SHERIDAN — Give an assist for the Bryant White Lady Hornets’ seventh grade team of Bryant Middle School for the victory of the Bryant White Lady Hornets’ eighth-grade win over the Sheridan Lady Jackest on Tuesday night.
The seventh-grade team, battling against a defense they hadn’t seen before — a tough 1-3-1 zone — were edged out 27-23 by the Lady Jackets.
“During the seventh-grade boys’ game, the eighth-grade girls and I met to discuss how to approach the 1-3-1 defense,” recounted Lady Hornets coach Ben Perry. “It took the first quarter for them to learn the scoring areas and how to move the ball, but once they did, they seemed to click.”
The eighth-grade girls went on to earn a 37-30 victory to improve to 2-3 on the season going into a game against North Little Rock at home on Monday, Dec. 10.
“It was a very exciting game,” Perry said. “Last year, this same team beat us by 11, I think. We played hard and seemed to out-hustle Sheridan. The girls came out firing and we took a quick 4-0 lead.”
By the end of the quarter, the game was tied 6-6. In the second quarter, the Lady Hornets managed a 15-13 edge then extended the margin to 27-21 going into the fourth quarter.
“Defensively, we were very active and got several steals and rebounds,” Perry said. “We still allowed them to drive the baseline from the corner and we left open shots on inbounds plays, but that can be worked on.
“It is hard to coach a team that doesn’t want to hustle, and we didn’t have to worry about that during this game,” he added. “The girls were hungry for a win and they left with what they wanted.”
Haya Winfield led the Lady Hornets with 10 points. Lauren Lain added 8, Jayla Knight 7 with Kylee Fleharty and Lyniyae Johnson scoring 6 each.
The Lady Hornets controlled the boards, finishing with a 37-21 rebounding advantage. They also had 10 steals to Sheridan’s nine, and they blocked nine shots.
“They only made 4 of 6 free throws while we made 7 of 15,” Perry noted. “I always like having more free throws than they shoot.
“They played tough and deserved a win,” he added. “We still have to work on help-side defense, but I was proud of their fight. The fans and the bench were all into the game.”
In the seventh-grade contest, the officials were late so a former Bryant football coach now working at Sheridan, Josh Fonville, and Bryant White boys coach Richard Wrightner served as officials for the seventh-grade girls’ game.
“Sheridan’s seventh-grade team is very good,” Perry said. “We’re still learning how to play together and work our offense. We are young, and we are learning concepts that are new to many of them. Offensively, we must start utilizing others and work to get open. The girls worked hard but we must improve before Monday night against North Little Rock.
The game was played with two 20-minute halves instead of quarters and Sheridan led 18-14.
“I hate 20-minute halves because it is so difficult to contraol a game and seems to take so long,” Perry said. “The girls get tired easilty.
“Sheridan had a very tall girls who was very good at free throws and could handle the ball well,” the coach added. “She made 8 of 10 free throws, which is amazing for a seventh-grade or eighth-grade girl.
“Our defense struggled, and our offense struggled against their 1-3-1 zone that they had not seen all year,” he concluded. “It was a good challenge for the girls. With hard work, we will be better.”
Brilynn Findley led the Lady Hornets with 17 points including a buzzer-beating half-court shot at the end of the game. Kristen Reese scored 4 points and Emeril Jones had 2.