By Rob Patrick
Baskets were hard to come by Monday night when the Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team hosted the[more] Mount St. Mary Academy Mounties at the Bryant Middle School gym.
The Mounties were playing aggressive, gambling defense and wound up forcing 31 turnovers. The Lady Hornets, not quite as aggressive but just about as effective, forced 20 turnovers but also out-rebounded their rivals 31-27 while holding them to just 18 percent shooting from the field (7 of 39).
No wonder then that the game went to overtime.
With :25.1 left in the extra period, the Mounties’ Peyton Koller hit two free throws after following her own missed shot, snapping a 22-22 tie. The Lady Hornets had two chances to match that but a 3-point try by Nikki Clay with :14.1 to go refused to fall and, after a missed free throw by Mount’s Cynthia Weyrens, one last, excruciating turnover ended the game.
Bryant had absorbed a tough 24-22 loss.
“I thought we played better at times tonight,” stated Bryant coach Nathan Castaldi. “We got off to a slow start but were able to make up the difference because we played much better defense after the first quarter.
“Mount St. Mary plays very hard and I thought we matched their intensity, which I was worried about before the game,” he added. “I thought Katie Davidson played her best game of their year. She always plays pretty good defense, but she was much more aggressive offensively and did a good job rebounding.”
Davidson finished with a team-high 6 points and also collected a game-high nine rebounds.
Jayla Anderson and Mallory Curry each added 4 points. Nikki Clay, Taylor Lindberg, Kierre Solinger and Jerrica Gray each had 2 points. Solinger, in off the bench, pulled down six boards and Lindberg five.
But free throw shooting proved to be the difference. Not just Koller’s winning pair but, for the game, the Mounties hit 10 of 18 from the line while the Lady Hornets converted just 4 of 11 including 2 of 8 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Despite those late struggles at the line, the Lady Hornets rallied from a 19-14 deficit to start the fourth period. While holding Mount to one free throw by Cassie Sloan, which came at the 1:32 mark, the Lady Hornets started whittling on the lead when Gray hit an 8-foot jumper off a feed from Anderson with 3:34 to go.
Mount’s Morgan Payne came up empty on a trip to the free-throw line with 2:28 to go and Anderson took advantage with a drive to the hoop that cut the margin to 19-18 with 2:15 left.
The Lady Hornets had a chance to tie or take the lead after a Mounties’ miss but the resulting visit to the line proved unproductive for Bryant and, moments later, Sloan converted her charity throw to give her team a 2-point margin.
But, with 1:12 to go, Clay came through at the line twice to tie the contest.
The Lady Hornets forced a Mount turnover but the Mounties returned the favor with :31.1 to go. Again, Bryant gave itself a chance by forcing a turnover but, once more, Mount forced one in response with :15.2 left.
At the end of regulation, both Sloan and Weyrens got shots but neither would fall and the game went to overtime.
Lindberg snapped the tie with a basket off an offensive rebound with 2:26 left. Clay had made a steal to set up the opportunity.
Bryant forced another turnover but Anderson couldn’t get her shot to go and, with 1:40 left, Koller hit a 12 foot jumper to knot it back up.
Curry’s jump shot in reply rimmed out but, with 1:00 to go, the Lady Hornets forced a turnover to gain another try. Again, however, the Mounties got the ball back with :44 left before Bryant could attempt a shot at taking the lead.
That led to Koller’s decisive free throws.
Mount opened the game with a 9-2 run but, in the final 1:30, Solinger scored off a short drive and Curry grabbed a carom on the offensive end and connected to make it 9-6 going into the second period.
The game remained tight but the Lady Hornets were unable to gain the lead. Mount St. Mary had a 15-11 edge at the half.
A three-point play by Davidson off a nice feed from Lindberg cut the lead to one early in the second half. But that proved to be all the Lady Hornets could muster in the third quarter. Their defense kept them in the game but the Mounties had that 19-14 lead going into the final period of regulation.
Koller led Mount with 10 points and six rebounds. Allie Alewelt added 5.
The game concluded the pre-Christmas schedule for the Lady Hornets who will return to action at the annual Lake Hamilton holiday tournament started Wednesday, Dec. 28.
MOUNTIES 24, LADY HORNETS 22, OT
Score by quarters
Mount St. Mary 9 6 4 1 4 — 24
BRYANT 6 5 3 6 2 — 22
Sloan 1-8 1-5 3, Alewelt 2-5 1-2 5, Weyrens 1-4 0-1 2, Koller 2-10 6-6 10, Payne 0-2 2-4 2, Shamburger 1-4 0-0 2, Fletcher 0-0 0-0 0, Deuschle 0-0 0-0 0, Catlett 0-2 0-0 0, Riccardionne 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 7-39 10-18 24.
LADY HORNETS 22
Clay 0-6 2-2 2, Anderson 2-4 0-3 4, Davidson 2-5 2-4 6, Lindberg 1-3 0-2 2, Curry 2-5 0-0 4, Huffman 0-1 0-0 0, Solinger 1-1 0-0 2, Gray 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 9-26 4-11 22.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 0-3 (Clay 0-3). Rebounds: Bryant 31 (Davidson 9, Solinger 6), Mount St. Mary 27 (Koller 6, Payne 5). Turnovers: Bryant 31, Mount St. Mary 20. Team fouls: Bryant 19, Mount St. Mary 18.