Bryant girls open Shootout by easing past Lady Leopards
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
BENTON — After three intensive games on their way to the championship of the OrthoArkansas/CAC Invitational Tournament the previous week, it’s understandable that the Bryant Lady Hornets might not be as focused when they opened the WalMart Supercenter Shootout at Benton High School on Monday night against a team with credentials that were somewhat less imposing.
But even though the Lady Hornets weren’t quite as sharp — and it showed up primarily in their shooting — the Malvern Lady Leopards were no match. They had no one to slow down senior forward Amanda Grappe who scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the first quarter to spur the Lady Hornets to a 65-42 victory.
The win improved Bryant to 6-0 on the season and advanced them to the tourney’s semifinals on Friday, Dec. 10, against the winner of Tuesday’s Van Buren-Hot Springs contest.
Everyone eventually played for the Lady Hornets in Monday’s game and 10 different players added to the scoring. Allison Grappe and Robin Speake pitched in 9 points each. Point guard Ashley Grappe was limited to 6 points but she dished out five assists and made eight steals in the game, a large chunk of Malvern’s 21 turnovers.
The Lady Hornets established dominance with a 13-2 run to start the game. Amanda Grappe scored the first 7 points then Ashley made a steal and layup. She followed up with another theft and fed Amie Hubbard for a layup and a Malvern timeout. When play resumed, another Lady Leopards turnover was cashed in by Ashley Grappe to complete the opening blitz.
After Malvern scored back-to-back baskets, Amanda Grappe scored 7 more in a row as the lead grew to 20-8.
As Bryant head coach Rhonda Hall worked in some different combinations of players, Malvern’s Loletta Allen caught fire, and hit a pair of 3-pointers during a stretch in which the Lady Leopards actually cut the lead to 3 with less than two minutes left in the half.
But Allison Grappe answered Allen’s most recent triple with one of her own. Kalin Dreher hit a free throw then a short jumper off a feed from Ashley Grappe to make it 38-29.
With :03.8 left in the half, Malvern made its first trip to the free-throw line on Bryant’s first team foul. Brittany Murphy hit one shot, making the Lady Hornets’ advantage 8 at the half.
Bryant put the game away in the third quarter, opening with an 8-0 run. Malvern’s Autumn Caradine hit a 3-pointer with 3:38 left in the period but that would prove to be the team’s only points of the quarter. Bryant closed with an 11-0 stretch that piled the lead up to 57-33.
The starters sat in the fourth quarter. Kayla Pitts, Bridgette McPeak, Jessie Sutton and Amber Gibbs added to the Lady Hornets’ total.