SHERWOOD — It was a rugged night for the Bryant White Lady Hornets eighth-grade team of Bryant Middle School at Sylvan Hills on Monday.
After trailing just 8-6 at the half, the Lady Hornets wound up losing 25-14 while, in the seventh-grade contest, Bryant White prevailed 31-5.
“First half was a good half,” said Bryant coach Ben Perry of the eighth-grade contest. “Defensively, we were strong and offensively we were stealing the ball very well and controlling the boards. However, we were just not making our layups or our 10 free throws. We went 2 for 10 in the first half while Sylvan Hills was 2 of 8.”
Sylvan Hills led 6-4 after a quarter. In the third quarter, the Lady Hornets were held scoreless.
“The second half was like a completely different game,” Perry said. “It was a brutal game in the first half but got way out of hand in the second half and the officials were starting to worry me about the safety of the kids. It was comparable to a brawl and the coaches came to me and apologized for how things went.
“We did not make a single basket in the third quarter despite multiple attempts at layups and open shots,” he continued. “The opposing team when 3 for 8 (at the line) while we did not get a single three-throw attempt.”
Sylvan Hills held a 16-6 lead going into the fourth quarter.
“In the fourth quarter, we muscled up 8 points but were already behind due to the third quarter,” Perry related. “Free throws went 6 of 15 for Bryant and 6 of 20 for Sylvan Hills. We were not far off from Sylvan Hills in that regard, but the multiple attempts came in the third quarter which hurt.
“I rallied the girls after the third quarter and asked them play for pride and not the score,” he said. “I told them to play our game and not allow others to dictate how we conduct ourselves. They made me proud and battled multiple sides to get where they got.
“I know officials are in short supply, but safety must be on the priority list for athletes as well,” the coach said. “It was disappointing how things were run, and we will not be back.”
Kylee Fleharty scored 4 points to lead the Lady Hornets. Lyniyae Johnson and Nyla Danzy added 3 each. Haya Winfield scored 2 with Jayla Knight and Lauren Lain adding a free throw apiece.
“I’m not sure how our post Haya Winfield didn’t have a single free throw opportunity while she battled every offensive board and put back multiple missed shots,” Perry said.
“However, at the end of the day it is about what is on the scoreboard,” he mentioned. “We still have to make shots. We did not execute our layups, open or contested, and we did not execute our shots or our free throws. Freethrows can win games and we are experiencing the pain of missing them. We will heal and be ready for Cabot North.”
The eighth-grade team will return to action in 2019 with a trip to Cabot North on Thursday, Jan. 10.
In the seventh-grade contest, the Lady Hornets surged to a 15-5 lead in the first of the two 20-minute halves.
Brilynn Findley finished with 15 points. Kristen. Reese had 8 with Camille Calhoun, Raven Crump, Emeril Jones and Molly Roach each pitching in with 2.
“We played very well and very aggressive,” Perry said. “I was glad to see the girls getting after it on every possession. It was good to see the girls rising above the challenges they faced. They are bruised up, but all will heal over the break and be ready for Cabot North.