Close at half, freshman Hornets ambushed in third quarter

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

Cameron Booth tries to get a shot over North Little Rock’s 6’7″ Kel’el Ware. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

When they first met on Nov. 8 in the championship game of the Joe T. Robinson tournament, the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats freshman team broke out early and the Bryant Hornets freshmen never got their feet on the ground in what turned into a 61-31 rout.

In the rematch on Thursday at the Bryant Middle School gym, the Hornets actually led during the second quarter then trailed just 29-24 at the break.

But when the second half commenced, North Little Rock returned to the team that the Hornets had faced at Joe T., starting with an 11-0 run then outscoring Bryant 22-3 in the third quarter to take control of the game. The Wildcats wound up with a 65-43 victory.

“They turned the pressure up and we turned it down,” said Hornets coach Tyler Posey. “We just seemed to be a little bit different team coming out in the second half. They made some adjustments, and in the energy level they had, and we just didn’t match it.”

The Wildcats have what very, very few, if any freshman teams have, a 6-7 post player with skills. Kel’el Wade scored 13 points and yanked down six rebounds, but it was his defensive presence that not only altered the Hornets’ shots but gave the guards for North Little Rock the security to gamble, double- and even triple-teaming the Hornets to force turnovers.

Will Diggins grabs a rebound. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Bryant held that to a minimum in the first half with just nine while forcing the Wildcats into 10. But, in the second half, the Hornets suffered 13 miscues, fueling the North Little Rock burst.

The Charging Wildcats finished with four players in double figures. Charles Maris was 3 for 3 at the 3-point line on his way to 17 points. Carl Daughtery had 11 and Bryson Warren 10.

For the Hornets, Gabe George finished with a team-high 8 points. Demetrius Sanders came off the bench to score 6. Landyn Newburn scored 5 as did Calvin Myles, in off the bench late, including a long last-second 3.

The Wildcats broke out to a 5-0 lead but that was their largest advantage of the opening quarter. Will Diggins scored the first basket for Bryant then, off a turnover, George drove for a layup to make it 5-4.

A pair of 3’s for North Little Rock around Newburn’s first bucket extended the lead back to 5. Cameron Booth hit a free throw for the Hornets and, after Ware’s first bucket, George made a steal and scored to trim it to 13-9, which was the score at the break.

Gavin Burton (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The teams traded points early in the second quarter. With North Little Rock up 18-13, Gavin Burton scored as he was fouled. Though he missed the free throw, the Hornets got the ball back and Newburn hit a 3-pointer that tied the game.

North Little Rock turned the ball over and called a timeout but that didn’t stop Sanders from drive for a bucket that put the Hornets ahead.

The Wildcats went to Ware to tie it back up but an offensive rebound basket by Isiah Kearney made it 22-20 Bryant.

That’s when Maris canned his first 3. The Hornets turned the ball over and Maris drove for a bucket. Another turnover for Bryant was negated when Sanders took a charge. That led to a trip to the free-throw line for Kearney but he came up empty.

Ware and Bryson Warren scored back-to-back baskets for North Little Rock before D.J. Hale took a feed from Newburn and scored to end the half with Bryant trailing 29-24.

Gabe George goes up for a lay-in. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

“The energy and then rebounding,” said Posey regarding the difference in the first half. “We took care of the basketball. Against their pressure — our goal is 10 (turnovers) a game and we had a chance to be there but, in the second half, we just kind of got a little careless with the basketball and they jumped some of our drives. We just did not take care of it.”

Both teams had turnovers to start the third quarter but then they started to pile up on the Hornets who didn’t score until there was just 2:38 left in the period. By then, North Little Rock had pushed the lead to 40-24.

That’s when Kearney scored off a feed from George. Bryant managed a free throw later in the quarter, which ended with North Little Rock in control 51-27.

Down the stretch, the Wildcats’ largest lead was 27 points.

Bryant, now 4-3, returns to action on Thursday, Dec. 6, at home against Conway White.


Landyn Newburn (Photo by Kevin Nagle)


Score by quarters

North Little Rock         13        16        22        14 — 65

BRYANT                       9          15        3          16 — 43


Daughtery 4-8 2-2 11, Evans 1-2 0-0 3, Warren 2-5 5-6 10, Ware 6-7 1-2 13, Maris 7-8 0-1 17, Wade 0-0 0-2 2, Lewis 3-4 0-1 6, Ingram 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 0-2 1-2 1, Miller 1-3 0-2 2, Scott 1-1 0-0 2, Carter 0-2 0-0 0, Jones 0-1 0-0 0. Totals25-43 9-18 65.


Burton 1-6 0-1 2, Newburn 2-4 0-0 5, Booth 1-1 1-2 3, George 3-6 1-2 8, Diggins 1-5 0-0 2, Kearney 2-4 0-1 4, Sanders 3-5 0-0 6, Hale 1-2 0-0 2, Gilmore 1-1 0-0 3, Myles 2-3 0-0 5, Blackmon 1-2 1-2 3, Carter 0-0 0-0 0, Mendoza 0-3 0-0 0, Edmonson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals18-42 3-8 43.

Three-point field goals:Bryant 4-14 (Newburn 1-3, George 1-2, Gilmore 1-1, Myles 1-1, Burton 0-4, Kearney 0-2, Sanders 0-1), North Little Rock 6-12 (Maris 3-3, Daughtery 1-3, Warren 1-3, Evans 1-2, Miller 0-1). Turnovers:Bryant 22, North Little Rock 19. Rebounds:Bryant 9-15 24 (Kearney 2-3 5, Blackmon 1-3 4, Sanders 1-2 3, Diggins 2-0 2, Hale 0-2 2, Booth 0-1 1, George 1-0 1, Gilmore 0-1 1, Carter 0-1 1, Mendoza 1-0 1, team 1-2 3), North Little Rock 8-18 26 (Ware 0-6 6, Maris 1-3 4, Jones 2-2 4, Miller 2-0 2, Ingram 1-1 2, Wade 1-1 2, Daughtery 0-1 1, Evans 1-0 1, Warren 0-1 1, Lewis 0-1 1, Scott 0-1 1, team 0-1 1). Team fouls:Bryant 16, North Little Rock 14.

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