December 26 in Bryant athletic history: 2002

Grappe’s hot shooting sparks Lady Hornets

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, will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).



HOT SPRINGS — Ashley Grappe may have felt warmer — downright feverish, in fact — when she was sidelined with the flu, but it’s hard to imagine her any hotter than she was in the third quarter of the Bryant Lady Hornets’ 51-30 victory over the Fayetteville Lady Bulldogs at the Levi Classic at Hot Springs High School on Thursday, Dec. 26.

Grappe, a sophomore guard, had to sit out the Lady Hornets’ game against the rival Benton Lady Panthers on Dec. 20, due to her illness, the flu that raged through the schools just before Christmas break. Coincidence or not, the Lady Hornets dropped that game to Benton, their first loss of the season in 10 games.

But Ashley, one of the Grappe triplets (with Allison and Amanda) on the team, made up for lost time by leading all scorers with 16 points in the game against Fayetteville. The performance was highlighted by a 10-point third quarter barrage in which she hit 5-of-6 perimeter shots and helped produce a double-digit lead for the Lady Hornets.

Bryant limited the Lady Bulldogs to 4 points (including 1 of 11 field goal attempts) in the fourth quarter to blow the game open in the final period.

The win improved the Lady Hornets to 10-1 on the season, going into the second round of the tournament against Hot Springs (see related story.)

Bryant led from the outset but Fayetteville kept it tight until the third quarter. Amanda Grappe, who scored 14 points and hauled down 9 rebounds, had 6 points in the first quarter as Bryant built a 12-7 lead. The Lady Hornets broke out to an 8-2 lead before Fayetteville rallied behind Allie Buchannan who eventually scored 14 points in the game.

Neither team mustered much offense in the second quarter. Fayetteville was within 14-11 before Kalin Dreher scored inside for Bryant in the final minute to make it a 5-point game at the half.

The third quarter began in auspicious fashion when Ashley Grappe made a steal and drove for a layup. After Angela Head answered for Fayetteville, Yousra Elhagemoussa hit a free throw. Bryant jumped into a man-to-man press and Amanda Grappe made a steal and fed Elhagemoussa for another bucket. Moments later, Jennifer Slack, who led Bryant with 10 rebounds, blocked a shot by Buchannan and, at the other end, Ashley Grappe cashed in with a 15-foot jumper that make it 23-13.

Buchannan and Bryant’s Rachel Blakley traded 3-pointers before Blakley got caught up in a collision and was hit in the nose with an elbow as Slack tried to draw a charge on Buchannan. Blakley left the game with a broken nose.

Fayetteville regained a bit of momentum as Fran Shope and Buchannan hit a pair of outside shots. But Ashley Grappe canned an 18-footer to get back on track, bumping the lead to 28-20. The teams traded misses until Ashley Grappe drilled another outside shot, making it 30-20.

After Head converted a pair of free throws, the Lady Hornets ran a set play to get the hot-handed Ashley another open look and she once again nailed the jay, this time from the left baseline. Lyndsay Salmon answered for the Lady Bulldogs then Ashley Grappe found her sister Amanda for an easy bucket inside. She was fouled on the play as well but missed the free throw only to have Slack rebound the miss. Eventually, Elhagemoussa was fouled hitting the offensive glass. When she converted once at the line, Bryant was up by 11.

A basket by S.M. Davis beat the buzzer to keep Fayetteville within 9 going into the final quarter but when Meagan Kennedy teamed up with Ashley Grappe to make a steal to start the final period and Kennedy passed ahead to Dreher for a layup, Bryant’s lead was never less than double digits again. Jeanne Randall made a steal and Dreher’s left-handed layup make it 39-26.

Buchannan hit a free throw but Amanda Grappe’s stickback countered. Buchannan then managed Fayetteville’s lone field goal of the fourth quarter with 5:00 left. Ashley Grappe’s 18-footer followed that and started a 10-1 finishing run that was capped by Elizabeth Farish’s follow shot at the buzzer that set the final score.  

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