NORTH LITTLE ROCK — With 2:06 left to play, the unbeaten Bryant Hornets held a 69-63 lead over the unbeaten Maumelle Hornets in a highly entertaining battle on the second day of the OrthoArkansas/CAC Invitational Tournament on Mustang Mountain at Central Arkansas Christian High School.
It was the last two-trip lead of the game for Bryant but, despite the constant attacking on offense and defense by Maumelle along with returning starters Calvin Allen and Romen Martin fouling out, Bryant’s blue Hornets never relinquished the lead as they persevered with a 74-71 win on Friday night.
(It was actually a 74-72 final. There was a mix-up on the official scorebook).
Bryant improved to 4-0 going into tonight’s finale against the host team, set for 6:30.
Senior Kevin Hunt poured in 24 points to lead Bryant. Maumelle’s Tremont Robinson finished with 23. The blue Hornets got 14 points and 12 rebounds from Braylon Steen, 12 points and 12 boards from Lowell Washington.
Patrick Greene finished with 17 points for the red Hornets. Demarian Johnson had 11.
Bryant out-boarded Maumelle, 47-32.
“I’m proud of our guys,” stated Bryant coach Mike Abrahamson. “You know, it wasn’t perfect but it’s still early in December. I’m proud of their effort, their — for the most part — poise against a team that doesn’t really let you be poised. They attack and they’re so talented and athletic, just relentless on D.
“We withstood fouling out Calvin and fouling out Romen who are really important to what we do,” he continued. “Kevin was awesome and guys stepped up. We weathered the storm. We got through it.
“For this time of the year, that’s a great win against a great team that could win the 5A State championship this year,” the coach concluded.
Maumelle has several players back from a team that reached the title game last season.
With 1:58 left, Maumelle’s Shawn Williams drove for a basket to whittle on Bryant’s 6-point advantage. Moments later, Johnson converted both ends of a one-and-one to trim the margin to 2.
With 1:17 to go, Allen converted a free throw to make it 70-67. Two, in turn, by Robinson had the Bryant lead down to 1 (though it should’ve been tied) with Allen fouling out, following Martin to the bench. Martin had fouled out with about five minutes left.
Maumelle followed Robinson’s free throws by forcing a turnover, one of 27 suffered by Bryant. Greene who had hit three 3-pointers in the game, couldn’t get one to go on the resulting trip and, with :58.6 to go, Hunt was fouled. He converted once to make it 71-69 (71-70).
Johnson misfired and, though Marvin Moody rebounded, he lost his balance under siege from a Maumelle double-team. Robinson took the ball and was fouled with :42.7 to go.
Though he missed his first show, he made the second and it was 71-70 (should’ve been 71-71).
But, with :34 left, the Hornets came up with a big basket when Washington drew the defense and made a nice pass inside to Steen for a bucket, making it 73-70.
With :22.3 to go, Johnson hit a free throw. His miss on the second shot was rebounded by teammate Mike Fuller but Williams missed a 3-point try. Washington yanked down the rebound and was fouled with :12.6 to go. His free throw made it 74-71 on the scoreboard.
At the other end, Bryant’s Christian McIntosh combined with Moody to force a turnover and, despite an inadvertent whistle by one of the officials that stopped the clock at 0:01.1, Bryant threw the ball in deep towards their offensive end. The ball was tipped by Maumelle and went out of bounds as the horn sounded ending the game.
The game had opened on a positive note for Bryant. Off the opening tip, Washington got a dunk. Robinson, who would go 14 of 19 from the free-throw line, knocked down his first two to tie it but Hunt fed Washington for an answering deuce and, after Steen hit a free throw, Washington blocked a shot that led to the first of Hunt’s three first-half triples.
Williams cut into the 8-2 lead but Allen fed Steen for a responding basket. Green hit a baseline jumper but Hunt trumped that with his second 3 to make it 13-6. But, by the end of the quarter, Maumelle had pulled within 16-13.
To start the second quarter, Hunt dished to Moody for a layup and, after Johnson drove for a layup, Hunt nailed his third trey. A free throw by Moody made it 22-15.
Moments later, Hunt posterized Maumelle’s 6-6 center Tyler Hall, with a spectacular flying dunk in traffic to extend the margin to 9.
