CABOT — The lid was on the basket for much of the eighth-grade game between the Bryant Blue Hornets of Bethel Middle School and the Cabot South Panthers on Thursday night.
But, in the end, the Hornets found the range in overtime nearly doubling their score on the way to a 27-19 victory that improved their record to 9-1.[more]
The first quarter of the game ended with Cabot South leading 2-0. At halftime, the Panthers held a 5-3 lead and it was just 10-9 going into the fourth quarter in Bryant Blue’s favor thanks to a 3-pointer by Davis Nossaman with :04 left in the period.
Trevor Ezell’s driving jumper with :36 left in the game had the Hornets up 15-13 but two free throws with :06.7 showing tied the game and sent it to overtime.
“It was an offensive struggle,” acknowledged Hornets coach Derek McGrew. “We had not played in three-and-a-half weeks. Our execution, rhythm, and timing were off. We were 10 of 24 from the free throw line, missed several open shots under the rim.
“But I give these boys credit,” he added. “They continued to play extremely hard, played excellent man defense, and blocked out well on rebounds.”
The overtime had two starts. In the first, the officials allowed the players to line up facing the wrong goals on the opening jump. Cabot won the jump then was cited for a backcourt violation. In the confusion, Bryant was alternately awarded the ball then denied it then awarded it again plus the possession arrow. Eventually, the officials decided to re-jump much to McGrew’s chagrin.
And Cabot scored off the opening possession to take a lead. But the Panthers would only add 2 more points the rest of the overtime as the Hornets got hot. An offensive-rebound basket by Chase Thornton tied it and, after Chase Christie rebounded a Cabot miss, Nossaman was fouled. Though he missed both shots as the Hornets’ free throw woes continued, they forced a turnover and attacked the basket resulting in an intentional foul against the Panthers that sent Nossaman back to the line and earned the Hornets possession as well. This time, Nossaman converted his first free throw to put his team ahead to stay with 1:28 left.
On the subsequent possession, Ezell misfired on a 3 but Bryce Denker was there to rebound and score, making it a 3-point game.
Cabot couldn’t get a shot to go and Nossaman was fouled again with :51.4 to play. This time, he nailed both shots to make it a two-possession game.
The Hornets forced another turnover and Ezell cashed in with two at the line, pumping the margin to the largest of the game for either team to that point, 24-17.
Cabot managed a basket and forced a Bryant turnover but Ezell blocked a 3-point try and Nossaman rebounded a subsequent misfire. With :16.7 left, Thornton added a free throw and, after another turnover, Christie put the finishing touches on the win with two more from the line.
Bryant didn’t score a point in the game until Christie hit a reverse layup with 2:25 left in the first half. But the bucket trimmed Cabot South’s lead to 5-2 and when Christie hit a free throw in the closing moments of the half, the Hornets were within a bucket at the half.
Neither team scored in the third quarter until the final two minutes when Thornton’s layup tied it at 5. The teams traded baskets in a furious final minute with Nossaman’s 3 giving Bryant its first lead.
It was tied at 10 for most of the fourth quarter. Thornton hit a free throw with 2:37 left to put the Hornets back on top and Christie followed with a 15-foot jumper but Cabot eventually tied it at 13 with :49.9 showing.
“It’s funny how we scored 15 points through four quarters of play but scored 12 in the 2:30 in overtime,” McGrew noted. “We’re pleased to go on the road and get the win. These kids just find ways to win.”
Christie finished with 7 points to lead the Hornets. Nossaman, Ezell and Thornton added 6 each, Denker 2.
The Hornets return to action on Tuesday, Jan. 12, at home against Lake Hamilton.