By Rob Patrick
File photo by Rick Nation
MAUMELLE — With their high-energy, high-risk, overplaying defense, the Maumelle Lady Hornets[more] challenge any opponent to play their helter-skelter style of game. And, admittedly, the Bryant Lady Hornets were seduced by the opportunities that presented themselves, often early in a possession, that wind up feeding into the up-and-down game Maumelle likes to play.
But Bryant settled in and ran its offense and played its own solid defense enough to extract a 39-27 win over Maumelle Friday night as part of the second day of action at the OrthoArkansas/Baptist Health Invitational Tournament at Central Arkansas Academy.
Bryant, now 3-2 on the season, takes on the host Lady Mustangs this afternoon at 4:30 to wrap up the tournament. With a win, the Lady Hornets have an outside chance of capturing the championship.
It took Bryant nearly five minutes to put its first points on the board but when Logan Davis drilled a 3 from the corner with 3:14 left in the first period, it ignited a 17-1 run that established a lead that the team would not relinquish.
Though the lead never dwindled below 8 points after that, however, it never seemed comfortable for Bryant as Maumelle’s style of play created a game that always appeared to be just short of spinning out of control.
“We executed in spurts then we didn’t execute,” acknowledged Bryant head coach Brad Matthews. “You’ve still got to be able to execute against the pressure and their getting into the passing lanes, the kind of defensive stuff they were doing.
“It’s the fifth game of the year and we talk about how we’ve got to learn to execute, execute, execute offensively and defensively,” he continued. “The game comes down to execution. Whether it’s tonight or some time in conference in January or February or it’s tomorrow, we’ve got to learn to execute. We’re getting there. It’s not like flipping a switch but our kids are working hard in practice and, hopefully, as we move forward we’ll just continue to improve.
“I’m proud of our kids,” the coach emphasized. “(Maumelle) put so much pressure on, just constantly, every possession. It’s a good win. Maumelle’s got some good talent. They’ll beat a lot of teams this year. I thought our kids played hard. We competed with them. I’m proud of our win.”
Courtney Davidson finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds for Bryant. Dezerea Duckworth also scored 13, Davis 8, Peyton Weaver 3 and Kristen Scarlett 2.
“Last night, she got into foul trouble,” Matthews said of Davidson. “Tonight Logan got into foul trouble and I thought it took her out of her rhythm a lot. You know, it’s hard to sit there for 30, 45 minutes then get back in and get in a rhythm.
“Courtney played well,” he added. “She got some big rebounds for us. We’re asking her to do more offensively than she’s been asked to do in the past. She’s more than capable. She’s a talented kid. As she gets more comfortable in her role, I think she’s just going to continue to improve.”
Maumelle’s Morgan Fimple hit two free throws in the first 15 seconds of the game then neither team could score for a while. They combined for six turnovers as the tempo was set. As it turned out, Maumelle’s first field goal didn’t occur until the 4:59 mark of the second quarter when Fimple knocked down a 15-foot jumper.
For the game, Maumelle shot just 23 percent (11-of-48) from the field including 0-for-12 from 3-point range.
By the time Fimple managed that first basket, Bryant had opened up its lead. On the heels of Davis’ ice-breaking 3, Duckworth scored off the offensive glass. Maumelle’s Meyonsha Riddles hit a free throw but Scarlett drained an 8-footer to get Bryant’s run going again.
When Davidson nailed a 3 in the closing seconds of the first quarter, Bryant had a 10-3 edge.
Duckworth hit a jumper from the wing and Davidson connected on a pair of free throws to start the second quarter. And when Duckworth dropped a 3 with 5:18 left in the half, it was 17-3.
Fimple started a 6-0 stretch for Maumelle, capped by a steal and layup by Kamry Orr. A turnover provided Maumelle with a chance to get closer than 17-9 but Taylor Pippens, who would lead her team with 10 points and eight rebounds, couldn’t get a shot to go.
Three-pointers by Duckworth and Weaver closed out the scoring in the half, producing a 23-9 lead for Bryant.
In the third quarter, Pippens sparked a run that trimmed the Bryant lead to 23-14. After a timeout, Davis scored inside to get Bryant back on track. Pippens and Davidson traded baskets then, after a Maumelle miss, Davidson drove for a bucket that pushed the lead to 29-16.
A flurry of turnovers and missed shots occurred over the next two minutes. Jakayla Lovelace finally broke through in the post for Maumelle only to have Davis trump that with another 3, making it 32-18 going into the fourth quarter.
Davidson’s stickback to open the scoring in the period gave Bryant its largest lead at 16 but Maumelle had one more charge in them. With 3:36 left to play, Pippens scored inside and the lead had once again been cut to 9, 34-25.
But Maumelle was unable to score again until the :46 mark. By then, Duckworth hit a jumper and a free throw and Davidson added two from the charity stripe to push the advantage to 14 again.
BRYANT 39, MAUMELLE 27
Score by quarters
Maumelle 3 6 9 9 — 27
BRYANT 10 13 9 7 — 39
Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts
Orr 1-6 0-0 1-1 2 3 2
Riddles 3-7 1-2 2-0 2 4 7
Lovelace 1-5 1-2 1-3 4 2 3
Pippens 5-13 0-0 1-7 8 3 10
Fimple 1-6 3-4 2-1 3 3 5
Ellis 0-4 0-0 1-1 2 1 0
Ross 0-5 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
Gillespie 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Team 1-3 4
Totals 11-48 5-8 9-16 25 17 27
Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts
Duckworth 5-8 1-3 1-4 5 1 13
Davis 3-10 0-0 0-2 2 3 8
Weaver 1-2 0-0 0-5 5 0 3
Davidson 4-10 4-4 2-9 11 0 13
Meyer 0-1 0-0 2-1 3 4 0
Scarlett 1-1 0-0 0-1 1 0 2
Anderson 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 0 0
Nichols 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
Team 2-3 5
Totals 14-35 5-8 7-27 34 9 39
Three-point field goals: Maumelle 0-12 (Ross 0-4, Ellis 0-3, Lovelace 0-2, Orr 0-1, Riddles 0-1, Gillespie 0-1), Bryant 6-13 (Davis 2-6, Duckworth 2-4, Weaver 1-2, Davidson 1-1). Turnovers: Maumelle 10, Bryant 20.