February 17 in Bryant athletic history: 2010

Bryant's Kenzee Calley (23) goes up for a shot in front of Conway's Krista Robinson (32). (Photo by Rick Nation)

Clutch play in the fourth quarter carries Lady Hornets past Conway

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continue posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

By Rob Patrick

The teams that finish first or second in the Class 7A conferences go to the State tournament a game closer to a championship that the teams that finish third through sixth. That’s because they earn opening-round byes at State. In other words, instead of needing four wins at the tournament for a title, it takes just three.

Granted, it’s still not easy but one fewer game is huge.

The Bryant Lady Hornets took a sizable step toward earning one of those byes on Tuesday night when they held on for a 56-53 win over the Conway Lady Wampus Cats. At 21-3 overall and 9-2 in conference play, the Lady Hornets now have a two-game lead on Conway for second place in the 7A-Central going into the regular season’s final three games.

Haley Montgomery and Hannah Goshien drained crucial free throws in the final :45 to help Bryant secure the victory, which avenges a loss at Conway earlier in the season.

Bryant, however, has the tougher schedule in the last 10 days than Conway does. The Lady Hornets travel to Cabot on Friday then host unbeaten North Little Rock on Tuesday before closing out in the hothouse den at Little Rock Central.[more]

Conway, meanwhile, finishes with the bottom three teams in the league who, granted, will be battling for the sixth and last State bid. The Lady Cats host Van Buren, visit Russellville and host Mount St. Mary.

Bryant's Alana Morris (34) tosses up a shot between Conway's Taylor Gault (1) and Lauren McNeaill. (Photo by Rick Nation)

“Conway’s a good team,” stated Lady Hornets coach Blake Condley. “And I hate to be like this but, if we don’t take care of our business Friday night then tonight doesn’t mean anything. So hopefully the girls will stay focused. We’ve put ourselves in a situation where I feel like we control making sure we get that (No. 2) seed in the State tournament. It’s up to us. If we want that, we’ve got to have at least two of the next three games.”

The Lady Hornets withstood a 25-point performance by Conway junior Taylor Gault. But no one else had more than 7 points for the Lady Cats.

Shanika Johnson has 12 to lead Bryant. Kenzee Calley, hitting 5 of her 6 shot attempts, added 10 points as did Alana Morris. Goshien had 8, Montgomery 7.

Bryant also overcame the fact that Conway shot 54 percent from the floor by gunning in six 3-pointers to Conway’s two.

“Both teams had girls making plays,” Condley noted. “I thought both teams played well. I thought we did the things we talked about we’d have to do to win the basketball game, playing against a good team and just executing our game plan.

“There were a couple of girls we were wanting to give a little space, make sure we backed off of them,” he explained. “Let them have that outside shot if they would take it and, if not, try to stay between them and the basket.

Haley Montgomery loses her footing after driving around Conway's Taylor Gault. (Photo by Rick Nation)

“We didn’t want to foul and put them on the free throw line which we didn’t do as good a job of as I wanted to,” he continued. “We put them on the free throw line but we adjusted that at halftime, talked about it and I thought we did a much better job of that in the second half.”

Indeed, the Lady Cats were 9 of 10 from the line in the first half, helping them establish a 28-24 lead. In the second half, they were just 2 of 2.

Bryant, meawhile, didn’t attempt a free throw in the first half but finished 10 of 12 for the game including those in the late going by Montgomery and Goshien.

“With the big girls inside, we wanted to try to front, then try to steal the lob pass if they threw it in there,” Condley added, “and then, if we weren’t there just, what we call, wall-up, when a shot goes up, turn and block out. I thought we did that. We gave up a couple of offensive rebounds but when a team is as athletic as Conway is, you’re going to give up some. They’re going to get some but, I thought for the most part, we did what we needed to be able to win.”

Conway still out-rebounded Bryant 24-19 but only had six boards on the offensive end.

“I thought we made some good adjustments defensively,” Condley observed. “I thought the girls did a good job of understanding the scouting report and the way we wanted to guard people and what we wanted to do. We were able to do that. Then we had some girls just make some plays, hit some shots, make some free throws and that’s ultimately what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to get stops and you’ve got to hit shots. I know that sounds simple but when you’re in the heat of the game and you’re trying to get it done, sometimes it’s harder than you would think.”

Hannah Goshien hit two clinching free throws in the finals seconds of Tuesday's win over Conway. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Gault’s drive for a hoop to start the scoring in the fourth quarter had the game tied at 42. Calley answered by swishing a jumper from the corner. And when Conway’s Meghan Lewis missed a 3-point try, Morris drove into the paint and hit a short jumper to give Bryant a 4-point edge. Conway turned the ball over and when Calley drained a 15-footer, the Lady Hornets had their biggest lead of the game to that point, 48-42, with 5:16 to play.

