Closing with a 13-5 run in the fourth quarter, the Bryant Blue Hornets eighth grade team of[more] Bethel Middle School made the third time a charm as they handed the Bryant White Hornets of Bryant Middle School their first loss of the season Tuesday night with a 50-39 final at the Bethel gym.
The two teams combined have suffered just four losses with two of them White wins over Blue and now the fourth a Blue win over White. Each of the games between the two teams has been a barnburner and Tuesday’s game was no less so.
Blue held an 11-8 edge after a quarter but White rallied to make it 20-20 at the half. Going into the third quarter, Blue had eked out a 37-34 advantage before bringing home the win with their stretch run.
Bryant White came into the game 9-0 on the season. Blue improved to 11-3.
Caylin Allen led the victors with 16 points. Desmond Duckworth added 15, Calvin Allen 12, Philliip Isom-Green 6 and Hunter Handly 1.
Romen Martin scored 14 and Brandon Harris 12 for Bryant White. Jonathan Allen added 4.
“We played very well,” said Blue coach Derek McGrew. “We shot the ball well hitting seven 3-pointers and we had three players in double figures.
“We had a game plan of coming out and spreading the floor and using our strengths which are quickness and guard play,” he added. “We attacked the basket and kicked out for open shots and knocked them down.
“I was very proud of our defense and intensity,” the coach continued. “We rebounded very well and limited their second-chance points which cost us last time we played them. Handly and Isom-Green did a great job on the boards and gave us hustle plays all night. It was a total team effort.”
"When we were able to keep their guards out of the paint with our help defense, they did a great job of kicking out and making shots," said Bryant White coach Heath Long. "When those guys are making shots, they are very difficult to guard."
"We did a pretty good job on the offensive end of the floor," he added. "Brandon made four big 3's for us."
The two teams will become one as freshmen next season. McGrew noted that, over the last two years, they’ve played each other six times.
“We finished the series at 3-3,” he noted. “I am very proud of these young men.”
"I'm disappointed that we lost," Long acknowledged. "But Bethel is the best team we have played this year. If someone was going to beat us, I'm glad it was them. I look forward to watching these guys come together as teammates next season."
Bryant White is set to travel to Hot Springs Lakeside on Thursday, Jan. 24 then hosts Lighthouse Charter on Thursday, Jan. 31, before concluding the season at Conway Blue on Feb. 7.
Bryant Blue heads to Conway White on Thursday, Jan. 24, then plays at home vs. Lighthouse on Jan. 28, before finishing the campaign against North Little Rock Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Bryant Middle School gym.