Fillies escape Lady Hornets’ upset threat

Photos by Kevin Nagle

Aubree Allen makes a move towards the hoop. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Aubree Allen makes a move towards the hoop. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

PINE BLUFF — The Bryant Lady Hornets have appeared to be hitting their stride over the last couple of weeks. On Jan. 31, they played right with the now 21-1 El Dorado Lady Wildcats before giving way to the powerhouse team in the fourth quarter and losing by a deceptively lopsided score.

They have since posted a thrilling last-second win over the rival Benton Lady Panthers and easily dismissed the hapless J.A. Fair Lady Warriors.

On Thursday, in a make-up game at Pine Bluff, the Lady Hornets absorbed a 48-38 loss. But anyone that might suspect that the setback did indeed set them back would be mistaken.

The Fillies, second only to the El Dorado in the South Conference standings, have not lost at home in conference play and, with the win Thursday, sport a 16-5 record. But they had the toughest time shaking the Lady Hornets who trailed just 39-35 with 3:36 left in the game. Bryant had a chance to cut it to 2 but a layup rolled off the rim.

Pine Bluff closed out the game with a 9-2 run capped off by a meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Aija Richardson scored 15 points and Jasmyn Eckerman 12 to lead the Fillies. Jada Taylor added 9, Chasity Moore 5.

For Bryant, Jakeria Otey and Aubree Allen each had 11. Jayla Anderson added 7, Rachel Miller 6 and Peyton Weaver 3.

Jakeria Otey launches a 3-pointer at the buzzer ending the first half. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Jakeria Otey launches a 3-pointer at the buzzer ending the first half. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The Lady Hornets trailed 8-5 in the first quarter but hit a pair of baskets in the late stages of the period to gain a 9-8 lead going into the second period. Anderson started the second in the new stanza with a free throw but Richardson answered with a 3 that started an 11-0 run.

Weaver’s pull-up jumper broke the drought and, after Taylor hit a free throw, Otey beat the buzzer with a running 3-pointer that pulled the Lady Hornets within 20-15 at the half.

Otey added a pair of free throws for the first points of the third quarter. Anderson’s eight-foot jumper cut the lead to 1.

But Taylor hit a 3 and, after a Bryant turnover for an illegal screen, Eckermann drove for a bucket. Baskets by Otey and Allen kept the Lady Hornets close. It was 27-23 going into the last three minutes of the period. But Taylor knocked down another trey and Richardson canned a 15-footer to give the Fillies a 32-23 lead going into the fourth quarter.

But instead of Pine Bluff continuing the surge to break open the game, the Lady Hornets responded. Allen took a feed from Otey and buried a 12-footer. Kye Richardson missed at the other end and Allen hauled down the rebound.

With 6:40 left, the Lady Hornets got a lift when Anderson was fouled by Eckerman. In the previous meeting between the two teams, a 43-28 win by Pine Bluff at Bryant, Eckerman plagued the Lady Hornets, scoring 17 points including 14 in a game-breaking late run. On Thursday, however, she had to come out of the game after fouling Anderson. It was her fourth foul.

The Bryant junior guard hit both shots to cut the margin to 32-27.

Jayla Anderson is fouled by Pine Bluff's Jasmyn Eckerman. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Jayla Anderson is fouled by Pine Bluff’s Jasmyn Eckerman. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

A miss by Aija Richardson was again claimed by Allen and, moments later, she scored off a drive and the Lady Hornets were within 3.

Aija Richardson interrupted with a pair of free throws. On Bryant’s offensive end, the ball got loose after an attempted lob into Allen. There was a wild scramble for possession with several players from both teams hitting the floor to try to claim the ball. Finally, Allen gained enough control of it to scoop a pass to Miller. She promptly scored and it was 34-31 going into the last five minutes.

The Lady Hornets appeared to get a break when, trying to beat their press, Taylor tracked down a pass and dribbled into the backcourt before coming forward again. Bryant head coach Brad Matthews incredulously asked for an over-and-back violation but none was forthcoming.

It proved to be a big moment. Instead of having a chance to cut the margin to 1 again or, with a 3, to tie it, the Lady Hornets found themselves down by 6 when Aija Richardson fired in a 3-pointer.

Miller answered from close range to cut it to 4.

The Lady Hornets appeared to receive another gift when, with 4:04 left, Pine Bluff’s post player Christina Bryant hoisted a 15-foot shot but, somehow, it found the mark.

With Eckerman back in the game and guarding Allen, the Lady Hornets went to their senior forward. Eckerman could only get out of the way, avoiding her fifth foul, as Allen worked inside for a layup, which made it 39-35.

And when Aija Richardson misfired, Allen rebounded and got the ball out to Anderson who was behind everyone. She rushed to the other end and, perhaps expecting the Fillies to catch up to her, also rushed her shot, which tantalizingly hung on the rim for a moment only to careen off to the opposite side where it was rebounded by one of those Fillies tracking the play.

Rachel Miller prepares to fire up a shot over Pine Bluff's Chasity Moore (24). (photo by Kevin Nagle)

Rachel Miller prepares to fire up a shot over Pine Bluff’s Chasity Moore (24). (photo by Kevin Nagle)

Eckerman hit a free throw with 2:33 to go and, in turn, the Lady Hornets suffered a turnover. Aija Richardson converted twice at the line and, after a Bryant miss, she drove for a bucket that made it 44-35.

Matthews took a timeout with 1:55 left. When play resumed, Otey hit a driving jumper. Allen followed up with a steal but the Lady Hornets were unable to take advantage, missing a shot on which Matthews insisted was due to a foul which went unnoticed.

But Kye Richardson missed the front end of a one-and-one as the Lady Hornets got another chance to bit into the 44-37 lead. Another turnover cost them that chance, however.

Eckerman and Allen traded free throws in the closing seconds before the closing 3 by Kye Richardson set the final score.

The Lady Hornets, now 8-12 overall and 4-6 in league play, hosts Sheridan tonight.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!