December 9 in Bryant athletic history: 2004

Hornets step up in clutch vs. Monticello

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).



BENTON — Perhaps the most encouraging thing about the Bryant Hornets 38-33 win over the Monticello Billies in the consolation bracket of the Wal-Mart Supercenter Shootout at the Benton Sports Arena on Thursday, Dec. 9, was that they didn’t have a letdown quarter — the game was close throughout — and, when the game was on the line, they came through.

With 5:36 left to play, the deliberately played contest was led by Monticello 30-26. It was the largest lead of the game for either team since the Billies held a 12-6 edge for a second or two early in the second quarter.

Bryant’s Ryan Moss canned a driving scoop shot to trim the lead back to 2 with 5:15 to go. After both teams missed chances to change the score, Monticello’s Bryan Sherrer, who scored 23 of his team’s 33 points, hit a free throw to make it 31-28. 

At the other end, however, junior Anthony Mask, in off the bench, drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key and the game was tied.

A fall-away jumper by Sherrer untied it with 2:57 to go. And the Hornets were denied a chance to answer when a disputed offensive foul was called on point guard Chad Pitts as he tried to retrieve a loose ball.

Monticello missed a chance to add to the lead from the free throw line and the Hornets’ Micah Farish stepped up, knocking down a 3-pointer that gave his team the lead for good.

Bryant forced a Monticello turnover then worked a minute off the clock before Farish grabbed the carom off a teammate’s miss and scored to make it 36-33 going into the final minute.

Sherrer drove into the teeth of the Bryant defense and forced a shot that missed badly and the Hornets rebounded. To that point, the Billies had only fouled four times in the second half so they had to use up fouls — and clock — before finally getting the Hornets in the bonus. All the while, Bryant ran its delay efficiently.

And with :12.7 left, Mask went to the line and converted twice to seal the victory.

“It was a big win for us,” stated Hornets head coach Mark Smith. “It was a really good team effort and I told the guys that’s what it’s going to take to win, five guys playing together. I’m proud of them. We needed that.”

“We got the ball inside a little bit more than we have been,” Smith noted. “Of course, we were able to because we matched up pretty well with them sizewise. And our posts did a good job. And our guards did a real good job getting the ball to the posts.

“We picked up our defensive intensity in the second half,” he observed.

The Hornets rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to take a 6-4 lead going into the second quarter. Jeremy Chumley, who led the team with 11 points, posted up for the go-ahead bucket after a steal by Moss.

After Monticello built its 12-6 edge, free throws by Chad Pitts and back-to-back baskets by Jeremy Chumley tied it at 12. After a Billies turnover, Chris Chumley scored inside and was fouled. He completed the three-point play to give the Hornets the lead which held at halftime thanks to buckets by John Newman and Chase Shaw in the final minute and a half.

The lead seesawed in the third quarter before a 3-pointer by Jeremy Chumley in the final minute put Bryant up 26-25. But with Sherrer scoring back-to-back buckets, including a three-point play early in the fourth, the Billies had the 4-point edge that Bryant overcame down the stretch for the win.

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