Photos by Kevin Nagle
The Bryant White Hornets eight grade team of Bryant Middle School concluded their 2015-16 season in a most satisfying way Thursday night. In a rematch with the Russellville Whirlwinds, the Hornets avenged a double-overtime loss that ended with a game-winning buzzer-beater on Jan. 12. Closing on an 8-2 run and holding the Whirlwinds without a field goal over the final four-minutes-plus, the Hornets surged to a 32-29 win.
“The kids played well,” stated Bryant coach Vincent Newton. “This being our last game, having an even 7-7 record, it was good to come out with a victory.”
The Hornets led only briefly over the first three quarters of the game. They trailed by as much as 6 in the first half and faced a 23-18 deficit going into the last minute of the third quarter. With :39 left in the period, Keyshawn Scott scored off an inbounds play and, after a miss by the Whirlwinds, O.J. Newburn hit a pull-up jumper from 5 feet to cut the lead to 1.
The Hornets forced a Russellville turnover with :04.4 showing. Arlon Jenkins made a dash to the other end and scored with :01 left. Though he was fouled, he was unable to complete the three-point play but Bryant White held a 24-23 lead going into the final six minutes.
Russellville regained the upper hand on two free throws by Spencer Terry. Nicholas Carter, who led the Winds with 10 points, drove for a basket and it was 27-24.
Newburn got Bryant back on track with a driving bucket. Following an empty trip to the free throw line for Russellville, Newburn cashed in his chances at the stripe to put the Hornets back on top to stay.
Another pair of misses at the line for Russellville enabled Bryant to increase the margin when Newburn drove and dished to Ahmad Adams who made it 30-27 with 3:16 left.
Russellville’s free-throw woes continued when the front end of a one-and-one failed to fall with 2:59 to go.
At a furious pace then game went up and down after that without anyone being able to change the score until the Whirlwinds’ Marquis Peter was fouled with :53.5 left. He converted once, trimming the lead to 30-28.
With :39.1 left, Adams went to the line. Though he missed both shots, he scrambled after the rebound but missed the follow. Russellville’s Ryne Sitkowski snatched the carom and was fouled at 35.1. He converted one of his two shots so Bryant remained ahead 30-29 with time running out.
At the other end, Darrick Rose fed Adams for a basket by made it 32-29 with less than 20 seconds left. Russellville called timeout to set up a try at a tying 3-pointer but Peter’s shot rimmed out and Catrell Wallace rebounded for Bryant White to close out the win.
“We executed in the second half, down the stretch, really well,” Newton noted. “We’ve had problems with that late in games where we lost those games so it was good to see them play good defense, take care of the ball and not turn it over late in the game.”
The Hornets opened the game with baskets by Newburn and Daniel Washington to take a 4-1 lead. It seesawed from there. The game was tied 6-6 going into the second quarter. Russellville took a lead on two free throws by Carter but a steal and basket by Wallace evened it up again. When Newburn followed up with a layup, Bryant led 10-8. Carter and Braylon McKinley answered to give the Whirlwinds a 12-10 edge before Wallace followed his own miss to knot it once more.
Russellville, however, scored the next 6 points to build its largest lead of the half. A buzzer-beater from 12 feet by Tre’Vun Herron cut it to 18-14 at the break.
Adams scored off the offensive glass to start the second half. Sitkowski and Rose traded baskets but the Hornets went cold for four minutes. But their defense was good enough that Russellville was only able to add three free throws to the lead during that stretch, setting up the Bryant surge at the end of the third period.
HORNETS 32, WHIRLWINDS 29
Score by quarters
Russellville 6 12 5 6 — 29
BRYANT WHITE 6 8 10 8 — 32
M.Peter 2-6 2-4 6, Terry 0-2 2-2 2, Carter 3-8 4-4 10, McKinley 2-4 3-4 7, Sitkowski 1-4 1-3 3, T.Peter 0-1 0-0 0, Holt 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 0-0 1-2 1, Westbrook 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 8-25 (32%) 13-19 (68%) 29.
Rose 1-4 0-0 2, Newburn 4-12 4-4 12, Herron 1-1 0-0 2, D.Washington 1-2 0-2 2, Jenkins 1-5 0-1 2, Wallace 2-8 0-2 4, Adams 3-6 0-2 6, Scott 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 14-42 (33%) 4-11 (36%) 32.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 0-3 (Newburn 0-2, Scott 0-1), Russellville 0-3 (Sitkowski 0-2, Carter 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 7, Russellville 11. Rebounds: Bryant 13-17 30 (Wallace 5-4 9, Newburn 1-7 8, Adams 3-1 4, Rose 1-2 3, Jenkins 2-0 2, D.Washington 0-1 1, Scott 0-1 1, team 1-1 2), Russellville 7-20 27 (McKinley 3-4 7, M.Peter 2-2 4, Sitkowski 0-4 4, T.Peter 0-4 4, Carter 1-2 3, Smith 0-2 2, Holt 0-1 1, team 1-1 2). Team fouls: Bryant 15, Russellville 10. Fouled out: Russellville, McKinley.