Early blitz lifts Lady Hornets to lopsided win over Searcy

BEEBE — The Bryant Lady Hornets blew out to a 14-1 lead on the Searcy Lady Lions in the consolation round of the Beebe Holiday Tournament on Friday and surged to a 55-36 victory to snap a rough five-game losing skein that included setbacks in 2- and 1-point contests.

Junior Kalia Walker drained 5 of 7 3-point shots on the way to a game-high 15 points in the victory, which sets up a battle against either El Dorado or Blytheville in the consolation final on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Sophomores Tierra Trotter and Ivory Russ added 9 points each with soph India Atkins pitching in with 8 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Junior Robyn Gordon had 6 points with sophomores Celena Martin and Lexie Taylor scoring 4 apiece.

Searcy’s La’Tiana Floyd scored 11 points.

Khadijah Cooperwood ended Searcy’s field-goal drought to start the game with a basket inside at the 3:15 mark but Bryant continued its onslaught with an 11-0 run that made it 19-3 at the end of the quarter and 25-3 before Searcy scored again.

“We’re young so sometimes every possession doesn’t really matter,” said Lady Hornets coach Brad Matthews. “Today, in the first quarter, I thought we did a great job playing defense on every possession. We rebounded well in the first quarter and, because of that, we were able create some offense, which led to some confidence.

“You have to play possession by possession with intensity,” he emphasized. “Sometimes, we’re just out there and we’re not out there with intensity or purpose. Part of that is because they’re young. So, we’ve got to keep growing up, keep understanding that possessions matter because one possession leads to another which leads to another and another.

“We had a great first quarter,” the coach emphasized. “I thought we executed pretty well today. It’s a good win.”

The game started with a Bryant turnover but Tierra Trotter made a steal — the first of 23 Searcy turnovers — and drove for a layup. Another turnover led to a drive by Russ for a 4-0 lead.

Atkins added a free throw and, off another turnover, Russ drove through the lane for another bucket. Martin made a steal and fed Russ to make it 9-0 before Ta’Lor Branch hit a free throw for Searcy’s first point with 4:41 left in the first period. Trotter answered with a drive and scoop then, after a pair of Lady Lion misses, hit a 3 to make it 14-1.

Cooperwood’s basket followed then, after a series of turnovers, Atkins drove for a layup. Trotter’s steal led to a trip to the free-throw line and, though she missed both shots, Walker banked in a 3 at the buzzer to make it a 16-point advantage.

She then started the second quarter with a pure trey. Martin made a steal and Gordon got to the line where she converted twice. Another turnover led to Taylor toeing the line for a free throw to make it 25-3.

Floyd’s first basket interrupted the Bryant rampage but Taylor drained a 3 and, off another turnover, Russ got to the line to make it 29-5, the largest lead of the game.

Branch hit a pair of free throws but Russ fed Gordon for a basket to make it 31-7.

Searcy trimmed the lead at the free throw line but a pair of baskets by Atkins including a coast-to-coast drive off a defensive rebound allowed the Lady Hornets to hold a 35-16 lead at the half.

It was a 38-20 when Martin followed her own miss for a bucket and Trotter made a steal and earned a trip to the line where she converted twice to make it 42-20.

Bryant led 45-24 going into the fourth quarter and free throws by Martin, a 3 from Walker and a follow shot by Russ pushed the margin back to 24, 52-28 by the middle of the period.

Searcy cut it to 16 before Walker finished the game with a triple to set the final score.

LADY HORNETS 55, LADY LIONS 36

Score by quarters

BRYANT          19        14        10        10 — 55

Searcy             3          13        8          12 ­— 36

LADY HORNETS 55

T.Trotter 3-5 2-4 9, Walker 5-10 0-0 15, Atkins 3-3 2-7 8, Martin 1-8 2-2 4, Russ 4-8 1-4 9, Gordon 1-2 4-4 6, Taylor 1-9 1-2 4, Scifres 0-0 0-0 0, S.Trotter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-45 (40%) 12-23 (52%) 55.

LADY LIONS 36

Branch 1-7 4-6 7, Floyd 3-5 5-6 11, Housley 2-6 2-2 6, Copperwood 2-7 2-2 6, Hicks 1-5 3-4 6, Rose 0-1 0-0 0, Provence 0-1 0-0 0, Dupriest 0-0 0-0 0, Bitner 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 9-32 (28%) 16-20 (80%) 36.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 7-21 (Walker 5-9, Taylor 1-8, T.Trotter 1-3, Martin 0-1), Searcy 2-9 (Branch 1-3, Hicks 1-3, Housley 0-3). Turnovers: Bryant 18, Searcy 23. Rebounds: Bryant 12-17 29 (Atkins 0-9 9, Russ 4-2 6, Gordon 3-2 5, Martin 3-1 4, T.Trotter 1-2 3, Walker 0-1 1, team 1-0 1), Searcy 7-22 29 (Cooperwood 1-7 8, Branch 3-4 7, Floyd 0-3 3, Housley 2-1 3, Hicks 1-2 3, Provence 0-2 2, Rose 0-1 1, team 0-2 2). Team fouls: Bryant 15, Searcy 15.



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