Balanced scoring marks Lady Hornets’ win over Lady Panthers
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).
Photos by Kevin Nagle
In their 38-31 win at Sheridan to open the regular season on Nov. 16, the Bryant Lady Hornets got 24 points from super-soph McKenzie Adams and no more than 4 from anyone else.
It was a different story on Tuesday, Nov. 23, when the Lady Hornets[more] made their home debut against the rival Benton Lady Panthers. Adams still led with 11 but London Abernathy added 10, Abbi Stearns 9 and Kiara Moore and Breanna Blundell 7 each as the Lady Hornets led wire-to-wire. They eventually led by as many as 16 then held off a Benton rally to win, 49-43.
The Lady Panthers were spurred by their own stellar sophomore Madi Brooks, who finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. The latter figure second to Stearns’ 11 boards. The Bryant senior also had four blocked shots, three assists and three steals before fouling out of the game with 3:14 left in the game.
Bryant rushed out to a 6-0 lead on free throws by Moore, a steal by Stearns that led to a driving jumper by Adams and a layup by Stearns on a nice inbounds play.
Benton head coach Jerry Chumley, a Bryant alum, used two timeouts in the first quarter to try to keep his team in it and, to their credit, the Lady Panthers hung around though the Lady Hornets wouldn’t relinquish the lead.
Still, noted Bryant head coach Blake Condley, his team never could quite put the Lady Panthers away either.
“I thought there were a lot of plays where we had mental breakdowns, where maybe we lost our focus, maybe we lost our intensity, maybe we lost our energy,” he commented. “Something just wasn’t right. We’d have a costly turnover at a bad time where Benton could capitalize on it. Or it’d be not rotating on defense where we should have and giving up an easy basket. Just not being at the right spot. And a lot of those were fundamental things that we’ve worked on and worked on and worked on.
“When we got that lead, I felt we relaxed a little bit and we didn’t maintain it,” the coach added. “And give Benton a lot of credit. They maintained their energy. They played hard. They kept fighting all the way to the end. I felt at times that their energy level was maybe a little bit higher than ours was.
“I’m glad we won but there’s just lots of things that we need to work on, still a lot of things we need to improve on,” Condley explained. “And a lot of it is situational. Understanding the situation and the time of the game, what shot we need, what pass to make in that situation, where do we want to get girls the ball so that they’re in position for them to be successful, things like that.
“We’ll go back and look at the film, talk about it and hopefully we’ll learn from it and we’ll be better next game,” he concluded. “That’s what I told the girls. It’s a process right now. We don’t want to be playing our best ball right now. We want to keep getting better and, hopefully, when we hit that conference season, we’re still improving and we can make a run towards the State Tournament. That’s our goal right now.”
Bryant’s next action will be at the Crabtree Invitational Tournament in Bentonville, Dec. 2-4.
After the initial salvo on Tuesday, Benton came out of the first timeout and got on the board on a free throw by Rose McGuire and 10-foot jumper by Bailey Gately. The Lady Panthers had a chance to get closer but Bryant forced a turnover and Abernathy drained a 3 to start a 10-2 run. Brooks answered with a drive but then Abernathy hit a layup off a turnover and knocked down a 10-footer. After another Benton timeout, Stearns drove to the hoop and came away with a three-point play to make it 16-5.
Baskets in the last minute of the first quarter by Brooks and Katelyn Simmons cut the margin to 16-9. And when Brooke Million and Simmons scored the first 4 points of the second quarter, Benton was as close as it would get at 16-13.
In off the bench, Callie Hogancamp provided a spark for the Lady Hornets with a 3-pointer from the corner. Abernathy added a baseline jumper to make it 21-13 and the Lady Hornets eventually pushed out to a 29-17 advantage by hitting 8 of 10 free throws in the final four minutes of the half.
They led 29-20 at the break.
The Lady Panthers trimmed the margin to 31-23 early in the third quarter only to have Adams drive for a bucket and Logan Davis can a 15-footer to make it double-digits again.
Brooks scored but then free throws by Blundell and a steal and layup by Adams had Bryant up 40-25.
The lead grew to 16 early in the fourth quarter on a three-point play by Blundell. Brooks who used her quickness to get to the hoop inside — she wound up 11 of 14 from the free-throw line — answered Blundell’s play with two from the stripe but Stearns canned a baseline jumper to make it 47-31 with 5:11 left.
That’s when Benton began to whittle on the lead. Brooks scored 10 of her points in the final period.
But the Lady Hornets maintained their advantage with free throws by Moore and Abernathy, and the final margin of 6 was as close as Benton could get.
LADY HORNETS 49, LADY PANTHERS 43
Score by quarters
Benton 9 11 8 15 — 43
BRYANT 16 13 13 7 — 49
LADY PANTHERS 43
Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts
Simmons 2-6 0-1 0-2 2 1 4
Million 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 2 2
Gately 1-5 1-2 1-2 3 5 3
McGuire 1-4 6-8 2-2 4 5 8
Brooks 5-10 11-14 3-7 10 3 21
Forbess 0-4 0-2 0-1 1 4 0
Parker 2-2 1-3 1-1 2 1 5
Wilson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Team 3-3 6
Totals 12-34 19-30 10-18 28 21 43
LADY HORNETS 49
Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts
Adams 4-11 3-8 3-4 7 3 11
Moore 0-2 7-10 3-0 3 3 7
Abernathy 4-12 1-2 0-1 1 4 10
Blundell 1-4 5-5 2-3 5 3 7
Stearns 3-5 3-3 3-8 11 5 9
Davis 1-1 0-0 1-0 1 4 2
Meyer 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Hogancamp 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 3
Team 0-1 1
Totals 14-37 19-28 12-17 29 22 49
Three-point field goals: Bryant 2-11 (Abernathy 1-5, Hogancamp 1-2, Adams 0-2, Moore 0-1, Stearns 0-1), Benton 0-9 (Simmons 0-4, Million 0-2, Forbess 0-2, Gately 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 18, Benton 18.