Benton snaps Lady Hornets’ Shootout streak

For more photos of this event by Kevin Nagle, go here

For more photos of this event by Rick Nation, go here

Kelly Williams unleashes a driving jumper in front of Benton’s Caitlin Ginther (32). (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

BENTON — None of the Benton Lady Panthers that took the floor Tuesday night had ever won a Saline County Shootout. The Bryant Lady Hornets had earned the trophy the last three years.

So, it was with considerable determination that the Lady Panthers denied Bryant a fourth straight win in the series. Benton’s collapsing zone held the Lady Hornets to 4 of 24 shooting from the field in the second half on the way to the 41-28 victory.

Bryant’s only lead was 1-0 on a free throw from junior forward Raven Loveless. Benton’s Italie Gray drove for a layup off a Bryant turnover to make it 2-1.

After another Bryant miscue, Loveless blocked a shot but, moments later, she had to come out of the game with a knee injury. She didn’t return. So the Lady Hornets were without one of their mainstays.

They kept battling, however. Kelly Williams who would lead Bryant with 10 points, drove for a basket and, later, with her team trailing 8-3, she drained a 3 to cut the margin to 2.

But baskets by Gray and Tamia Halk kept the Lady Panthers ahead. It was 12-7 going into the second quarter.

Bryant head coach Brad Matthews instructs his team during a timeout in Tuesday’s game. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Benton extended that little surge with the first 5 points of the new period. When Lenzie Newman hit a 3 at the 5:13 mark, the lead was 17-7.

The Lady Hornets rallied. Lania Ratliff scored inside off a nice feed from Williams. Newman knocked down another 3 but Mary Catherine Selig fed Kendal Rogers for a layup. Williams made a steal and layup then Riley Hill knocked down a baseline jumper off a dish from Rogers.

Kendal Rogers tries to get a shot away in traffic over Benton’s Anna Davis (5). (Photo by Rick Nation)

The lead was down to 20-15 and the Lady Hornets got a chance to get closer when they forced a turnover. But Benton got it back and pushed the lead to 23-15 at the half.

The Lady Hornets only mustered one basket in the first five minutes of the third quarter, a 12-foot jumper by Rogers. Benton took advantage to extend the lead to 30-17 before Hill hit a layup off a feed from Ratliff.

Bryant appeared to be gathering momentum again as Ratliff took a charge to get the ball back. She then followed her own miss on the other end to trim the margin to 30-21.

The Lady Hornets worked to try to prevent Benton from getting the last shot of the quarter and continue that momentum but Gray beat the buzzer with a 3 and the lead was 33-21 going into the final eight minutes.

It was a frustrating quarter for Bryant. They hit the boards to keep possessions alive but only converted 1 of 9 shots from the field during the period. Four free throws by Selig was the lone scoring for the Lady Hornets as Benton’s lead grew to 38-25 going into the final minute.

Williams hit a 3 with :48 showing but it was too little too late. Gray broke free for a layup and with :19.6 to go, converted a free throw to set the final score.

The game was the Lady Hornets’ last contest before Christmas. They’ll compete in a holiday tournament in Beebe starting Dec. 28.


Score by quarters

BRYANT          7          8          6          7 — 28

Benton            12       11       10       8 — 41


Loveless 0-0 1-2 1, Williams 4-10 0-2 10, Hill 2-7 0-0 4, Ratliff 2-5 0-0 4, Rogers 2-5 0-1 4, Selig 0-5 5-6 5, Walker 0-5 0-0 0, Rayford 0-1 0-0 0, Gordon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 10-38 6-11 28.


Arnold 1-1 1-2 3, Morrow 0-0 1-2 1, Gray 5-6 4-8 15, Halk 5-10 0-0 10, Newman 4-9 2-6 12, Davidson 0-1 0-0 0, Davis 0-1 0-0 0, Ginther 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-28 8-18 41.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 2-7 (Williams 2-4, Hill 0-2, Walker 0-1), Benton 3-8 (Newman 2-6, Gray 1-1, Davis 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 20, Benton 14. Rebounds: Bryant 14-17 31 (Selig 5-5 10, Ratliff 2-4 6, Williams 2-1 3, Rogers 0-3 3, Loveless 0-2 2, Hill 0-2 2, Walker 2-0 2, team 3-0 3), Benton 3-17 20 (Arnold 0-6 6, Halk 2-3 5, Gray 0-3 3, Morrow 0-1 1, Newman 0-1 1, team 1-3 4). Team fouls: Bryant 17, Benton 13. Fouled out: Bryant, Walker.

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