The Bryant White Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School held the Cabot White Panthers scoreless for the entire second quarter on the way to a 38-18 win at the BMS gym on Thursday night.
The win improved the Hornets to 8-3 with three games to go in their season including their next game, the final home contest against Conway Blue on Monday, Feb. 3.
Blaise Smith scored 10 points and Jake Wright had 8 including a pair of 3’s to lead the Hornets. Kajuan Robinson and Daelin Drake finished with 6 points each. Smith and Robinson, the Hornets’ twin towers, each had nine rebounds as the Hornets out-boarded the Panthers 37-20.
“Overall, it was probably our best performance of the year,” said Hornets head coach Heath Long. “I thought we defended really well. We did a good job overall of getting over screens and stopping their penetration, making them shoot contested jumpers.
“Offensively, we did a good job of running our stuff, playing our game and we handled their pressure well,” he added. “You know they’re always unselfish, always play hard and they always play together and it really showed for us tonight.”
But Bryant trailed 7-5 with a minute left in the first quarter after Cabot’s Mason Martin had come through with a three-point play. But that proved to be the last points in the half for the Panthers.
Robinson scored on a follow shot to tie it 7-7 at the end of the opening period. Drake hit a free throw to start the second stanza putting the Hornets ahead to stay. Jakob Neel’s 10-foot jumper and another bucket by Robinson extended the lead to 12-7.
Cabot had a chance to break through with 3:36 left in the half but missed both ends of a trip to the free-throw line. Smith countered with a bucket inside and before the quarter was over, Clayton Harbour knocked down a 12-footer off a kick-out pass from Robinson, making it a 9-point lead at the break.
Smith added a free throw for the first points of the third quarter before Brian Tillery scored as he was fouled to snap Cabot’s scoreless stretch. Wright got those 3 points back in a hurry with a long-range bomb from the left wing. Smith followed with another bucket to make it 22-10.
With back-to-back hoops by Tillery and point guard Isaiah Thomas, the Panthers got the margin under 10 but it didn’t last as Bryant went on an 11-0 run to take control of the game. A stickback by Robinson started the blitz. Drake scored off an inbounds play then took a feed from Smith for a layup after Robinson had made a steal.
Coby Greiner hit a jumper in the final seconds of the third quarter to make it 30-14 going into the last six minutes. Wright then completed the burst with his second 3 in the early moments of the fourth period.
Tillery again broke the Cabot drought and Hayden Vines cut into the lead with an offensive-rebound bucket and with 4:21 left, Bryant’s lead was 33-18. But again the Hornets put the clamps on the Panthers, who failed to score the rest of the game.
Smith scored off a lob and free throws by Neel, Drake and Sawyer Holt set the final score.