Maumelle kept the pressure on, however, and rallied within 26-22. A stickback from Kaleb Turner got Bryant righted. Hunt canned a pair of charity tosses then Allen scored off an assist from Turner. Allen made a steal and Turner hit the offensive glass again for a basket. When Steen scored inside with 2:24 left in the half, Bryant had pushed the lead to 36-22 and Maumelle had called a timeout.
The red Hornets regained momentum enough to cut the margin to 38-29 at the half.
“We knocked them back in the first half and got up 14, hit them with a little adversity,” Abrahamson mentioned. “They hadn’t seen that yet this year. And to their credit, they responded. They came back in the second half but we had built up just enough cushion to withstand it.”
Greene popped a 3 to start the second half and the intense up-and-down contest resumed. Hunt fed Steen but Greene drilled another troika. Hunt scored off a steal but Williams answered.
Maumelle eventually cut the margin to 2 with 2:14 left in the third quarter. But, like every other time, their lead was threatened, the blue Hornets responded. A follow shot by Moody and two free throws by Hunt had the lead back to 6, 56-50. But Robinson drilled a 3.
With :12 left, Steen knocked down a 12-footer and, at the other end, Moody took a charge that gave Williams his fourth foul of the game.
It was 58-53 going into the final eight minutes.
An offensive rebound basket by Hall and a basket inside from Robinson had Maumelle back within 1. Martin coolly converted twice at the line but a basket by Hall and a foul gave him a chance to tie it.
But the free throw wouldn’t go and, at the other end, Martin stepped up at the line once more as the game became even more frenzied. Johnson drove for a bucket to trim the lead to 64-63 but, once again, Bryant had an answer. This time, it was Washington who snatched an offensive rebound, scored and was fouled. His free throw made it a three-point lead.
Robinson hit a free throw and that’s where the discrepancy in the score was noticed with the scoreboard reading Bryant 66, Maumelle 64. As it turned out after a long discussion and recount, Washington hadn’t been credited with the free throw on his three-point play. That was eventually added back in but it was erroneously subtracted from Maumelle’s total as well.
Moments later, Allen converted the free throw that had Bryant up 69-63, setting up the dramatic finish.
BRYANT HORNETS 74, MAUMELLE HORNETS 71 (72)
Score by quarters
Maumelle 13 16 24 19 — 72
BRYANT 16 22 20 16 — 74
MAUMELLE (4-1) 72
Williams 3-14 2-2 8, Tr.Robinson 4-9 14-19 23, Johnson 4-11 3-6 11, Greene 6-13 2-2 17, Hall 2-2 0-1 4, Tate 1-6 2-4 4, Fu9ller 1-3 0-0 2, Lawrence 1-5 1-2 3, Ty.Robinson 0-2 0-0 0, I.Allen 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-67 (33%) 24-36 (67%) 72.
BRYANT (4-0) 74
C.Allen 2-8 2-4 6, Hunt 7-10 7-10 24, Steen 6-9 2-4 14, Washington 5-7 2-3 12, Martin 1-8 4-4 7, Turner 2-3 0-0 4, Moody 2-3 1-2 5, Cowart 0-0 0-0 0, McIntosh 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 26-52 (50%) 18-27 (67%) 74.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 4-12 (Hunt 3-4, Martin 1-4, C.Allen 0-2, Turner 0-2), Maumelle 4-17 (Greene 3-6, Tr.Robinson 1-1, Williams 0-7, I.Allen 0-2, Ty.Robinson 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 27, Maumelle 11. Rebounds: Bryant 13-34 47 (Steen 2-10 12, Washington 1-11 12, Hunt 2-4 6, Moody 2-4 6, C.Allen 2-3 5, Turner 2-1 3, Martin 0-1 1, McIntosh 1-0 1, team 1-0 1), Maumelle 18-14 32 (Johnson 0-6 6, Fuller 3-2 5, Greene 2-2 4, Hall 2-2 4, Lawrence 3-1 4, Tr.Robinson 2-0 2, Williams 1-0 1, team 5-1 6). Team fouls: Bryant 25, Maumelle 23. Fouled out: Bryant, Martin, C.Allen; Maumelle, Tate.