Bryant boys lock down Van Buren in second half for State win

CONWAY — After Van Buren’s Isaac Delafuente scored five goals in his teams 6-1 win over the Fort Smith Southside Mavericks in Pointers’ first-round victory at the 6A State Tournament in Conway on Thursday, the Bryant Hornets’ defense was more than aware of where he was.

As the 6A-Central Conference champions, the Hornets had a bye on Thursday and drew Van Buren on Friday in their debut.

Delafuente managed the lone Van Buren score midway through the first half, tying the two teams at 1-1. Two minutes before halftime, Brandon Delgadillo scored to give the Hornets a 2-1 lead and they made it hold up for the victory with a strong second half.

The Hornets improved to 15-2-2 as they advanced to the State semifinals on Saturday against Rogers. Bryant has now won 13 in a row.

“It was a good game all the way around,” said Hornets coach Richard Friday. “The boys came out with a lot of nerves.”

Grant Jacuzzi put the Hornets on top initially just four minutes in. Delafuente’s goal came after a long throw-in. The Hornets deflected it and Delafuente rebounded and knocked in the tying goal.

“The second half we were solid,” Friday said. “We started knocking the ball around. We should have had a couple more goals. 

“Defensively we were solid and shut down (Delafuente),” the coach noted. “He only had four shots but from difficult positions.”

Bryant will vie for a spot in the State championship game when they play the semifinal match against Rogers on Saturday.

The Hornets are the lone remaining 6A-Central team in the tournament.

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