Bryant girls return from Alma with 62-46 victory

ALMA — The heartache didn’t get the Bryant Lady Hornets down.

After leading late and losing in overtime at home to the Russellville Lady Cyclones on Tuesday, the Lady Hornets might’ve been down when they made the long trip to Alma on Friday night. But they responded to Tuesday’s disappointment with their biggest offensive night of the season in a 62-46 victory over the Alma Airedalettes at the splendid Charles E. Dyer Arena.

Jakeria Otey and Lauren Carroll combined for 38 points and the Lady Hornets put together a second-half surge the produced a lead that they were eventually able to expand to as much as 17.

The Airedalettes were just not able to contend with the Lady Hornets’ quickness. Bryant forced 20 turnovers and, by attacking the basket, shot 26 of 32 from the line including 11 of 13 in the fourth quarter to pad the lead. Alma was 11 of 16 at the stripe.

“It was a good win, a good team win,” stated Bryant head coach Brad Matthews. “We had a heartbreaker on Tuesday so to be able to come on the road against a good team, a good program, a good coach and get a win, it feels good.”

Alma was led by Lania Wright with 11 points. Hailey Ostrander and Cierra Rainwater added 10 each. Bryant got a lift off the bench as Emily Ridgell scored 8 and Destiny Martin 7.

The Airedalettes rushed to a 7-1 lead to start the game and led by 9 late in the first quarter. Otey connected from 3-point range providing a spark for the Lady Hornets. Later, she had a three-point play and Ridgell added a free throw as they cut it to 15-12 before Wright beat the buzzer for a 5-point lead.

And when Wright added a free throw and Rainwather scored off the offensive rebound, the margin was back up to 8.

That’s when the Lady Hornets started attacking the Alma press. It produced layups for Carroll and Ridgell and free throws for Carroll and Otey that had Bryant within 20-19. The Lady Hornets eventually tied it on a drive by Otey and it was 26-26 at the break.

“We got off to a little slow start defensively but I thought our defense all night was pretty good,” Matthews related. “They do such a great job shooting the 3 but we really were able to limit their 3’s.”

The Airedalettes wound up connecting on just 1 of 9 from beyond the arc in the game.

“I thought we did a good job of handling their pressure, did a good job of attacking,” the coach added.

Bryant had struggled against zone defenses at times this season but it was apparent the team had been working on that.

“We were able to get the ball to the high post, get the ball to the short corner,” observed Matthews. “And our kids went and made some plays too.”

It took a while for either team to score in the third quarter. Almost three minutes in, Bryant’s Maddie Baxter broke the ice with a pair of free throws giving her team it’s first lead of the game. Ridgell made a steal that eventually led to a bucket by Raija Todd off a short jumper on an inbounds play. A 12-footer by Cayla McDowell extended the lead to 34-27.

Bryant led 38-31 going into the fourth quarter.

Twice in the opening moments of the final period, the Airedalettes missed the front end of a bonus chance at the line. In between, Ridgell drained a pair. Hailey Ostrander answered by sinking two but Otey stepped up with her second 3 and Bryant had a 10-point advantage with 5:59 left.

Martin followed up with a steal and a layup and, after an Alma miss, converted two free throws as the margin grew to 47-33.

The lead was never less than double digits after that. The Lady Hornets spread the floor and worked the clock. In the final three minutes Otey went 7 of 8 from the line and Carroll chipped in a layup.

The Lady Hornets return to action in Conway on Tuesday, Jan. 27.

LADY HORNETS 62, AIREDALETTES 46

Score by quarter

BRYANT          12       14       12       24 — 62

Alma               17       9          5          15 — 46

LADY HORNETS (10-8, 2-3) 62

Otey 5-12 8-11 20, Carroll 6-11 6-7 18, Baxter 0-3 3-4 3, Todd 1-7 2-2 4, McDowell 1-3 0-0 2, Ridgell 2-7 4-5 8, Martin 2-3 3-3 7. Totals 17-46 (37%) 26-32 (81%) 62.

AIREDALETTES (9-8, 1-4) 46

Jones 1-5 1-2 4, H.Ostrander 2-5 6-6 10, Wright 5-10 1-3 11, Rainwater 4-7 2-2 10, Jackson 3-4 0-1 6, A.Ostrander 1-5 1-2 3, Fagan 0-2 0-0 0, Dunbar 1-3 0-0 2, Tobler 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-41 (41%) 11-16 (69%) 46.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 2-11 (Otey 2-5, Baxter 0-3, Todd 0-3), Alma 1-9 (Jones 1-3, Wright 0-2, A.Ostrander 0-2, H.Ostrander 0-1, Fagan 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 14, Alma 20. Rebounds: Bryant 11-20 31 (Otey 0-6 6, Carroll 4-1 5, Baxter 1-4 5, Ridgell 3-2 5, Todd 1-2 3, McDowell 2-1 3, Martin 0-1 1, team 0-3 3), Alma 8-19 27 (Jackson 1-6 7, Rainwater 1-4 5, A.Ostrander 0-3 3, Tobler 2-1 3, H.Ostrander 1-1 2, Wright 0-1 1, team 3-3 6). Team fouls: Bryant 16, Alma 21.

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