LITTLE ROCK — For the sixth time in seven games this season, the Bryant Blue Hornets eighth[more] grade team of Bethel Middle School eclipsed the 40-point mark. Not surprisingly, they’ve won all six of those games and this time, with their 45-33 win over Lighthouse Charter School, they advanced to the championship of the Wildcat Shootout at Episcopal Collegiate Academy.
They’ll play for the title on Saturday at 4 p.m., against an opponent to be determined.
In addition, the Bethel seventh grade team picked up its third win in four games this season, 29-26, over Arkansas Baptist. They’ll wrap up play at the Shootout Saturday at 2.
Desmond Duckworth pumped in 18 points, Caylin Allen 11 and Calvin Allen 9 to pace the eighth grade team, now 6-1 on the season.
The Hornets, however, trailed after the first quarter 11-8. They rallied to take a 22-19 lead at the half. At the end of the third, they were still clinging to a narrow advantage, 30-28.
“It was a hard-fought game,” acknowledged Bryant Blue coach Derek McGrew. “We were finally able to pull away in the fourth quarter. We got into some foul trouble early and had to rely on half-court defense. We shot very poorly from the free-throw line and missed several easy shots.”
Chris Adams added 3 points, Josh Bonner 2 and Hunter Handly and Phillip Isom-Green had 1 each.
“Last year, this (Lighthouse) team’s record was 14-4 and one of those losses was to this team in the finals of this same tournament,” he noted.
In the seventh grade team’s win, Sam Chumley led with 9 points. Keith West and Diante Woodson each had 8. Matthew Sandidge and Mitchell Wollard pitched in with 2 apiece.
The Hornets trailed 10-5 after a quarter but held Arkansas Baptist scoreless in the second quarter and pulled in front 14-10 by halftime. Bryant Blue led 27-22 after three quarters.