In a foul-plagued contest, the Bryant White Lady Hornets eighth-grade team of Bryant Middle School out-lasted the Benton Lady Panthers eighth grade, 34-20, on Tuesday night behind 14 points from Jordan Hancock and 8 from Daria Greer.
In a seventh-grade contest, Benton edged out an 18-11 victory.
Seven different players contributed to the scoring for the Lady Hornets in the eighth-grade game. Caitlin LaCerra added 4 with Brandy Strickland, Jayla Purifoy, V’mya Palmer and Regan Dillon scoring 2 each.
“It was an up and down game with way too many free throws and game stoppages,” said Lady Hornets head coach Ben Perry. “We like to play a fast-tempo game and it is difficult to do with so many fouls going on, on both sides. It seemed that the ball could not be brought down one side of the court or the other without someone fouling.
“We started off slow and fell behind 3-1,” he continued. “We soon were able to sink some shots and get an ‘and-one’ from Daria Greer and Caitlin LaCerra.”
The result was a 6-3 lead going into the second quarter.
“We took the momentum into the second quarter and sparked by Jordan Hancock with 5 points took a 20-8 lead at half,” the coach related. “We pressured the ball to get Benton out of their half-court offense and it helped. We struggled to penetrate and get into the lane and it showed in the third quarter when they came back on us. We found ourselves only up by 7 at the end of the third.”
It was 24-17.
“We regrouped and then, on offense, we tried to slow the game down by wasting some clock,” Perry said. “The girls did this well on a series but soon forgot that we did not have to rush. They’re learning still and will learn more tomorrow as they head to NLR to play them again.”
Tuesday’s win put the Lady Hornets back on track with a win after back-to-back losses for the first time since the start of the season. One of those setbacks was to North Little Rock on Monday night.
“They played hard and I am very proud of them,” Perry said of Tuesday’s effort. “They beat Benton and are starting to understand some game strategy concepts that will help them down the road.
“We have just this week and next week to our season and I hope they keep the steam going,” he added. “They have played very well against some very good opponents this year.”
In the seventh-grade game, the Lady Hornets fell behind early. It was 6-1 at the end of the first quarter and 11-4 at the half. Benton’s lead was 17-9 going into the fourth quarter.
Kylee Fleharty scored 5 points for Bryant including a 3-point shot. Saniyah Ellison and Brooklyn Welch scored 2 each with Bailey Zimmerman and Jayla Knight adding a free throw apiece.
“The seventh-grade girls are struggling this year,” Perry allowed. “They have not won a game, but they are improving. We are building from very little experience prior to this year and we’re playing competition that has played many times prior to this year and we are gaining experience and skills after each game. They have great potential but there are key aspects of the game that they are lacking at this moment.
“One key point is that we cannot score if we do not shoot,” he noted. “Free-throw opportunities must be capitalized on as well. We were 2 of 9 from the line while Benton was 2 of 18. That’s a lot of free throws missed during a game.
“Towards the end of the game, we were shooting shots a little more and they began to fall,” the coach mentioned. “We started the game poorly and did not make a single field goal in the first quarter. We did not cover our man and were very unorganized. We did not execute our offense and did not attack the lane. We were misfiring on offense and defense and I believe the pressure of a game against Benton got the best of them.
“Benton had a strong post who scored 9 of their points,” he related. “She was tall, big, and rebounded very well. We had a hard time stopping her.
“We regrouped at half and I told them they must shoot,” Perry said. “Kylee did very well making a 3 and another field goal. We had five girls score but we must shoot in order to score.”
Both teams will play at North Little Rock on Thursday before hosting Bryant Blue on Monday.