Conway gets 46 in the first half on the way past Lady Hornets

For more photos of this event by Rick Nation, go here; photos also by Andrew Schroeder

Brilynn Findley splits a pair of Conway defenders on the way to the hoop. (Photo by Andrew Schroeder)

Starting three 5’10” players and a 6’4” makes the fifth-ranked Conway Lady Cats as tough a match-up as you’re going to find in high school basketball in Arkansas. And they’re not only big, they’re skilled.

On Friday, it was the Bryant Lady Hornets’ turn to try but the young team couldn’t stay up with the Lady Cats, who left Bryant with a 72-39 win that allowed them to keep pace with the top-ranked Fort Smith Northside Lady Bears in the 6A-Central Conference.

The win came despite 25 points from junior Parris Atkins for the Lady Hornets.

“We’ve seen Northside and, boy, I’m not sure that Conway’s not just as talented from top to bottom as any team,” said Lady Hornets coach Brad Matthews. “I’ve been in this league five years and there’s a ton of girls playing Division I basketball that have come from this league and I’m not sure that Conway team we just played — they’re super-talented. They’re big. They shoot it well. They’re athletic. They’re good off the dribble. I’m not sure they have a weakness.

“So, we got beat by a good team tonight,” he continued. “I thought, at times, we competed really hard. We had too many turnovers and we had too many times when they got second and third shots. It’s hard to overcome when you don’t get shots and they get two and three at times.”

Natalie Edmonson pulls up for a jumper. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Conway forced 22 turnovers and 18 of its whopping 48 rebounds came at the offensive end.

Bryant actually forced 21 turnovers but couldn’t keep up on the boards with 31. They also had a tough time shooting, particularly from the 3-point arc. As a team, the Lady Hornets were 1 of 15 from distance. Overall, they shot just 27 percent from the field.

“Part of this is being young,” acknowledged Matthews. “It’s a process. There’s a reason they talk about grown pains because, at times, it’s painful.

“We had some good spurts,” he noted. “We had some good moments. We just need to have more and more and more of those good moments.

“That’s the thing about this league, man, it’ll show you,” the coach mentioned. “And that’s a good thing. You get shown. We’ve got choices whether to improve and keep fighting, which is what we’re doing. And we’ll go to work getting ready for Northside.”

The Lady Hornets play at Northside on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Lauren Lane (2) goes up for a jumper in the lane. (Photo by Andrew Schroeder)

“They’re number one in the state,” Matthews said. “It’s another opportunity for our kids to compete against really talented, high-level kids. And it’s a chance for us to improve in a way that practice doesn’t allow at times. We’ve got to take it as a great challenge, a great opportunity to go up there and fight and claw and scrap and try to figure out a way to get it done.”

The Lady Hornets missed three games during quarantine for the coronavirus. All the games they missed were winnable. Meanwhile, four of the five games they’ve gotten in have been against the league heavyweights including Northside, Conway and North Little Rock (twice).

Conway had three players in double figures, led by Jaiden Thomas who had 16 including a trio of 3-pointers. Savannah Scott, the 6’4” center, added 15 and Chloe Clardy finished with 13.

Bryant actually scored the first 5 points of the game on a free throw and a jumper shot by Atkins and a layup by Lauren Lain off a nice assist by Emileigh Muse.

Bryant head coach Brad Matthews instructs during a timeout. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Conway didn’t score until the 4:44 mark, when Clardy hit two free throws. Their first field goal came at the 4:25 mark. It was Thomas’ first triple.

As it turned out, after Bryant held the 5-0 lead, Conway went on a 20-2 run the rest of the quarter. It was 9-5 before Atkins interrupted the skein with a drive to the basket. Clardy had hit a 3 and Thomas would knock down another one. Clardy wound up scoring 9 in the quarter.

A three-point play by Thomas to start the second quarter, extended the run by that much more.

Atkins hit a short jumper and, after Scott scored inside and Clardy hit a free throw, Natalie Edmonson connected, and Conway’s lead was 26-11.

The Lady Cats followed that up a 12-0 surge that increased the lead to 27 points. By halftime, Conway held a 46-20 lead.

Jayla Knight (Photo by Rick Nation)

It was 54-22 midway through the third quarter. Brilynn Findley scored for the Lady Hornets then Muse hit the team’s lone 3. Edmonson scored and, after a Conway basket, Atkins drove to the rack. Jayla Knight hit a free throw to complete a 12-2 run by the Lady Hornets.

Still, the lead was 22 points. And when Kamille Brown hit a 3 for Conway at the buzzer ending the third quarter, Conway led 61-34.


Score by quarters

Conway           20        26        13        13 — 72

BRYANT           7          13        14        5 — 37

LADY CATS (14-3, 6-1) 72

Beckwith 1-3 0-0 2, Clardy 4-11 4-8 13, King 3-6 1-2 7, Thomas 6-13 1-1 16, Scott 6-10 3-4 15, Jolivette 0-2 0-0 0, Malcum 3-6 1-3 7, Brown 2-5 3-4 8, Cain 0-1 0-0 0, Corley 0-2 0-0 0, Hill 2-2 0-0 4, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Roach 0-0 0-0 0, Larkins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-62 (44%) 13-17 (76%) 72.

LADY HORNETS (8-6, 1-4) 37

Lain 1-10 0-0 2, Atkins 9-17 7-11 25, Edmonson 2-9 0-0 4, Findley 1-5 0-0 2, Muse 1-8 0-0 3, Taylor 0-1 0-0 0, Knight 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 14-52 (27%) 8-13 (62%) 37.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 1-15 (Muse 1-7, Edmonson 0-4, Findley 0-2, Atkins 0-1, Knight 0-1), Conway 6-16 (Thomas 3-8, Clardy 1-3, Brown 1-1, King 0-2, Jolivette 0-2, Corley 0-2, Cain 0-1). Turnovers:Bryant 22, Conway 21. Rebounds: Bryant 10-21 31 (Muse 1-6 7, Atkins 1-4 5, Lain 2-2 4, Findley 0-4 4, Edmonson 0-3 3, Knight 2-0 2, Taylor 1-0 1, team 3-2 5), Conway 18-30 48 (Malcum 4-4 8, King 3-4 7, Thomas 2-5 7, Clardy 4-1 5, Scott 2-2 4, Hill 1-3 4, Beckwith 0-2 2, Brown 1-1 2, Cain 0-2 2, Corley 0-1 1, Johnson 0-1 1, team 1-4 5). Team fouls: Bryant 15, Conway 16.

Leave a Reply

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

error: Content is protected !!