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, 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 — 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.