Hornets upend No. 5 Wolves
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 continueposting 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
PEARCY — It’s a win that most of the teams in the AAAAA-South Conference probably won’t get.
At Lake Hamilton, against the fifth-ranked Wolves, the Bryant Hornets, behind 26 points from Jeremy Reeves, notched their first league victory 68-60 on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Reeves hit all seven of his shots — none, thanks in part to the adept passing of his teammates, from beyond five feet from the hoop — and converted all 12 of his free throws. Guard Dwayne Chumley added a season-high 16 points, Jaston Carter 11 and Bennie Elder 8.
It was a sweet, sweet victory for the 6-3 Hornets and head coach Leo Olberts.
“Last year, I went out of here about as low as I’ve ever been,” Olberts allowed. “The final score was 71-33 and I circled this game on my calender at the house. This is one we’ve been working towards for a long time. The guys really wanted it bad.
“Reeves was just sensational tonight,” he continued. “Our guard play was great. Jaston had a heck of a game, Scotty (Yant), Dwayne, Bennie off the bench, B.J. (Wood) — everybody that got in did a super job. To play a team that was ranked No. 5 in the state, to come to their place and do this, it just shows what kind of character these guys have. I’m just so proud of them for coming and competing all night long.”
Actually, the game started out like it might be a repeat of a year ago when Lake Hamilton quickly jumped to a 7-0 lead and forced Olberts to burn a timeout. But Reeves, taking advantage of a mismatch inside, scored his team’s first 12 points and the Hornets stayed within 19-14 at the end of the opening quarter.
At 6-1, Reeves wasn’t any bigger than the Lake Hamilton player that started out guarding him. It was just that Robert Ward was the Wolves’ point guard and wasn’t used to working around the basket, Reeves’ camping grounds.
But the senior forward picked up his third foul in the opening moments of the second quarter and had to come out.
Lake Hamilton managed to build its largest lead at 28-17 midway through the period but then the Hornets came to life. Elder hit a layup off a nice feed from Wood as the Hornets eviscerated the Lake Hamilton press. Josh Ridge took a charge to get the ball back for the Hornets. He eventually drove for a layup to make it 28-21. Elder was then fouled going after a rebound and, though he missed the front end of the one-and-one, Carter sliced through to gather the rebound and score, cutting the margin to 5.
Lake Hamilton’s Jeremy Anderson posted up for a bucket but Carter found Elder rolling towards the basket for an easy deuce, Chumley made a steal and layup and Bryant was within 30-27.
It was 32-29 at the half.
To start the third quarter, the Hornets surged to the lead. A driving layup by Chumley and a pair by Elder off eye-catching feeds from Chumley then Yant gave Bryant a 35-32 edge despite a Lake Hamilton timeout along the way.
The quarter was three minutes old before Lake Hamilton managed to score. Unanswered hoops by Martin Stringer regained the upper hand for the Wolves and the lead seesawed until the last three minutes of the period.
When Chumley hit a layup off a nice give-and-go with Yant to make it 39-38, the Hornets were ahead to stay, though it was never really a comfortable lead.
A Lake Hamilton turnover was capitalized on by Chumley who scored off a whirling drive to the hoop. Stringer misfired and Yant drew the Lake Hamilton defense on a drive then dumped off to Wood for a layup to make it 43-38.
Another basket by Chumley, who alertly grabbed a tipped pass that was intended for one of his teammates, made it 45-38 going into the fourth quarter.
Free throws by Carter and Reeves — the latter two thanks to a technical foul against a frustrated Wolf — and a jumper in the lane by Carter gave Bryant its largest margin 50-38 early in the final period.
The Wolves eventually whittled the lead to 6 in the final two minutes but the Hornets continued to capitalize on the Lake Hamilton press. Reeves always seemed at the right place. First Wood, then Chumley fed him for layups as the lead was bumped back up to 10.
Beau Brickell, who hit the Hornets for over 40 points at Bryant last year, hit a 3 and so did Anderson around a free throw by Chumley and the Hornets were clinging to a 65-60 lead going into the final :30. But free throws by Ridge and Reeves sealed the win.
Brickell fouled out along the way finishing with 20 points. Worthen had 10 and the 6-4 Stringer was limited to 8.
“The strategy was to make them shoot a bunch of 3’s,” Olberts explained. “They’re so much bigger than us, our game plan was to play a 1-2-2 zone or 2-3, pack it in, try to limit how many opportunities their big guys got and how many second shots they’d get. We just didn’t think they could make enough 3’s to beat us.”
Indeed, the Wolves finished 7-of-22 from beyond the arc but they were 21 for 65 (32 percent) from the field as a whole.
“Offensively, we just did a really good job running our man-to-man stuff,” Olberts mentioned. “The guys did a great job using screens, reading defenses, finding the open man and making a lot of good decisions. And we did a great job at the free-throw line. A real team effort.”
Led by Reeves’ performance, the Hornets hit 17-of-23 at the line. From the field, they sizzled at a 60-percent clip (25-of-42).
The Hornets junior varsity team also prevailed Tuesday. Kyle Lynch hit two free throws with :05 left in a second overtime to give his team a 51-49 win.
Bryant is scheduled to return to action at home against Jacksonville on Tuesday, Dec. 18, before breaking for the Christmas holiday.