MORRILTON — When Morrilton’s Jaden Jackson scored the first basket of the fourth quarter, her Lady Devil Dogs held a 39-26 lead over the Bryant Lady Hornets. It was as large a lead as the Lady Devil Dogs had managed, and they’d managed it before.
Bryant hadn’t led since starting the game up 4-0. But relentless defense helped the Lady Hornets climb back into the game and, with 2:48 left in the game, a driving layup by Tierra Trotter, on the heels of a 3-pointer by Kalia Walker, they pulled ahead 44-43.
Two free throws by Jackson put Morrilton back on top but it would be the Lady Devil Dogs’ last advantage. Bryant, on a basket by Celena Martin off a drive then two free throws by India Atkins held up thanks to the defense for a 48-46 comeback victory that lifted the Lady Hornets, now 5-1, into the championship of the Petit Jean Classic at Morrilton High School.
The Lady Hornets will take on the Russellville Lady Cyclones for the Classic crown on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Bryant’s remarkable comeback was fueled by defense, which created scoring opportunities. Not only did Morrilton commit 12 of its 19 turnovers in the second half but the Lady Devil Dogs converted just 6 of 22 shots from the field in the second half after converting 9 of 23 in the first half, including a whopping seven 3-pointers. They had just one in the second half.
The Lady Hornets did a much better job of defending the arc in the second half and, on the other hand, shot much better themselves after intermission including five 3’s.
Trotter led Bryant with 13 points though she missed the front end of a pair of one-and-one trips to the free-throw line in the final 25 seconds, that might’ve iced the game.
McKenzie Muse added 10 points and eight rebounds while Walker finished with 9 including a pair of those fourth-quarter treys. All of her points came in the second half, 8 in the fourth quarter.
Morrilton was led by Mary Kate Kordsmeier’s 17 points. She hit five 3’s including her first three shots in the first quarter. Caitlyn Williams, Kennedy Reel and Maddie Adams hit 3’s in the first half for the Lady Devil Dogs. Five of those came in the first quarter producing the first double-digit lead, 19-9 at the break.
The Lady Hornets, meanwhile, seemed to get caught up in trying to answer fire with fire in hopes of catching up in a hurry.
The margin was never less than 8 in the second period and when Jackson scored with :03 left in the half, Morrilton led 28-17.
Tamia Templeton’s basket to start the third quarter had the margin back up to 13 but, the Lady Hornets rallied. Trotter hit a layup then Martin made a steal that led to her 3-point bucket. Another steal by Martin led to a free throw from Robyn Gordon that made it 30-23. And when India Atkins hit a 15-footer, the difference was just 5.
Morrilton responded with its own run, including the only 3 of the second half by Kordsmeier, that had them up 37-26 going into the fourth quarter before Jackson made it a 13-point advantage again.
Walker hit a layup off a Morrilton turnover to get Bryant’s 22-point fourth quarter going. Another turnover was cashed in by Walker with a 3.
Martin’s steal led to a layup for Trotter and the Hornets’ fans and bench were getting revved up.
Two free throws by Jackson, who had 11 points in the game, gave the Lady Devil Dogs a breather momentarily but the Lady Hornets then hit them with 3’s from Trotter and Muse. Of a Morrilton miss, Trotter drove to the other end for a layup and, with 2:48 left, Bryant had a lead.
Atkins’ free throws with :55.8 left had Bryant up 48-45.
Atkins and Walker combined to force a turnover, but a flurry of turnovers erupted. Williams converted a free throw with :06.5 left to cut it to a 2-point game but a midcourt 3 was all the Lady Devil Dogs would get in the closing seconds.
LADY HORNETS 48, LADY DEVIL DOGS 46
Score by quarters
BRYANT 9 8 9 22 — 48
Morrilton 19 9 9 9 — 46
LADY HORNETS (5-1) 48
Trotter 6-12 0-2 13, Atkins 2-8 2-2 6, Martin 2-4 0-0 5, Gordon 1-1 1-2 3, Muse 3-11 2-2 10, Steen 1-3 0-0 2, Walker 3-9 1-2 9, Russ 0-1 0-2 0, Taylor 0-2 0-0 0. Totals18-51 (35%) 6-12 (50%) 48.
LADY DEVIL DOGS (6-3) 46
Williams 1-2 3-4 6, Adams 1-7 0-0 3, Reel 2-3 0-0 5, Kordsmeier 6-15 0-0 17, Templeton 2-8 0-0 4, Jackson 3-10 5-6 11, Calvin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals15-45 (33%) 8-10 (80%) 46.
Three-point field goals:Bryant 6-23 (Walker 2-6, Muse 2-5, Trotter 1-6, Martin 1-1, Atkins 0-3, Taylor 0-2), Morrilton 8-22 (Kordsmeier 5-12, Adams 1-6, Reel 1-2, Williams 1-1, Templeton 0-1). Turnovers:Bryant 14, Morrilton 19. Rebounds:Bryant 14-23 37 (Muse 3-5 8, Steen 1-5 6, Atkins 2-3 5, Martin 3-2 5, Trotter 1-3 4, Gordon 1-2 3, Russ 2-1 3, team 1-2 3), Morrilton 8-22 30 (Jackson 2-6 8, Templeton 0-5 5, Kordsmeier 1-4 5, Williams 2-2 4, Adams 0-2 2, team 3-3 6). Team fouls:Bryant 12, Morrilton 12.