For more photos of this event by Kevin Nagle, go here
CABOT — In the first half of their Central Arkansas Junior High Conference game against the Cabot South Lady Panthers, the Bryant Lady Hornets shot 16 free throws. Eleven fouls were called on the Lady Panthers while the Lady Hornets were cited for 11 as well. Bryant shot 17 free throws (converting just seven) while Cabot South shot 12 (making eight).
In the second half, however, the Lady Hornets never went to the line as Cabot South was whistled for just two fouls over the last 12 minutes. Ten fouls were called on Bryant in the second half.
Part of the difference was that Bryant’s two principle inside players Ivory Russ and Celena Martin were shackled by fouls and didn’t play as much in the second half and since most fouls are called under the basket or on the way to the hoop, the Lady Hornets weren’t rewarded with any free throws. Bryant became a perimeter team in the second half. Nine of the Lady Hornets’ 16 second-half shot attempts came from 3-point range. Only one fell.
Already out-sized by the Lady Panthers, the Lady Hornets weren’t getting any second shots and few rebounds at all in the second half. Cabot South wound up out-boarding the Lady Hornets 34-19.
All those numbers indicate the outcome. The Lady Panthers, the same team that lost to the Lady Hornets, 42-18, at Bryant on Jan. 3, upset them this time, 36-27.
The setback left Bryant 18-5 overall and 11-5 in the league going into the final regular-season game at Conway White this Thursday. Currently fourth in the conference, the Lady Hornets will try to earn a better seed for the CAJHC post-season tournament with a victory at Conway. They’re currently fourth but just a game behind Lake Hamilton and North Little Rock, who are tied for second.
The tourney begins Wednesday, Feb. 15, with the first round of girls’ games at Bryant Middle School with everything moving to Benton Arena in the second round.
Cabot South improved to 7-9 in the conference. The Lady Panthers will be no better than a sixth seed.
Regarding Monday’s game, poor shooting makes everything seem worse than it is for most basketball teams. As was the case in the eighth grade game prior to the freshman girls’ contest, Bryant struggled to find the range, finishing 9 of 40 (23 percent) from the field and 7 of 17 at the line. The Lady Hornets hit just 2 of 17 3-point shots.
Russ wound up leading the Lady Hornets with 7 points. Martin finished with 6. Lexi Taylor added 6, Tyianna Robinson 5 and Tierra Trotter 3.
Lexi Griebel led the Lady Panthers with 10 points. Carson Coleman finished with 8 to go with 12 rebounds. Both picked up three fouls in the first half then none after intermission.
Bryant led early. Russ’ three-point play provided the first points of the game. After Griebel scored off a drive, Martin hit two free throws. Trotter and Russ combined on a steal resulting in a trip to the line for Russ. She converted once to make it 6-2.
A 3-pointer by Maggie Gibson got Cabot South on track. Taylor countered with a free throw but then the Lady Panthers went on an 11-2 push that put them ahead to stay.
The Lady Hornets trailed 12-7 at the end of the first quarter. Martin hit the offensive boards to open the scoring in the second period but Emily Belin’s stickback and two free throws by Coleman extended the margin to 16-9.
Taylor knocked down a 3 and Russ added a free throw to cut the margin to 3. That, however, was as close as the Lady Hornets could get the rest of the half, which ended with Cabot South extending the lead to 22-16.
Robinson scored off a steal to get things revved up in the third quarter. Belin answered inside then Russ drove for a bucket. After a free throw by Coleman, Trotter scored off a steal by Taylor and, after another Lady Panthers’ turnover, Taylor scooped in a 5-foot shot that, with 1:55 left to play in the quarter, had the Lady Hornets within a point, 25-24.
But after Coleman scored to make it a 3-point game going into the fourth quarter, the Lady Hornets were never that close again. Bryant just couldn’t get a shot to go. Cabot South extended the margin to 32-24 before Robinson ended the drought with a 3 at the 2:07 mark.
That proved to be the only scoring for the Lady Hornets in the quarter as Cabot South closed it out.
The Lady Panthers spread the floor and the Lady Hornets had to chase. With Russ, Martin and Robinson carrying four fouls apiece, it was difficult to play as aggressively as head coach Nathan Castaldi may have wanted.
LADY PANTHERS 36, LADY HORNETS 27
Score by quarters
BRYANT 7 9 8 3 — 27
Cabot South 12 10 5 9 — 36
LADY HORNETS 27
T.Trotter 1-12 1-6 3, Martin 2-7 2-2 6, Oholendt 0-2 0-0 0, Russ 2-3 3-5 7, Robinson 2-6 0-2 5, Taylor 2-8 1-2 6, Scifres 0-2 0-0 0, Allen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 9-40 7-17 27.
LADY PANTHERS 36
Gibson 1-4 2-5 5, French 0-1 2-2 2, Coleman 3-6 2-2 8, Griebel 4-8 1-2 10, McDonald 0-0 1-2 1, Jones 1-1 1-2 3, Belin 2-6 3-5 7, Stokes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-26 12-20 36.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 2-17 (Taylor 1-5, Robinson 1-1, T.Trotter 0-7, Scifres 0-2, Martin 0-1, Oholendt 0-1), Cabot South 2-4 (Gibson 1-2, Griebel 1-1, French 1-1). Turnovers: Bryant 11, Cabot South 20. Rebounds: Bryant 9-10 19 (T.Trotter 2-3 5, Martin 3-0 3, Robinson 0-3 3, Oholendt 1-1 2, Taylor 1-1 2, Allen 1-0 1, team 1-2 3), Cabot South 8-26 34 (Coleman 2-10 12, Belin 1-4 5, Gibson 1-4 5, McDonald 0-3 3, Jones 1-2 3, Griebel 2-0 2, team 1-3 4). Team fouls: Bryant 21, Cabot South 13. Fouled out: Bryant, Russ.