Another ‘almost’ for the Lady Hornets on Senior Night

Bryant Lady Hornets seniors, from left, Logan Davis, Kristen Scarlett, Whitney Meyer, Hayley Murphy and Courtney Davidson (Photo by Rick Nation)Photos by Rick Nation and Kevin Nagle

By Rob Patrick

Trailing by 9 with 2:22 to go, the Bryant Lady Hornets, aided by some poor free-throw shooting by[more] the El Dorado Lady Wildcats got within 3 points of tying the game only to have a desperate heave in the final seconds miss the mark. El Dorado held on for a 42-39 win to cap off the regular season for both South Conference teams.

Courtney Davidson tries to drive around an El Dorado defender. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

For the Lady Hornets, it was another “almost”.

Seven of their nine conference losses have been by 6 points or less including two by a single point, two others by 2 points to go with Friday night’s 3-point loss. And those five closest games have come against each of the top five teams in the league.

Now, Bryant starts a new season, the post-season and, perhaps, their luck in those close games will turn. The Lady Hornets open Class 7A State Tournament play at Fayetteville High School on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 1 p.m., against the third-seeded team from the Central Conference, probably West Memphis or Cabot.

On Tuesday, Bryant celebrated seniors Logan Davis, Courtney Davidson, Whitney Meyer, Hayley Murphy and Kristen Scarlett in their final home game. Head coach Brad Matthews started the quintet.

For the game, El Dorado converted just 4 of 17 free throws but a layup by 6-3 Taylor McCool behind the Bryant press with :58 left, proved to be a clincher. It was the only Lady Wildcats’ score in that final 2:22, interrupting the Lady Hornets’ closing run. Free throws by Dezerea Duckworth and Jayla Anderson had cut the margin to 40-35 at that point.

Whitney Meyer (Photo by Rick Nation)

McCool missed the front end of a one-and-one with :44.4 showing and the Lady Hornets took advantage when Duckworth rebounded a teammate’s miss and scored with :29.1 to go, cutting it to 42-37.

The Lady Hornets, sparked defensively off the bench by guards Jayla Anderson, Madeleine Baxter and Destin Nichols, forced a turnover and a stickback by Anderson made it a one-possession game, 42-39, when Bryant head coach Brad Matthews called his third timeout of the comeback.

When play resumed, El Dorado’s Keyanna Smith was fouled and she obliged by missing the front end. Duckworth worked through the pressure to get to midcourt where she launched the final shot.

With McCool hanging around the basket, she scored 17 points and gathered 19 rebounds. Plus, she made it difficult for Duckworth and Davidson, the Lady Hornets’ best at attacking the goal.

Logan Davis. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Davidson still wound up with 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds while Duckworth was held to 5 points. Logan Davis, who buried a trio of 3-pointers, matched McCool’s 17 points. Anderson finished with 3 and Erica Smith 2.

Early on, the Lady Hornets were fueled by 3-pointers from Davis and Davidson. When Davis hit a 12-foot jumper off a ball screen near the elbow with 2:54 left in the first quarter, Bryant held a 9-7 lead.

But McCool scored inside to tie it and when Marchelle Lockhart hit a free throw with 1:50 to go, it had El Dorado up to stay.

Bryant had four shots at regaining the advantage but none would fall so when McCool scored again in the final minute, the Lady Cats held a 12-9 lead.

Points were tough to come by early in the second quarter. El Dorado led 16-11 before Duckworth fed Smith for her basket and, after a series of missed shots and free throws, Davidson went to the line and converted twice to cut it to 16-15.

Bethany Billings and Davidson traded baskets but when El Dorado’s Keishawna Jackson drove for a layup with :22 left, Bryant trailed by 3 at the half.

Kristen Scarlett (Photo by Rick Nation)

The Lady Wildcats’ 11-4 run to start the second half, produced their largest lead of the game at 31-21.

It was 36-26 after a McCool bucket with 6:54 left in the game. Davis buried her third triple of the contest but Lockhart scored to bump it back to 9. Davis added two free throws and Baxter made a steal but a turnover led to a layup by McCool that made it 40-31 with 2:22 to go.

LADY WILDCATS 42, LADY HORNETS 39

Score by quarters

El Dorado 12 8 11 11 — 42

BRYANT 9 8 7 15 — 39

LADY WILDCATS (17-11, 10-4) 42

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts

o-d-t 

George 3-4 0-3 1-4 5 1

Jackson 1-2 0-2 0-0 0 2 2

Lockhart 4-7 2-4 0-2 2 5 10

Jones 0-3 0-0 0-1 1 3 0

McCool 8-18 1-5 6-13 19 2 17

Stringfellow 0-4 0-0 1-1 2 2 0

Billings 2-4 1-2 2-2 4 0

K.Smith 0-1 0-1  0-0 0 0 0

Finley 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Team 1-2 3

Totals 18-43 4-17 11-25 36 15 42

LADY HORNETS (11-17, 5-9) 39

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts

o-d-t

Davis 6-13 2-2 1-1 2 0 17

Davidson 4-13 3-4 2-5 7 4 12

Scarlett 0-2 0-0 0-2 2 1 0

Murphy 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Meyer 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

Duckworth 1-8 3-4 2-3 5 1 5

Weaver 0-4 0-0 0-3 3 1 0

Anderson 1-3 1-2 1-3 4 1 3

E.Smith 1-2 0-0 1-1 2 0 2

Baxter 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 4 0

Nichols 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Team  1-1 2

Totals 13-45 9-12 8-19 27 14 39

Three-point field goals: El Dorado 2-9 (George 2-3, Jones 0-2, Stringfellow 0-2, Lockhart 0-1, K.Smith 0-1), Bryant 4-13 (Davis 3-4, Davidson 1-4, Weaver 0-3, Scarlett 0-2). Turnovers: El Dorado 14, Bryant 10. Technical fouls: Bryant, Davidson. 

The Bryant seniors huddle before the game. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

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