Despite loss, freshman Lady Hornets improve as they play

Photos by Kevin Nagle

The difference in the game between the Bryant Lady Hornets and Vilonia Lady Eagles freshmen teams in their season-opener Monday night appeared to be the difference between a team that had played together for a while and was comfortable enough with each other to be aggressive and a team that was trying to get to that point.

Macey Jaramillo (11) looks for an open teammate as Vilonia's Skylar Lee shadows her. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Macey Jaramillo (11) looks for an open teammate as Vilonia’s Skylar Lee shadows her. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Vilonia was the former, a talented team with size, shooting ability and experience together.

Bryant was the latter, a team pulled together from two eighth-grade squads that were actually rivals a year ago, trying to get a feel for playing together. Though they certainly have been practicing together, it’s much different in a game and with strangers on the other team attacking you.

The result was a rugged start for the Lady Hornets who trailed 22-4 at the half. But they kept getting better as the game went along, particularly on defense. Vilonia only added a free throw in the third quarter and the second half wound up with both teams scoring 6 points. The final was 28-10.

“I thought the first half, we played too fast,” said Bryant coach Nathan Castaldi. “We were playing hard but just weren’t play the way we needed to be, getting where we needed to be. You could tell it was our first game.

“The second half, we calmed down a little bit, got a lot of open looks but didn’t knock them all down,” he continued. “But we were getting what we wanted to.

“It might take us a week or two to figure out who needs to be doing what out there on offense. What combinations we need to have out on the floor,” the coach related. “I think defensively we played on the ball real well. But, off the ball, help-side, those are things we need to work on. We’ve been working on it but we’ve just got to carry it over into the game.”

After the team scrimmages in the Tip-Off Night this evening, they’ll return to competition at home against Watson Chapel on Thursday before opening play in the annual Bryant Invitational starting Monday, Nov. 18.

Bryant's Destiny Martin (21) tries to split a pair of Vilonia defenders including Abby Hightower (52). (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Bryant’s Destiny Martin (21) tries to split a pair of Vilonia defenders including Abby Hightower (52). (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Against Vilonia, the Lady Hornets fell behind 12-0 in the first quarter. The Lady Eagles pressed effectively and used the pick-and-roll on offense successfully.

Destiny Martin managed to break the ice for Bryant with a driving jumper in the final minute of the period.

In the second quarter, however, the dryspell continued as the lead ballooned to 22-2 before Morgan Walters drained a pair of free throws with 1:00 to go to set the halftime score.

A free throw by Martin and a layup off a drive from Jadyn Lewis made it 23-7 going into the fourth quarter. Reagan McCormick and Deja Rayford added free throws down the stretch.

Skylar Lee was the game’s leading scorer with 14.


Score by quarters

Vilonia            12       10       1          5 — 28

Bryant            2          2          3          3 — 10


Goff 0-2 0-0 0, K.Hightower 0-2 0-2 0, Lee 5-12 2-3 14, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, A.Hightower 2-7 1-2 5, Cash 2-3 0-2 4, Hare 0-0 0-0 0, Patterson 0-0 0-0 0, Wilbanks 1-1 0-3 2, Netherlain 1-2 0-0 3, Ruhland 0-0 0-0 0, Andrews 0-0 0-0 0, Mays 0-0 0-0 0, Beaty 0-1 0-0 0, Eary 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-31 3-12 28.


Jaramillo 0-5 0-0 0, Kennedy 0-0 0-0 0, Hill 0-1 0-0 0 Martin 1-7 1-4 3, Rogers 0-1 0-2 0, McCormick 0-0 1-2 1, Rayford 0-1 2-2 2, Harris 0-1 0-1 0, Kugaiko 0-0 0-0 0, Lessenberry 0-1 0-0 0, Walters 0-2 2-3 2, Lewis 1-3 0-0 2, Hutchison 0-0 0-0 0, Ratliff 0-0 0-0 0, Palmer 0-0 0-0 0, Kuchinski 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 2-22 5-10 10.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 0-7 (Jaramillo 0-4, Walters 0-2, Martin 0-1), Vilonia 3-11 (Lee 2-7, Netherlain 1-1, Goff 0-1, A.Hightower 0-1, Beaty 0-1). Rebounds: Bryant 22 (Rogers 5, Kennedy 4), Vilonia 26 (A.Hightower 9). Turnovers: Bryant 17, Vilonia 15. Team fouls: Bryant 12, Vilonia 20.

Bryant's Dejai Rayford is surrounded by Vilonia players as she tries to drive to the basket. (PHoto by Kevin Nagle)

Bryant’s Dejai Rayford is surrounded by Vilonia players as she tries to drive to the basket. (PHoto by Kevin Nagle)

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