For more photos of this event by Kevin Nagle, go here
SEARCY — The Searcy Lady Lions Cubs were stuck on 6 for a long time.
They’d challenged the Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team early on, packing in a 1-2-2 zone and taking a 2-0 lead that held for the first two minutes of the game.
Three minutes in, it was tied 4-4.
Spurred by tough play inside from Ivory Russ, Bryant pushed out to a 9-4 edge but Searcy scored to trim the lead to 3 with 1:02 left in the first quarter.
But that early challenge blew up at that point. The Lady Cubs would not score again until there was just 50 seconds left in the third as Bryant went on a 29-0 blitz, forcing 22 turnovers by halftime and 33 for the game.
Before it was over, the sportsmanship rule (running clock) was in effect, everybody played for Bryant and the final score wound up being 42-15.
Russ led with 13 points and eight rebounds. Tierra Trotter added nine points as nine different players contributed to the scoring. McKenzie Muse added 5 points, Jada Deaton had 4 and Celena Martin 3.
“I think we were a little sluggish,” allowed Lady Hornets coach Nathan Castaldi of the start of the game. “(Searcy) kind of packed it back in that zone, made us work a little bit. We didn’t hit some shots early so it was kind of tough to get into our pressure defense off that.
“One of the things we really work hard on in practice is running offense,” he explained. “This group is so good in transition and with their pressure defense, they get a lot of easy buckets. But what are we going to do when a team slows us down and we can’t get those easy buckets. I thought, in that first quarter, Searcy kind of let the girls see that, instead of me talking about it. They kind of got a little dose of it.
“We didn’t look great against it but it is the first game of the year and the first time we saw a one-guard front,” the coach continued. “So it gave us a chance to do some of our practice stuff live against somebody else. I thought as the game progressed, we were a little more patient, got the ball inside a little more and that opened some things up. Once we made a couple of shots, got moving a little bit, I thought we played a lot better.”
The Lady Hornets’ next outing will be in the opening round of the annual Bryant Invitational Tournament on Monday at 5 p.m., against Magnolia. The game will be at the high school gym.
Russ scored 6 of the Lady Hornets’ first 7 points in Thursday’s game. She then earned an assist on a bucket by Tyianna Robinson that made it 9-4.
“She was able to get it out in transition a couple of times and when she caught it against that zone, she really looked hard to attack,” Castaldi said. “We just passed it around the perimeter and looked inside and that really helped out.”
The game-busting run began when Muse made a steal and got to the free throw line with :02 left in the first period. She made the first shot and, when the second attempt refused to go, teammate Mekeycia Baker grabbed the carom and scored to make it 12-6.
Maddie Scifres started the second period with a steal that led to free throws for Tierra Trotter. She converted once and, moments later, Russ knocked down a pair from the stripe.
Martin followed her own miss and got fouled. After hitting a free throw, she made a steal that led to a driving layup by Trotter. On an inbounds play, moments later, Martin fed Russ for a layup and it was 20-6.
Trotter’s steal and layup continued the onslaught. She made another theft that led to a free throw. Martin converted twice at the line then Russ made a steal. On another inbounds play, Martin found Russ for a layup to make it 27-6.
Sierra Trotter grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a free throw with 1:57 left in the half. Her second shot missed but Jada Deaton out-quicked the Lady Cubs to the rebound and scored.
Deaton made a steal and Muse drilled a 15-footer. Martin’s theft led to another trip to the line for Sierra Trotter and the 33-6 lead that held at half.
Baskets by Tierra Trotter and Maddie Thompson along with a free throw from Russ extended the margin to 38-6 before Searcy finally scored again on a 3-pointer.
Muse followed her own miss to make it 40-9 going into the fourth quarter. Deaton scored Bryant’s final basket off a nice drive and dish from Robinson.
LADY HORNETS 42, LADY LION CUBS 15
Score by quarter
BRYANT 12 21 7 2 — 42
Searcy 6 0 3 6 — 15
LADY HORNETS 42
T.Trotter 3-8 3-7 9, Taylor 0-2 0-2 0, Martin 0-2 3-4 3, Muse 2-8 1-2 5, Russ 5-10 3-8 13, Robinson 1-3 0-2 2, Scifres 0-0 0-0 0, Baker 1-1 0-0 2, J.Deaton 2-3 0-0 4, S.Trotter 0-2 2-4 2, Oholendt 0-1 0-0 0, Thompson 1-3 0-0 2, Scott 0-0 0-0 0, Allen 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 0-1 0-0 0, N.Deaton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-45 12-29 42.
LADY LION CUBS 15
Murray 2-6 0-0 4, DuPriest 0-2 0-0 0, Vaughan 0-1 0-0 0, Beavers 1-2 0-0 2, Rose 0-4 4-4 4, Chena 0-0 0-0 0, Maples 1-5 0-0 3, Tate 1-2 0-0 2, Schowe 0-1 0-0 0, Wheeler 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 5-23 4-4 15.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 0-10 (T.Trotter 0-3, Muse 0-3, Taylor 0-2, Thompson 0-2), Searcy 1-2 (Maples 1-1, DuPriest 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 17, Searcy 33. Rebounds: Bryant 24-11 35 (Russ 7-1 8, Martin 4-0 4, Taylor 1-2 3, Robinson 2-1, S.Trotter 3-0 3, Scott 1-2 3, Muse 1-1 2, J.Deaton 1-1 2, Baker 1-0 1, Oholendt 1-0 1, Allen 0-1 1, team 2-1 3), Searcy 8-16 24 (DuPriest 1-3 4, Vaughan 2-1 3, Schowe 1-2 3, Murray 1-1 2, Beavers 1-1 2, Rose 0-2 2, Tate 0-2 2, Chena 0-1 1, Maples 1-0 1, Wheeler 1-0 1, team 0-3 3). Team fouls: Bryant 8, Searcy 15.