Bryant overwhelms Benton in freshman girls contest

For more photos from this event by Rick Nation and Kevin Nagle, go here and here

Tierra Trotter launches a 3-point try from the left corner. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

BENTON — It’s been a rugged season for the Benton Lady Panthers freshman team and it didn’t get any better on Monday night against the rival Bryant Lady Hornets. Still seeking their first win in their ninth Central Arkansas Junior High Conference game, the Lady Panthers didn’t get any help from the Conway White Lady Cats on Thursday who stung the Lady Hornets 35-30. It only made Bryant more determined when they visited Panther Arena on Monday.

The Lady Hornets had them over-matched in a 46-12 romp that started with an 18-0 run.

Benton used four of its five timeouts in the first half, three during the first quarter during that game-opening blitz.

“Our energy level was so much better compared to last Thursday,” said Bryant coach Nathan Castaldi. “We came out and really put in a concentrated effort, not so much X’s and O’s but our energy level had to go up from last week. I thought we did a good job with that.

Lexi Taylor fires a shot over a Benton defender. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

“Compared to the games leading into that Conway White game, we didn’t think we put as much pressure on the basketball, didn’t have the energy on the defensive side that we needed,” he explained. “We had to key on that tonight.”

Bryant forced 33 turnovers and held the Lady Panthers to four field goals in just 12 attempts.

“Getting out in transition, getting some easy buckets and even when we got into the half-court, still being aggressive, still getting into the passing lanes, taking things away from them to make it easy on us,” Castaldi noted.

Tyianna Robinson led the Lady Hornets with 14 points. Ivory Russ added 8 with Celena Martin and Maddie Scifres scoring 6 each. Lexie Newman had 5 of Benton’s points.

Robinson’s drive up the baseline produced the first basket of the game less than a minute in. Neither team could score for a while after that. But, while the Lady Hornets were just missing shots, the Lady Panthers couldn’t muster attempts. They wound up 0 for 2 from the field with 13 turnovers in the first stanza.

Celena Martin (Photo by Rick Nation)

Twice during that stretch, the Lady Hornets forced five-second inbound violations.

Finally, Russ broke the ice with a three-point play at the 3:28 mark. Moments later, Martin grabbed the carom off a teammate’s miss and was fouled. She converted twice at the line and, off another Benton turnover, Tierra Trotter drove to a layup to make it 9-0.

Benton’s second timeout didn’t change much. The game went back-and-forth for a bit as the Lady Hornets were unable to cash in a steal by Russ and a charge taken by Martin. Robinson, however, swiped a pass and drove for a layup to rev things up again for Bryant.

Jada Deaton hit a layup off a Benton turnover. Lexi Taylor capped off the opening period with an 18-foot jumper to make it 15-0.

Scifres opened the second quarter with a 3 and the lead was 18-0. Benton finally broke the ice when Rhema Riley hit a free throw at the 5:03 mark. Her missed second shot was rebounded by Macie Jones who scored the first field goal to make it 18-3.

The Lady Hornets huddle up around head coach Nathan Castaldi during a timeout in Monday’s game. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

But Bryant closed out the half with an 11-2 rush and extended that to 19-2 with the first 8 points of the third quarter.

At the end of the first half, Robinson had three baskets. Russ hit a free throw and knocked down a stickback. Trotter added a layup.

Benton’s only points came on a basket by Hannah Brewer at the 1:20 mark of the second quarter. The Lady Panthers didn’t score again until two free throws by Cayla Clayton with :00.8 showing on the clock at the end of the third quarter.

It was 37-7 going into the fourth quarter so the sportsmanship rule was in effect. Benton’s Erin Wade scored first in the final period but an offensive-rebound bucket by Kendall Scott started Bryant’s closing surge that was punctuated by Deaton’s baseline jumper.

The Lady Hornets improved to 13-3 overall and 6-3 in conference play. They’ll start the second half of the league slate on Thursday when they host Cabot North at Bryant Middle School gym.


Score by quarters

BRYANT          15       14       8          9 — 46

Benton            0          5          2          5 — 12


Trotter 2-8 0-2 4, Martin 2-4 2-2 6, Oholendt 0-0 0-0 0, Robinson 7-9 0-2 14, Russ 3-4 2-4 8, Taylor 1-7 0-0 2, Deaton 2-3 0-0 4, Scifres 2-3 1-2 6, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Scott 1-1 0-0 2, C.Rogers 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Harlee 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-40 5-12 46.


Clayton 0-2 2-2 2, Felan 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, R.Rogers 0-0 0-0 0, Hopper 0-0 0-0 0, Newman 2-3 0-0 5, Riley 0-0 1-2 1, Sample 0-2 0-0 0, Brewer 1-2 0-1 2, Ward 0-0 0-0 0, Bowling 0-0 0-0 0, Brockway 0-0 0-0 0, Wade 1-2 0-0 2, Pierce 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 4-12 3-7 12.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 1-9 (Scifres 1-2, Trotter 0-4, Taylor 0-3), Benton 1-2 (Newman 1-1, Brewer 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 8, Benton 33. Rebounds: Bryant 8-6 14 (Russ 2-2 4, Martin 2-0 2, Robinson 1-1 2, Scifres 0-2 2, Oholendt 0-1 1, Taylor 1-0 1, Deaton 1-0 1, Scott 1-0 1), Benton 4-15 19 (Riley 0-3 3, Newman 1-2 3, R.Rogers 0-2 2, Sample 0-2 2, Clayton 0-1 1, Jones 1-0 1, Hopper 0-1 1, Brewer 0-1 1, Wade 0-1 1, team 2-2 4). Team fouls: Bryant 10, Benton 11.

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