Buzzer-beating fling hands Hornets another heartbreaking setback

For more photos of this event by Kevin Nagle, go here

Lowell Washington ends the first quarter with a dunk against Northside’s Isaiah Joe. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

FORT SMITH — A second overtime seemed imminent as a 3-point shot from Fort Smith Northside’s point guard Tevin Brewer got iron as the final seconds of the first OT wound down. But the carom came out midway up the lane on the left side. Northside’s Tyrell Perry leapt up to haul it down and there figured to be no time less to shoot. But, falling backward, Perry threw up a prayer as the buzzer sounded.

And it was answered as the full house at Kaundart-Grizzly Fieldhouse exploded, celebrating the Grizzlies’ come-from-behind 69-67 win over the snake-bitten Bryant Hornets.

It was the fourth 2-point loss — the third in overtime — this season for Bryant, which dropped to 14-7 overall and 3-5 in the rugged 7A-Central Conference. The Hornets had suffered a 56-46 loss to Northside at home on Tuesday in what was a two-point game in the late stages.

Bryant, which led most of regulation, held a 10-point lead as late as the 4:25 mark of the fourth quarter. In a hostile environment, the Hornets had played the Grizzlies off their feet up to that point, played their guts out.

“Northside was awesome too but our kids really, really played hard,” stated Bryant coach Mike Abrahamson. “I’m so proud of the effort. I don’t feel like we’ve been giving that level of effort lately. We certainly got it tonight so I’m real proud of them. It’s a tough environment and a really good team that made some really good plays.”

Calvin Allen protects the ball from Northside’s Jackson Forsey as he goes up for a lay-in. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Many of those were by 6-3 junior Isaiah Joe. On his way to 36 points, he went off down the stretch, scoring 13 points in a row including a game-tying 3 with 3:08 left in regulation. It was his ninth triple of the game.

“Joe was unbelievable,” Abrahamson acknowledged. “Of course, they had the big play at the end. And everything for us was really difficult to get. Our kids scored a lot of points even though it was that difficult. I’m proud of how they played really hard.

“We can build off of this,” he asserted. “They put a lot into tonight and they put a lot into the preparation the last two days. Now, they’re hurting, and it may sound funny, but that’s a good thing because they care a lot and we can build on that.”

It didn’t help the Hornets that guard Romen Martin, who was trying to slow down Joe, picked up his fourth and fifth fouls in rapid succession. The Hornets led 59-48 when Joe grabbed an offensive rebound and scored in a crowd with 4:38 to go. The officials picked Martin out of the crowd for his fourth foul. After Braylen Steen, who was 10 for 10 at the line in the game, converted twice to make it 61-51, and the Hornets missed an opportunity to tack on, committing a turnover, Joe was fouled again on the way to the hoop and that was it for Martin who had scored 14 points including a trio of 3’s.

After Joe tied it, however, he did not score again the rest of the game including the overtime as Marvin Moody inherited the defensive assignment and put the stops on him.

Martin was missed too for his ball-handling as Northside ratcheted up its full-court trap, trying to get the ball out of the hands of point guard Calvin Allen.

Braylen Steen scores inside for the Hornets. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The Grizzlies had a chance to take the lead when Tre Norwood made a steal but he missed a shot and Allen came down with the rebound, heading the other way. He was fouled with 2:43 left and stepped to the line to convert both ends of the one-and-one to put the Hornets back on top.

He followed up with a steal but, on what looked like a perfectly executed back-door play, the pass was just a bit beyond the reach of Lowell Washington and a turnover resulted.

The Grizzlies tied it when reserve center Kwashea Taylor grabbed an offensive rebound and stuck it back in with 2:11 left to play.

The Hornets then spread the floor to try to open up lanes to attack the basket. One developed but a turnover foiled the effort. In turn, the Grizzlies did the same thing, working the clock down to :13.6 then taking a timeout to set up a play to try to win it at the buzzer.

But Norwood’s 3-point shot rimmed out and the first overtime ensued.

Both teams missed opportunities early in the four-minute addendum. With 2:46 left, Washington, who finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, went to the line but couldn’t get either of his two shots to fall.

After a miss by Brewer, the Hornets broke the press and Sam Chumley fed Moody for a layup and a 65-63 lead.

With 1:25 left, Taylor converted both ends of a one-and-one, banking in the first free throw to knot it back up. Allen answered with a scintillating drive through the Northside defense for a touch layup.

Sam Chumley fires a 3 over Northside’s Tre Norwood. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Northside missed but Perry hauled down the rebound and was fouled with :59 left. His free throws made the Grizzlies 12 of 12 from the line in the game and tied it once more.

