Girls sew up 2nd place finish
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 continue posting 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
EL DORADO — It was almost as if the Bryant Lady Hornets finally got tired of messing around with the El Dorado Lady Wildcats in the regular-season finale for the two teams on Thursday, Feb. 21.
The Lady Wildcats had hung around in the first half, never leading, falling behind by as much as 10, but trailing just 25-20 at the intermission.
The Lady Hornets put an end to any notions the Lady Cats may have had about an upset when they started the second half with a 20-0 run. They went on to a decisive 65-37 victory that sewed up second place in the AAAAA-South Conference and relegated El Dorado to the league basement.
Bryant will take a 21-6 record to the State Tournament in Fort Smith. They were set to take on the Conway Lady Wampus Cats, a future conference rival (Bryant moves to the AAAAA-Central next year) in the first round on Thursday at 1 p.m.
Conway, which tied with Little Rock McClellan and Mount St. Mary’s of Little Rock, for second in the Central is the third seed from the conference. The Lady Wampus Cats took a 19-8 mark into the game.
Junior point guard Rachel Blakley provided the telling spark in the win over El Dorado. Scoreless in the first half, Blakley finished with 13 points in the game including eight during the early stages of that tell-tale third quarter blitz.
Jennifer Slack led all scorers with 18 points. Bree Mann added 12 and Yousra Elhagemoussa 8.
Slack had 15 of her points in the first half including a pair of 3-pointers. Her first gave Bryant a 13-9 lead late in the first quarter. El Dorado’s LaTasha Taylor beat the buzzer, however, to make it 13-11 going into the second quarter.
Mann scored then made a steal that eventually led to a conventional three-point play by Slack. Moments later Slack hit a running jumper to make it 20-11. After El Dorado’s Ro Aaron hit a short jay, Bryant turned the ball over. But Blakley made a steal and Slack flushed a 3 to make it a 10-point game.
A timeout appeared to settle the Lady Cats, though, and with the help of a 3-pointer from Kensel Spivey, they got it back to 25-20 at the half.
Slack scored off a drive to start the second-half scoring. Blakley added a pair of free throws then, after a turnover, drilled a baseline jumper to make it 31-20.
Slack came up with a steal and Blakley turned it into a three-point play.
Moments later, Jeanne Randall’s steal set up Mann for a trip to the free throw line. She converted twice to make it a 16-point lead.
After an El Dorado miss, Randall made a nice skip pass to Blakley on the baseline for another hoop. Another Lady Cats turnover then led to a bucket by Mann with Elhagemoussa getting the assist.
Slack would later added a three-point play following her own miss. She then made a steal and fed Mann for another bucket to complete the 20-0 blitz.
Bryant led 45-23 going into the fourth quarter.
Blakley then scored the first two baskets of the period with Randall making another steal to set up the second score.
Before long everyone was getting into the act. Elhagemoussa’s jump hook with 6:09 left made it 51-24. Randall fed Megan Kennedy for a layup and the margin was 29.
After Spivey and Stephens traded free throws, the reserves took over. In the final three minutes, Dani Sutton scored 5 points including a 3, Haley Stobaugh hit a trey and Melissa Springs scored despite being fouled to close out the romp.