CABOT — Cory Nichols hit a tie-breaking jump shot then Jordan Knox hit clutch free throws in the end as the Bryant White Hornets eighth-grade team of Bryant Middle School prevailed over the Cabot North Panthers on Thursday night, 34-27.
The Bryant White seventh-grade team also prevailed with a 33-15 victory.
The eighth-grade team is now 6-3 with the seventh-graders improving to 6-1 going into Monday’s showdown with the Bryant Blue Hornets of Bethel Middle School at the Bryant Middle School gym.
“We played tough and fought hard all four quarters,” said Hornets coach Richard Wrightner of the eighth-grade team’s win. “We did not get down on ourselves when things got rocky. We stuck together as a unit and finished the game.
“I’m proud of the way our boys fought,” he added. “They showed a ton of heart against Cabot.”
Struggles at the free-throw line opened the door for a Cabot North rally. The Hornets were up 25-21 late in the third quarter but the Panthers hit a 3 at the buzzer to send it to the final period as a one-point contest.
A free throw brought Cabot North even at 25 early in the fourth. That eventually led to Nichols’ clutch basket and Knox’s free throws.
Nichols finished with 12 points, four rebounds and four steals in the game. Chris Gannaway added 10 points and six boards. Knox finished with 5 points, four steals and four assists.
In addition, Nasir Vinson scored 4 points and hauled down eight caroms. Antonio Cage added 2 points and two rebounds while Jaylon Russ scored 1 with three boards.
In the seventh-grade team’s win, T.J. Lyndsey led with 9 points, five rebounds and a steal. Kellen Robinson added 7 points, an assist and two steals. Jamison Lewis and Jordan Myers scored 4 apiece. Lewis had two boards, two steals, an assist and a block.
Jaedon Wilson scored 3 points and Mytorian Singleton, Grant Johnson and Gary Rideout added 2 each.
“It was a tough game,” Wrightner said. “Our players were excited to get back to work. They played hard all four quarters.”
“We played tough and fought hard all four quarters. We did not get down on ourselves when things got rocky. We stuck together as a unit and finished the game. I am proud of the way our boys fought. They showed a ton of heart against Cabot.”