Bryant girls add first league 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
The Bryant Lady Hornets were so dominant in the first quarter of their AAAAA-South Conference opener against the Little Rock McClellan Lady Lions Tuesday, that you almost had to feel sorry for the visitors.
The Lady Hornets starters overwhelmed McClellan 25-2 then everybody got some playing time in what wound up being an often sloppy 68-43 win.
For Bryant, now 8-2 overall, it was the sixth consecutive victory including the four in a row they claimed in earning the championship of the venerable Joe T. Robinson Invitational Tournament last week.
Ashley Wallis scored 16 points including 8 in that first-quarter blitz in which the Lady Hornets forced 10 turnovers. Bekka Middleton, the MVP of the Joe T. tourney, rang up 15 points and grabbed 10 boards including 8 points and 5 rebounds in the opening stanza.
The Bryant starters played the equivalent of about a half.
McClellan’s only points of the first period were free throws by Tiffany Gunn with 6:30 showing on the clock. It cut Bryant’s lead to 6-2.
The Lady Hornets then reeled off 19 unanswered points starting with a basket inside by Emily Hantz and ending with a free throw by Hantz with :21 left.
Bryant head coach Carla Crowder sent in a new five to start the second quarter. A couple of baskets by McClellan’s Charlane Relford were answered when Bryant’s Tiffany Kennedy knocked down a high-arching jumper from 15 feet out and, following a Lady Lion turnover, Lindsey Menard canned a shot from the wing. Shannon Amos added a free throw to the run which put Bryant up 30-6.
McClellan’s Danique Cun-ingkin hit a layup but Kennedy drained a jumper from just inside the top of the key.
A third group came on for the Lady Hornets and McClellan was able to close the gap to 32-18 by halftime.
The starters returned to start the second half and McClellan hung around for awhile. The Lady Hornets’ intensity had waned understandably. Bryant’s lead was 40-29 with 2:53 left in the third quarter. Wallis fed Middleton for a turnaround jumper then made a steal and layup to make it 44-29.
The two teams traded empty possessions then Wallis made another steal and layup to bump the lead to 17.
Relford’s basket to end the quarter briefly interrupted the Bryant run which fired back up in the fourth quarter when Heather Atkins banked in a jumper, McClellan turned the ball over and Joanie Robideaux flushed a 3, giving the Lady Hornets a 20-point bulge.
Wallis and Atkins combined on a theft that Wallis cashed in with a layup. After another McClellan turnover, Hantz got an easy 2. Middleton made a steal and earned a trip to the free-throw line where she hit 1-of-2 to make it 56-31.
The starters were very soon back on the bench and the Lady Lions trimmed 7 unanswered points off the lead before Kim Jacuzzi scored inside for Bryant and Menard drained back-to-back 3-pointers.
When Candace Croy scored with 1:09 left to play, Bryant had its largest lead of the game 66-38.
The Lady Hornets will attempt to extend their win streak to seven this Friday at Arkadelphia. They’ll then be off until Tuesday, Dec. 29, when they’ll begin play as hosts of the annual Bryant Christmas Tournament.