Photos courtesy of Paul Dotson
LITTLE ROCK — When you don’t shoot well, no other part of your game looks quite as good.
On Friday night at Boone/Fitzpatrick Field house, the Bryant Lady Hornets converted just under 29 percent of their shots from the field including only 3 of 21 attempts from 3-point range as they suffered a 48-35 loss to the Little Rock Central Tigers.
It was the second time this season, Bryant has fallen to Central, both in disappointing fashion. At home on Jan. 11, the Lady Tigers held off a late Bryant run to win 47-45.
The decision left the two teams, along with Cabot in a three-way tie for fourth place in the 6A-Central Conference, each at 4-6 against the league. Bryant is now 13-8 overall going into a home contest against Fort Smith Southside, with a chance to officially clinch a bid to the State Tournament.
Bryant was 12 of 42 from the field on Friday. Tierra Trotter managed 12 points and McKenzie Muse had 10. India Atkins finished with 7 while Robyn Gordon and Kalia Walker scored 3 apiece to account for all of the Lady Hornets’ scoring.
Ariyanna Hall had 17 and Lauryn Pendleton 16 for the Lady Tigers.
“We were very ineffective on offense,” acknowledged Bryant coach Brad Matthews. “When we got good looks, we didn’t make them and just never really got in a flow on offense. We were a little bit flat on defense, I think because we never got into a flow on offense. So, we let it carry over to the other end, which is — a lot of teams do that.
“We’ve got to learn from it,” he asserted. “I’ve got to do a better job getting us into an offensive flow. When we play well, that’s what we do and tonight we just never got there. If you’re going to win on the road, you’ve got to be able to make some shots.”
Still, Bryant led most of the first half. After Pendleton opened the scoring with a pair of free throws, the Lady Hornets came up with the next 7. Trotter had a three-point play on a drive to the rack and, after a Central turnover, Gordon followed her own miss with a bucket. Celena Martin came up with a steal and fed Atkins for a 15-footer and the Lady Tigers took a timeout down 7-2.
Allison Steen blocked a shot by Pendleton, but the Lady Tigers were able to get the ball back and Hall scored. The Lady Hornets maintained the upper hand, however, taking a 9-6 lead into the second quarter.
Hall tied it with a 3 but Walker answered from deep off a kick-out assist from Steen. Trotter drove for a layup to make it 14-9 but Central tied it at 14.
Trotter drove for a basket and when Sydney Lewis only converted one of her two free throws for Central, the Lady Hornets were ahead for the rest of the half.
Atkins took a dish from Martin for a 3 and, after Lewis hit another free throw, Muse scored off the offensive glass to make it 21-16.
The Lady Tigers’ Makayla Linwood cut the margin to 3 with :10 left.
“I felt like we should’ve been up 8 or 10,” Matthews said. “I thought, defensively, we played pretty well.”
Trotter hit a free throw to start the scoring in the third quarter but then Central went on a 7-0 run to take the lead. Though Gordon added a free throw, the Lady Hornets couldn’t manage a second-half field goal until there was just 2:06 left in the period. Muse got a driving layup to go, cutting the margin to 29-25 but Pendleton finished the quarter with a basket to make it a 6-point lead.
“Offensively, we were just not very good tonight,” Matthews said. “And, once we got down, we had to do some stuff defensively that kind of plays into Central’s hands. Give them credit. They made some shots.”
After scoring just 4 points in the quarter, the Lady Hornets started the fourth okay. Pendleton traded baskets with Atkins then Muse hit a 3 off an assist from Ivory Russ. That had the Lady Hornets within 33-30 with 5:14 to go.
But another dry spell followed. Though Trotter had two free throws along the way, Bryant didn’t have another field goal until just 2:51 remained.
Still, when Trotter hit a driving jumper it was 37-34 and the Lady Hornets forced a Central turnover to earn a chance to get closer. Atkins got a good look at a 3 but it refused to go. The rest of the way, Bryant could only muster a free throw by Muse as the Lady Tigers finished with an 11-1 surge.”
LADY TIGERS 48, LADY HORNETS 35
Score by quarter
BRYANT 9 12 4 10 — 35
LR Central 6 12 13 17 — 48
LADY HORNETS (13-8, 4-6) 35
Trotter 4-14 4-5 12, Atkins 3-7 0-2 7, Martin 0-2 0-0 0, Gordon 1-3 1-2 3, Muse 3-10 3-4 10, Steen 0-0 0-0 0, Walker 0-5 0-0 3, Russ 0-1 0-0 0. Totals:12-42 (29%) 8-13 (62%) 35.
LADY TIGERS (9-12, 4-6) 48
Greenwood 1-5 0-2 2, Lewis 1-7 5-8 7, Jackson 1-3 2-6 4, Hall 6-13 2-2 17, Pendleton 6-10 4-6 16, Woods 0-0 0-0 0, Peyton 0-2 0-0 0, Curry 0-2 0-0 0, Linwood 1-1 0-0 2, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals:16-43 (37%) 13-24 (54%) 48.
Three-point field goals:Bryant 3-21 (Muse 1-7, Atkins 1-5, Walker 1-3, Trotter 0-4, Martin 0-2), Little Rock Central 3-8 (Hall 3-5, Lewis 0-1, Pendleton 0-1, Greenwood 0-1). Turnovers:Bryant 15, Little Rock Central 12. Rebounds:Bryant 7-23 30 (Steen 1-6 7, Muse 3-3 6, Gordon 1-3 4, Russ 2-2 4, Trotter 0-2 2, Atkins 0-2 2, Martin 0-2 2, Walker 0-1 1, team 0-2 2), Little Rock Central 10-22 32 (Pendleton 2-6 8, Hall 2-5 7, Lewis 2-5 7, Jackson 1-3 4, Greenwood 1-1 2, Woods 1-0 1, team 2-2 4). Team fouls:Bryant 17, Little Rock Central 12.