The Hornets again did a good job of beating the pressure with Washington making a tremendous play to grab a pass between two Northside defenders in the lane. But his shot refused to fall.

The Grizzlies worked the clock down to :12.5 before taking a timeout to set something up. They got a look from 3-point range for Brewer. There was just enough time for Perry to win it after the shot missed.

Steen had 21 points for the Hornets. Allen finished with 9.

Northside had the upper hand at the end of the first quarter, 19-14, as Joe hit his first three treys to go with one from Norwood.

Bryant missed its first nine shots from the field, several from point-blank range but when Washington stepped out and buried a 3, it got things rolling. He added a driving jumper then Steen scored 7 points before Washington punctuated the quarter with a buzzer-beating slam.

That started a 14-0 run for Bryant. Steen hit two free throws to start the second quarter then Chumley knocked down a 3 to tie the game. Two more free throws by Steen and, after Brewer misfired, Allen popped a triple. Off a Northside turnover, Allen fed Washington for a layup and the Hornets held a 26-19 lead.

A deep 3 from Brewer was answered by a three-point play from Martin but then Joe connected on back-to-back treys and added a 15-footer and Northside was back on top 30-29.

In the final minute of the half, however, Martin buried a 3 and Washington beat the buzzer again with a 15-footer to give the Hornets a 34-30 edge at the break.

Once more, the momentum carried over into the third quarter as that 5-0 finish of the first half turned into another 14-0 blitz.

Washington had the first two buckets of the second half. Martin delivered a deep 3 to produce the first double-digit lead of the game, 41-30. Northside called a timeout but when play resumed, the Hornets forced a turnover that led to a layup for Martin and a 13-point advantage.

Joe got the Grizzlies back on track with a 3. Brewer added one and, after a basket by Steen, Perry’s 3 cut the lead to 45-39.

Martin answered in kind as the Hornets responded, attacking the Northside pressure. Steen got to the line for two then Washington hit a reverse layup to push the lead back to 13 with 1:28 left in the third quarter.

It was 54-44 going into the final period. Two more free throws by Steen and a layup from Allen kept the lead in double digits. Brewer and Washington traded free throws before Joe took over.

“They were aggressive defensively a lot,” Abrahamson said. “So, you have to attack aggression with aggression. We always want to be aggressive but even more so when the other team is coming at you. We handled it really well there until the fourth quarter. Of course, when Romen goes out, that hurt us.

“But, you know, we still had chances. We missed a couple of free throws. We missed a layup. They hit their free throws and they hit big 3’s and they hit a big tip-in that was really a mid-range jumper, not even a layup. Give them credit for that.”

The Hornets will try to get back on the winning track Tuesday at home against Little Rock Catholic.


Score by quarters

BRYANT          14        20        20        9          4 — 67

FS Northside   19        11        14        19        6 — 69

HORNETS (14-7, 3-5) 67

Martin 5-9 1-1 14, Allen 3-8 2-2 9, Lambert 0-0 0-2 0, Moody 1-2 0-0 2, Washington 8-14 1-4 18, Chumley 1-3 0-0 3, Steen 5-9 10-10 21, Turner 0-0 0-0 0, Cowart 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-45 14-19 67.

GRIZZLIES (15-6, 6-2) 69

Perry 5-11 3-3 14, Forsey 0-2 0-0 0, Norwood 1-8 0-0 3, Joe 12-20 3-3 36, Brewer 2-13 4-4 10, Whitfield 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor 2-3 2-2 6, Travis 0-1 0-0 0, Young 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-58 12-12 69.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 7-13 (Martin 3-5, Steen 1-2, Chumley 1-2, Washington 1-2, Allen 1-1, Moody 0-1), Northside 13-31 (Joe 9-15, Brewer 2-6, Norwood 1-6, Perry 1-2, Forsey 0-1, Travis 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 15, Northside 14. Rebounds: Bryant 6-22 28 (Washington 1-7 8, Steen 1-5 6, Allen 1-2 3, Moody 1-2 3, Chumley 0-2 2, Martin 0-1 1, Lambert 1-0 1, Turner 0-1 1, team 1-2 3), Northside 13-16 29 (Perry 4-5 9, Taylor 4-1 5, Norwood 1-2 3, Joe 1-2 3, Brewer 0-3 3, Whitfield 1-1 2, Forsey 0-2 2, Travis 1-0 1, team 1-0 1). Team fouls: Bryant 15, Northside 14. Fouled out: Bryant, Martin.

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