Bryant girls ease by Texarkana
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 continueposting 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
Though the Bryant Lady Hornets’ conference championship hopes were all but ended with back-to-back losses to Sheridan and Lake Hamilton, it figured that they would eventually get a chance to reclaim second from Lake Hamilton. The Lady Wolves still had some tough games to play and, if the Lady Hornets took care of business, the door would come open.
Little did they know how quickly that scenario would play out.
With a 62-43 win over the Texarkana Lady Razorbacks on Friday, Feb. 8, the Lady Hornets were able to jump back into a tie for second right away as Lake Hamilton was upended by a surging Camden Fairview team.
Both Bryant and Lake Hamilton are 7-3 in league play with four to play with Fairview on their heels at 6-4 and Pine Bluff still in contention at 5-5.
The results set up a huge week for the Lady Hornets who were to visit Pine Bluff Tuesday (see related story on page 5) then host Fairview on Friday.
In the win over Texarkana, the Lady Hornets were much sharper than they’d been in the Lake Hamilton game. Top scorers Bree Mann and Jennifer Slack returned to form, combining for 36 points.
Bryant started and ended the first half with scoring surges to take control of the game. The initial blitz was a 12-2 run started by Slack’s three-point play. Sophomore Yousra Elhagemoussa, recovered from an illness that had been limiting her playing time, canned a baseline jumper then Jeanne Randall made a steal that led to Mann’s first bucket and a 7-0 lead.
After Texarkana’s Nikki Hill hit a layup off an inbounds play, Mann added a basket on a baseline jay and Rachel Blakley, playing despite a broken bone in her left wrist, drilled a 3 to complete the surge.
Blakley would hit a trio of 3’s in the game. Her second came late in the opening quarter and gave Bryant a 16-6 advantage.
Texarkana, led by Hill who scored a game-high 20 points before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an injury, rallied to tie it at 16 early in the second period.
But Mann, one of two seniors on the team, stepped up and scored 6 consecutive points for the Lady Hornets who never fell behind.
When Dayna Huckabee hit a 3 to trim Bryant’s margin to 24-23 with 2:33 left in the half, the Lady Hornets intensified the defense and shut out the visitors the rest of the way. Slack drove into the lane and corded a short jumper then Jessica Halligan knocked down a 16-footer. Slack followed up by banking one in from the wing and, with :06 left, she fed Starr Crow for a layup that produced a 32-23 halftime advantage.
Texarkana’s Loneca Ross hit a 3 to start the scoring in the second half but, after Slack hit the offensive boards for a deuce, Elhagemoussa rejected a Huckabee shot, and Blakley ripped her third triple, the Lady Backs were never as close again.
It was 37-30 with 2:50 left but Mann popped a jumper, Blakley forced a turnover with a held ball and Randall buried an 18-footer to bump the lead into double digits again.
The margin steadily increased after that. It was 48-35 going into the fourth quarter. Hill hit a 3 to cut it to 10 but Elhagemoussa scored then made a steal which led to a 3-pointer by Jamie Stephens and a 53-38 bulge.
Ross hit another 3 but after another Elhagemoussa theft, Mann hit two free throws, Slack blocked a shot, grabbed the deflection and drove for a layup to make it 57-41.
Texarkana failed to score in the final 3:15 of the game.