lady Panthers had to use a couple of them quickly to get Bryant in the bonus. That’s when the Lady Hornets began to miss free throws as Cabot was, in turn, making them. The Lady Panthers pulled even at 41 with 3:09 left. And when Bryant turned the ball over, Cabot spread the floor to try to eat up some clock.

The Lady Hornets, working diligently on defense, forced a turnover and Adams was fouled with 2:13 left. She missed the front end and Cabot started milking clock again. Bryant regained possession by forcing a held ball but turned it back over.

After a timeout with :50.2 showing, the Lady Panthers massaged the ball some more before Wacker was fouled at the :12.6 mark.


Score by quarters

Cabot 12 8 12 10 — 42

BRYANT 14 8 14 7 — 43

LADY PANTHERS (16-9, 7-5) 42

Player fg-fga ft-fga reb fls pts


Thomas 1-7 2-2 0-0 0 2 5

Boyett 3-4 0-0 0-0 0 2 6

Wolff 7-11 4-6 4-7 11 3 19

Taylor 4-11 3-4 4-7 11 1 11

Wacker 0-2 1-2 0-0 0 3 1

Odom 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

Russell 0-1 0-0 0-1 1 0 0

Allgood 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 1 0

Team 0-1 1

Total 15-38 10-14 8-17 25 14 42

LADY HORNETS (17-6, 4-6) 43

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts


Moore  5-9 1-5 0-2 2 4 12

Adams 5-14 3-5 1-5 6 2 15

Abernathy 1-5 0-0 5-2 7 1 3

Blundell 3-6 1-2 4-4 8 1 7

Stearns 2-5 2-4 2-2 4 5 6

Davidson 0-2 0-0 1-2 3 1 0

Davis 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 0 0

Team 0-0 0

Total 16-41 7-16 8-18 26 14 43

Three-point field goals: Bryant 4-14 (Adams 2-4, Moore 1-4, Abernathy 1-4, Blundell 0-1, Stearns 0-1), Cabot 2-9 (Thomas 1-7, Wolff 1-1, Odom 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 12, Cabot 12.

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