Conference crown, more on the line when Lady Hornets host Lady Panthers Tuesday

CONWAY — The championship of the 7A/6A-South Conference will be on the line Tuesday at the Bryant High School gym[more] when the Bryant Lady Hornets host the rival Benton Lady Panthers as part of Senior Night.

A junior varsity game will be played at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity contest at around 6.

The Lady Hornets come into the match unbeaten in league play including a 3-1 win over the Lady Panthers on Sept. 20. That was Benton’s lone conference loss, however, and by upsetting the Lady Hornets, the Lady Panthers could forge a share of the league title.

As a Class 7A team in the otherwise all 6A South Conference, the Lady Hornets are also contending with the teams in the 7A/6A-West for seeding at the Class 7A State Tournament, which will be hosted by Rogers Heritage starting Tuesday, Oct. 30.

Bryant is currently third but, with top-rated Fayetteville playing second-rated Bentonville on Tuesday, the Lady Hornets could climb past Bentonville and earn a No. 2 seed for State which would garner a first-round bye.

“If we are first in the conference, we will get an extra 10 points and will most likely move into the second seed for State, pending Bentonville losing to Fayetteville,” noted Lady Hornets head coach Beth Solomon. “Fayetteville beat Bentonville the first time they played.”

In the ratings point standings, unbeaten Fayetteville has 180 points and Bentonville 157. Bryant’s total is 149, well ahead of fourth place Springdale Har-Ber so the Lady Hornets will be no worse than a three-seed.

“There’s a lot riding on our match,” she emphasized. “If we play the way we can, we will pull it out. With it being Senior Night too, the girls will be determined to play well.”

The weekend brought mixed results for the Lady Hornets as they competed in the Conway Invitational Tournament. In pool play, they lost to North Little Rock, 16-25, 10-25, and Jonesboro Westside, 18-25, 24-25. They defeated Hot Springs Lakeside, 25-16, 25-16 but missed out on the Gold Division.

They were able to come back and win three straight to win the Silver Division championship that afternoon. The victories came over Lakeside, 25-20, 25-15; Benton, 23-25, 25-20, 15-10; and Jonesboro Westside, 28-26, 25-18.

“To put it nicely, we had a less-than-stellar performance in the morning,” Solomon said of the pool play matches. “The girls were not awake and didn’t play up to par. They did redeem themselves in the afternoon.

“We spotted Benton about eight points in the first game of bracket play with them but came back to win the next two games and the match,” the coach noted.

The Lady Hornets are 22-6-2 on the season overall to go with their 11-0 conference mark.

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