The Lady Hornets had two chances to increase the margin but Johnson couldn’t get a 3 to go then Montgomery, making what appeared to be a splendid play off a long downcourt pass in which she grabbed the ball, stumbled then flipped a shot up over her head as she faced away from the basket, had the bucket waved off when it was ruled she’d traveled.

So when Gault hit a running jumper with 3:51 left, Conway was back within 4.

Morris and Calley each hit a free throw on consecutive trips to the line but Lewis knocked down a 10-footer.Morris drove into the lane and squeezed in a pass to Abbi Stearns who scored only to have Gault nail a 3, trimming the lead to 52-49.

After a timeout, the Lady Hornets spread the floor and worked the clock only to have a five-second closely-guarded call cost them possession after they’d trimmed it from 1:53 to :51.

Gault took advantage by hitting a 12-foot jumper that had the lead down to 1 with :43 left.

Condley took another timeout and, when play resumed, the Lady Hornets were able to drain the clock from :41.3 to :19.9 when Montgomery was fouled. With her usual catch-and-shoot at the line, she converted both shots.

Conway got the ball in the front court and called a timeout with :14.1 showing. Head coach Janet Taylor drew up a play to get Gault a 3-point look but her shot rimmed out. The Lady Cats controlled the long rebound and Tamara Heard stepped outside and hit a shot that was ruled a 2-pointer despite the protests from Taylor.

Shanika Johnson led the Lady Hornets with 12 points. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Taylor called timeout with :04.3 left and, when play resumed, Goshien was fouled on the inbounds play. After a Bryant timeout, Goshien coolly connected on both shots with :02.7 showing leaving Conway only enough time for a desperation 3 that missed.

“That just goes to our seniors, being in that situation, understanding what we need,” Condley said of his team’s clutch play down the stretch. “Those free throws are huge. Our seniors just stepped up there. They’ve done that time and time again in practice, in games. At crunch time, they just stepped up and did what they needed to do.”

Bryant broke out to a 7-2 lead at the start of the game. Calley and Stearns hit jumpers and Montgomery buried a 3.

Conway rallied to tie it at 11 with Lauren McNeaill hitting a 3 to even it up with :38 left in the period. But Johnson, taking a kick-out pass from Montgomery off her drive into the lane, connected on an answering trey at the buzzer to give the Lady Hornets a 14-11 lead.

Gault got going along with the inside duo of Krista Robinson and Jasmyn Wilkins in the second quarter producing the halftime advantage.

When Gault hit a stickback with 5:07 left in the third quarter, Conway had its largest lead at 34-28 but Morris canned a triple in response then blocked a shot by McNeaill which led to a jumper by Johnson. And when Johnson and Montgomery combined to force a turnover, Brooke Parish was fouled inside. Her free throws had Bryant back on top 35,34 at the 3:58 mark of the third period.

Montgomery followed with a theft that got her to the free-throw line. She connected twice and, after Gault missed, Johnson scored to give the Lady Hornets a 39-34 lead.

Heard and Gault trimmed it to 1 but Goshien splashed a 3 and, despite two free throws by Wilkins, Bryant had a 42-40 lead going into the dramatic fourth quarter.


Score by quarters

Conway 11 17 12 13 — 53

BRYANT 14 10 18 14 — 56

LADY CATS (15-8, 7-4) 53

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts


McNeaill 2-5 0-0 1-0 1 0 5

Heard 3-5 1-2 1-3 4 2 7

Gault 9-18 6-6 1-3 4 3 25

Wilkins 1-1 4-4 1-1 2 4 6

Robinson 3-3 0-0 0-7 7 3 6

Lewis 2-5 0-0 0-1 1 1 4

Clardy 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Allen-Smith 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 0 0

Team 2-2 4

Total 20-37 11-12 6-18 24 13 53

LADY HORNETS (21-3, 9-2) 56

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts


Montgomery 1-5 4-4 1-0 1 0 7

Goshien 2-6 2-2 1-1 2 0 8

Calley 5-6 0-0 2-0 2 3 10

Stearns 2-3 1-2 0-5 5 3 5

Morris 4-11 1-2 3-2 5 2 10

Parish 1-4 2-2 1-1 2 1 4

Johnson 5-12 0-0 0-0 0 3 12

Team 1-1 2

Total 20-47 10-12 9-10 19 12 56

Three-point field goals: Conway 2-8 (McNeaill 1-3, Gault 1-2, Lewis 0-3), Bryant 6-18 (Johnson 2-7, Goshien 2-6, Montgomery 1-3, Morris 1-2). Turnovers: Conway 15, Bryant 9.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!