By ROB PATRICK
LITTLE ROCK — When Brandon Parish poured in his fourth 3-pointer of the first half with 2:16 left until intermission, the Bryant Hornets trailed the Little Rock Catholic Rockets just 24-22 in the 7A-Central Conference opener for both teams on Friday, Jan. 9.
That was despite the fact that the Rockets had scorched the nets at a 79 percent clip to that point.
The Hornets had stayed close by knocking down 3’s, led by Parish’s hot hand. The triple that cut the Catholic lead to 2 was Bryant’s sixth of the half, accounting for six of the Hornets’ eight field goals.
But, when you live by the long-range jumper, you are in danger of dying by the long-range jumper. And the Hornets went stone cold not only from 3-point range but from every place on the floor. From that 2:16 mark, through the end of the half and all but five seconds of the third quarter, Bryant did not score. And Catholic’s 2-point edge turned into a 29-22 halftime lead and a 44-22 lead by the time Tim Floyd ended the ice storm with a 3-pointer just before the third-quarter buzzer.
The defending Class 7A champion Rockets rode that run to a 54-36 victory, just their second of the season.[more]
Bryant just could not get anything going inside the 3-point arc. For the night, the Hornets were just 2 of 15 on 2-point tries. They just had no answer for the Rockets’ inside trio of 6-6 Michael Drake, 6-4 Garrett Uekman and 6-3 Paul Drake who altered, blocked or rushed most of Bryant’s shots inside the arc.
So when the 3-point shooting cooled off — Catholic assigned a man to shadow Parish wherever he went and the Hornets went 3 of 14 from beyond the arc in the second half — the game got away from Bryant.
Michael Drake wound up leading all scorers with 23 points, none in the fourth quarter. He had 11 during the 20-0 run that blew the game up. Uekman added 11 including a three-point play that started the game-breaking onslaught.
Parish finished with the 12 he managed by halftime with Floyd adding 13 but needing 17 shots to get that.
The Hornets could get no closer than 17 points in the final period.
The Rockets broke to a 6-0 lead in the game and Bryant didn’t get on the scoreboard until Parish flushed his first trey more than halfway through the first quarter. It was 11-3 before Parish hit again and 16-6 before Floyd hit a 12-foot jumper in the final seconds to make it an 8-point game going into the second period.
Parish continued his barrage with a 3 to open the second and, after Dijon Benton made a steal, Floyd followed suit to trim the margin to 16-14.
Michael Drake posted up for a bucket but Floyd drained his second troika and Bryant was within 18-17 with 5:20 left in the half.The Rockets pushed it back to 24-17 on baskets by both Drakes and Uekman inside. But Benton got a jump hook in the lane to fall and, after a Catholic turnover, Parish connected to make it 24-22.