Findley, White Lady Hornets close season on a high note

After the first 10 games of the 2019-20 season, the Bryant White Lady Hornets eighth grade team was 5-5. But since a Jan. 9 loss to North Little Rock Gold, the Lady Hornets closed out the season with seven wins in a row, capped by a 31-16 victory over Little Rock Blue on Thursday night at the Bryant Middle School gym.

Point guard Brilynn Findley scored 24 of her team’s 31 points, 22 after the first quarter, to lead the team to victory.

“This is basically our seventh time to play a North Little Rock team,” mentioned Lady Hornets coach Ben Perry. “We had won three times and lost three times so this was a good tiebreaker.

“It was a good game,” he stated. “We didn’t play as clean as we wanted to but every time we play North Little Rock, it seems it’s just a duel, kind of a grudge match.”

Defense was huge for Bryant White. They forced North Little Rock Blue into a whopping 27 turnovers and held the Lady Cats to just 2 points in the first quarter and only 2 in the third.

“That’s good for us,” Perry said. “I told them, if we could cause more turnovers and be somewhere close in rebounding then we’d win the game.”

Bryant White only committed 13 turnovers. Blue held the rebound advantage, 23-14, but the Lady Cats were just 5 of 18 from the field (28 percent). 

“We didn’t really start pressing hard until the second quarter and, again, in the third quarter,” Perry said. “That’s our bread and butter sometimes. I didn’t want to do it too early. I think wearing them down and getting them frustrated helped us a lot.”

The game was tied 2-2 until the final minute of the first quarter when Locklan Berry hit a free throw to give Bryant White an edge going into the second quarter.

Findley proved tough for North Little Rock to slow down. She attacked the basket for all 8 of Bryant White’s points in the second quarter including a pair of layups off steals. She also worked a nice give-and-go with Kristen Reese for a basket that had the Lady Hornets up 11-6.

Blue’s Madison Hatley hit an eight-footer with :05 left in the half to make it a 3-point difference at intermission.

Two free throws by Bianna Abrams cut the Lady Hornets’ margin to 1 in the opening minute of the second quarter. It stayed 11-10 until the final minute of the quarter. 

Arion Pegram knocked down a high arching 15-foot jumper to break the ice for Bryant White with :53 left in the period.

And it started a Lady Hornets flurry. Findley made a steal that led to a grip to the line with 19 seconds left. She converted once. After another turnover, Findley rebounded a teammate’s miss, scored and was fouled. When she completed the three-point play, it was 17-10.

Another Lady Cat turnover allowed Findley to beat the buzzer with a layup that had Bryant White ahead 19-10. It had been an 8-point flurry in the final minute.

“Brilynn is something else,” Perry said. “She works hard. She’s one of those kids that puts that extra time in. They don’t come around very often but when they do it’s something special to watch. She’s going to go on to bigger and better things, I know.”

Findley started the scoring in the final period then Emeril Jones made a steal and fed Findley for another deuce.

North Little Rock Blue called a timeout, trailing 23-10 all of a sudden.

Late in the contest, Bryant’s A’Niyah Livingston buried the only 3 of the game. Maddie Williams added a free throw to make it 31-14, the Lady Hornets’ largest lead of the contest.

A late basket by Kaelyn Golston of North Little Rock set the final score.

The Lady Hornets finish their season with a 12-5 mark.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Perry mentioned. “This will be the last group I have for two years in a row. I don’t coach seventh grade anymore. So, it’s kind of one of those things where we started here in seventh grade and we end it here (at Bryant Middle School gym). That’s kind of special for everybody.”

This year, Bryant eighth grade is part of the new Bryant Junior High.

LADY HORNETS 31, LADY CHARGING WILDCATS 16

Eighth grade

NLR Blue         2          6          2          6 — 16

Bryant White  3          8          8          12 — 31

LADY CHARGING WILDCATS 16

Miller 0-2 0-0 0, Allen 0-1 0-0 0, Nichols 1-2 2-2 4, Lewis 1-3 0-2 2, Hatley 2-4 2-4 6, Foster 0-2 0-1 0, Abrams 0-0 2-2 2, Tatum 0-0 0-0 0, Dempster 0-2 0-0 0, Golston 1-2 0-1 2. Totals 5-18 (28%) 6-12 (50%) 16.

LADY HORNETS 31

Findley 10-15 4-6 24, Berry 0-1 1-2 1, Pegram 1-4 0-0 2, Reese 0-4 0-0 0, Jones 0-2 0-0 0, Diggins0-0 0-0 0, Livingston 1-4 0-0 3, Calhoun 0-1 0-0 0, Mad.Williams 0-0 1-2 1, Mac.Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Page 0-0 0-0 0, Edwards 0-1 0-0 0, Stigall 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-32 (38%) 6-9 (67%) 31.

Three-point field goals: Bryant White 1-4 (Livingston 1-3, Findley 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant White 13, North Little Rock Blue 27. Rebounds: Bryant White 5-9 14 (Findley 1-3 4, Jones 1-1 2, Berry 0-1 1, Reese 1-0 1, Mad.Williams 0-1 1, team 2-2 4), North Little Rock Blue 8-15 23 (Lewis 2-3 5, Hatley 1-4 5, Tatum 0-2 2, Dempster 1-1 2, Miller 0-1 1, Abrams 1-0 1, Foster 1-0 1, Golston 1-0 1, team 1-4 5). Team fouls: Bryant White 11, North Little Rock Blue 10.



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