Balanced offense, defensive work key Lady Hornets’ opening win at Bentonville tourney
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BENTONVILLE — After a bit of a slow start, the Bryant Lady Hornets ratcheted up the defense and forced 20 turnovers in the last three quarters to surge past the Lady Pirates of Branson, Mo., 47-32, in the opening round of the annual Crabtree Invitational Tournament at Bentonville High School.
With the win on Thursday, the Lady Hornets, now 3-0, were set to play the host team in the semifinals on Friday at 7 p.m. Bentonville defeated Duchesne, Mo., 60-46, in its opening-round game.
In the other half of the bracket, Sheridan downed Rogers Heritage, 46-31 and Huntsville defeated Hot Springs Lakeside 58-41.
The Lady Hornets were paced by sophomore McKenzie Adams, who had 15 points, six steals and four rebounds. Junior Breanna Blundell scored a season-high 11, all in the first half, to go with seven rebounds. Six of her boards came on the offensive end.
Junior London Abernathy was the third Lady Hornets’ player in double figures with 10. She also had three steals while sophomore Kiara Harris added 9 points and four rebounds including three on the offensive end. Senior Abbi Stearns led with eight rebounds and picked up three assists. Sophomore Logan Davis had four assists.
“I was very pleased with the balance in our scoring tonight,” stated Lady Hornets coach Blake Condley. “We spread the ball around and made the extra pass when we could. I hope this is a sign that our players are starting to get more comfortable with each other.
“When we have three girls in double figures and another one very close to double figures it makes you very hard to guard, makes it hard for teams to scout you,” he noted. “It makes you a good team. One of our goals is to be a balanced team. I felt like we did that tonight.”
Branson held a 10-7 lead after the first quarter but the Lady Hornets erupted for 18 points in the second period to forge a 25-17 halftime advantage. They led 38-28 going into the fourth quarter then pulled away.
“I was also pleased with our defensive intensity,” Condley related. “We forced 20 turnovers in the last three quuarters. Take away the first Quarter and we forced over six steals per quarter. I like our chances when we play with that kind of intensity.”