Bryant wins over Lake Hamilton
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 — With a second shot at the Lake Hamilton Wolves in less than a week, the Bryant Hornets changed tactics a bit and it not only affected the Wolves, it affected the Hornets themselves.
It also changed the outcome as the Hornets avenged the 52-44 loss with a 44-38 win in the opening round of the WalMart Supercenter Shootout at Benton High School on Monday, Dec. 8.
“We tried to pressure them tonight,” explained Hornets assistant coach Chad Withers. “We felt like we kind of laid back and let them take it to us last time. Plus, we were trying to pick up our intensity level because we walked around last week. So, we made that a point of emphasis in practice. We wanted to press to get our intensity up and to see how (Lake Hamilton) handled it.”
The win ended a three-game stretch of frustration for the Hornets, a stretch that was marked by increased intensity and production late in games after the Hornets had fallen behind.
This time, the pressure defense and increased pace on offense served its purpose. The Hornets jumped on top and, though they still had a third-quarter lapse, finished strong.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do about that,” Withers said of the third-quarter breakdown in which Bryant’s 10-point halftime lead turned into a 3-point advantage for Lake Hamilton. “Every game, it seems like we’re doing that and we told them before we came out (after halftime), the first three minutes are huge. You can either let them back in it or you can start pounding on them some more. For whatever reason — I don’t know. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and figure out what we’re doing at halftime.”
Withers acknowledged it may just be growing pains, the inconsistencies of inexperience, that are hampering the Hornets, who have just two seniors and no one returning that started last season.
Brad Gamble led the Hornets with 12 points and eight rebounds, highlighted by a 4-point play late in the first half which gave Bryant its first double-digit lead.
Devin Rice added 10 points and seven boards. Jeremy Chumley’s 6 points went along with eight rebounds including five in the first quarter during the Hornets’ initial surge which produced an 11-3 lead.
Lake Hamilton’s lone field goal in the first 11-plus minutes of the game was a 3-pointer by John Pricop that made it 3-3.
By the end of the first quarter, baskets by Gamble, Nick Dorsey and Rice had Bryant up 9-3.
Rice and Chumley, with Casey Grisham rotating into the mix, worked the high-low post game successfully on a number of occasions including early in the second quarter when Chumley fed Rice for a basket as he was fouled, completing the 11-3 run.
Lake Hamilton was within 15-9 when Gamble’s 4-point play occurred. Still, the Wolves trailed only 21-15 going into the final 10 seconds of the half. But Grisham hit a pair of free throws with :04.9 showing. On the subsequent inbounds play, the Hornets forced a turnover and Dorsey beat the buzzer with a driving layup to make it 25-15.
Trailing going into the fourth quarter, the Hornets got back in gear when Richardson fed Rice with a nifty pass for a layup and, after a Lake Hamilton turnover, Gamble hit a jumper in the lane and was fouled. His three-point play had Bryant ahead 32-30 with 5:17 left to play.
Though it was close, the Hornets never trailed the rest of the way. The Wolves had three chances to tie it after Gamble gave Bryant the lead. With 4:00 left, Richardson knocked down an 18-footer. Pricop answered for Lake Hamilton and, again, the Wolves had opportunities to tie it but failed before Chumley banked in a 12-foot jumper then hit a layup off a high post pass from Rice to make it 38-32.
After that, Chad Pitts, Dorsey and Richardson hit free throws to preserve the win.
The Hornets were set to play again on Thursday, Dec. 11, at 9 p.m., against Benton.