The Bryant White Lady Hornets of Bryant Middle School hosted seventh and eighth grade, A and B games, on Monday night against one of the North Little Rock middle schools.
In the eighth grade, the A game went to North Little Rock 28-27 while Bryant won the B game 15-5.
In the seventh grade, Bryant’s A team prevailed 21-16 while the B team earned a 13-3 victory.
Lauren Lain led the eighth-grade A team with 11 points, eight steals and eight rebounds. Kylee Fleharty had 8 points, Lyniyae Johnson 6 and Haya Winfield 2.
North Little Rock held a 7-6 edge after a quarter, but Bryant surged in the second quarter to take a 16-10 lead. The Lady Hornets remained ahead 22-16 going into the fourth quarter.
“We managed to keep the lead all up until the last 1:30,” noted Lady Hornets coach Ben Perry. “We just couldn’t close it out and we started just throwing the ball away. We were making mistake after mistake and giving the ball to North Little Rock.
“At about 30 seconds, North Little Rock stole the ball and made a layup to go ahead by 1,” he recounted. “We had 30 seconds to score and we put ourselves into the position we wanted but a traveling call was called before the shot went in. With 13 seconds left we couldn’t foul to give ourselves a shot and we lost by 1.
“The girls played better basketball on both sides of the ball than we had previously against a North Little Rock team,” the coach pointed out. “It was very disheartening to lose a close game like that after being up by 5 with a minute left. We beat ourselves in the final stretch.
“However, there are good points to see,” he added. “We were against height and great guard play and still managed to stay ahead most of the game. We fought every step of the way and didn’t give up. To lose by one is tough and we will have to learn how to protect the ball better to close against a tough competitor.”
The Lady Hornets are scheduled to play Cabot tonight.
“We will be without Lauren Lane,” Perry mentioned. “She will be missed as she is improving every day. We must have someone step against a team that is extremely competitive.”
In the B game, the Lady Hornets led 4-3 at the half on the way to the win. Saniyah Ellison, Nyla Danzy and Brookyn Welch each had 4 points in the game. Kiniyah Horton added 3.
“We surged in the second half and worked hard on defense and offense,” Perry said.
In the seventh-grade A game, it was tied 5-5 at the end of the opening quarter. North Little Rock held a 10-9 edge at the half but the Lady Hornets surged to an 18-12 lead by the end of the third quarter.
Brilynn Findley struck for 11 points in the game. Emeril Jones and Kristen Reese added 4 each and Camille Calhoun contributed 2.
In the B game, Bryant held a 6-0 lead at the half. Raven Crump led the way with 6 points. Nia Swann had 3 with Arion Pegram and Molly Roach contributing 2 apiece.
“The seventh-grade group played hard in both games,” Perry said. “We hustled and had to combat the height of North Little Rock with physical play. The girls played tough on defense and moved the ball well on offense.
We did not go to the line as much as I like, and we did not fare well when we did, only shooting 3-of-8,” he continued. “However, we controlled the B game and we had a surge in the third quarter in the A game.
“We played well and it’s always great to get a win against a very athletic and talented North Little Rock team team,” the coach concluded. “We will play today against a good Cabot team at home. We will be down some players due to cheer competition today but we will make up for it with a lot of hustle and hardwork. I’m proud of how we are progressing each week and learning from one game to the next on what needs to happen and how to improve.”