Ashley Grappe scored 32 in Bryant’s short-handed win
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
Even with two starters out — Amanda Grappe with an injury, Amie Hubbard with illness — the Bryant Lady Hornets refused to lose when they hosted the rival Sheridan Lady Jackets on Tuesday, Dec. 14.
Point guard Ashley Grappe was relentless on her way to 32 points, a career-high eclipsing the 31 points she scored in a win over Cabot earlier this season as the Lady Hornets eked out a 51-49 victory.
Sheridan used a zone, man-to-man defense, even a box-and-one to slow Grappe down, but none of it did the trick. Actually, it was Grappe’s defense that helped turn the tide in the end. Sheridan had nabbed a 49-46 lead on a three-point play by Jessica Workman with 2:17 to play and the Lady Hornets had turned the ball back over to the Lady Jackets.
But instead of Sheridan upping the margin to 5 of 6, Grappe made a steal and drove for a layup that made it a 1-point game with 1:48 to go.
After a Sheridan miss, Bridgette McPeak was fouled with :47 left. The junior swing player stepped up to the line and knocked down both shots to give the Lady Hornets a 50-49 advantage.
After a timeout, Sheridan got the ball to senior Bethany Carter who drove inside but couldn’t get a short jumper to fall over the defense of Robin Speake and Kalin Dreher. Dreher rebounded the miss and the Lady Hornets worked the clock until, with :10.8 to go, Grappe was fouled. She hit the first shot to make it 51-48 but missed the second. It was only the fourth time in 41 free throws this season that such a thing had happened.
Sheridan got a shot to tie but, again, Carter couldn’t get a shot to fall as she drove into the teeth of the Bryant defense and the Lady Hornets had prevailed.
Sheridan led most of the first half. It was 12-8 at the end of the first quarter. Eight was the largest margin. When it was 18-10, a driving jumper by Ashley Grappe sparked a Bryant rally. After a Sheridan turnover, McPeak fed Grappe for another hoop. Another turnover was cashed in on a turnaround jumper from the post by sophomore Amber Gibbs. Grappe then followed up a Sheridan miss with a 3-pointer that gave Bryant a 19-18 lead.
But a 3 by Kaitlin Gartman helped Sheridan finish with a flourish, taking a 25-20 lead to the locker room.
The Lady Hornets came out blazing in the third quarter, however. Grappe hit a free throw then Dreher buried a jumper from the corner to cut the lead to 2. Speake blocked a shot at the other end and the result was a 3-pointer by Allison Grappe that gave Bryant a 26-25 advantage.
Workman posted up for a bucket but a 3-pointer by Ashley Grappe sparked the Lady Hornets who led 37-34 going into the fourth quarter.
Sheridan started the final period with its own surge, overtaking the Lady Hornets and establishing a 44-41 lead. Dreher hit two free throws then Ashley Grappe scored to put Bryant back on top. A free throw by McPeak made it 46-44 before Workman tied it with 3:10 to go.
Bryant had three shots at regaining the advantage before Workman’s three-point play set up the dramatic finish.