First-half run proves to be decisive for freshman girls

For more photos of this event by Kevin Nagle, go here

Against a team that they had defeated 33-18 on the road, the Bryant Lady Hornets weren’t quite as sharp as usual Thursday night. Still, they built themselves a 17-point lead over the Cabot North Lady Panthers going into the fourth quarter.

Jordan Hancock (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

And Lady Hornets head coach Nathan Castaldi was able to get a lot of players into the game, usually in a quintet that included a starter or two.

But, gamely, the Lady Panthers surged down the stretch and, after cutting that 17-point margin down to 7, Castaldi brought his starters back for the final 40 seconds or so to make sure the Lady Hornets held on. 

The 36-26 victory improved Bryant to 8-7 overall and 3-2 in the Central Arkansas Conference going into a trip to North Little Rock in a week. It was the second win in a row for the Lady Hornets and third in the last four games.

“We talk about competing night in and night out,” Castaldi commented. “I didn’t think we competed as hard tonight as we needed to. We got the win, but we didn’t shoot free throws very well, which kind of hurt us down the stretch. 

ShaMya Jordan eyes the basket. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

“We have to compete possession by possession a lot harder than we did tonight,” he reiterated.

Bryant shot just 26 percent from the field (12 of 46) and 37 percent from the free-throw line (10 of 27) including just 4 of 13 in the fourth quarter. However, they forced 26 turnovers and hauled down 14 offensive rebounds to produce 17 more shot attempts from the field.

In the end, Bryant’s Parris Atkins led all scorers with 15 points. She also had a game-high eight rebounds. Jordan Hancock and Daria Greer added 9 apiece for the Lady Hornets.

Faith Johnson led Cabot North with 8, which included a pair of 3-pointers.

Caitlin LaCerra fires a 3-pointer. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The Lady Panthers actually grabbed a 5-1 lead early in the game with the help of one of those 3 with 4:10 left in the first quarter.

But they didn’t score again until the final minutes of the first half. By then, the Lady Hornets had put together a 15-0 run.

Hancock started the blitz with a 3. She followed with a steal that got her to the free throw line where she converted once. Before the quarter was over, Atkins came through with a three-point play and Greer drove for a bucket in the final seconds to make it 10-5.

ShaMya Jordan opened the scoring in the second quarter. Two minutes later, Hancock pulled down a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for a basket to make it 14-5. Greer fed Atkins for a layup and it was 16-5.

Kacie Estes finally broke Cabot North’s drought with 1:15 left in the half. Atkins beat the buzzer to give her team an 18-7 lead at the half.

Daria Greer looks for room to shoot. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Atkins started the second half with a steal and layup. Madelyn Matchett answered for the Lady Panthers, but Atkins scored again. Two free throws by Matchett had Cabot North within 22-11 only to have the Lady Hornets finish the quarter on an 8-2 run, once again instigated by a 3 from Hancock.

“We wanted a little more energy coming out and had that, but I thought they did a little bit better job too in the second half, getting the ball where they wanted to,” Castaldi observed. “They ran some good stuff and then, defensively, I didn’t think we were as active as we usually are. I think that goes back to execution night in and night out, possession by possession. I think we were a little bit over-confident going into tonight, thinking, ‘Hey, we beat this team before.’ We weren’t as focused as we needed to be.”

Down 30-13, the Lady Panthers started their comeback with a 3-pointer by Sidney Fewell. Free throws by Leila Clemons and Reese Turner trimmed the margin to 30-20. Faith Johnson scored 5 points early in the final minute to whittle the margin to 33-26 before Greer finally found the range at the line and hit 3 of 4 in the final 30 seconds.

LADY HORNETS 36, LADY PANTHERS 26

Freshman

Score by quarters

Cabot North    5          2          6          13 — 26

BRYANT           10        8          12        6 — 36

LADY PANTHERS 26

Estes 1-3 0-0 2, Clemons 0-3 3-4 3, R.Turner 0-1 3-4 3, Johnson 3-6 0-0 8, Matchett 2-3 2-3 6, Fogle 0-1 0-0 0, Fewell 1-6 0-0 3, Beldon 0-4 1-2 1, Griffin 0-2 0-2 0. Totals7-29 (24%) 9-15 (60%) 26.

LADY HORNETS 36

Hancock 3-12 1-8 9, Greer 2-9 5-9 9, LaCerra 0-4 0-0 0, Atkins 6-15 3-3 15, Chappell 0-0 0-0 0, Dillon 0-0 0-0 0, Jordan 1-4 0-0 2, Palmer 0-1 0-2 0, Mefford 0-0 0-0 0, Cicero 0-0 0-2 0, Purifoy 0-0 1-2 1, S.Hartz 0-1 0-1 0, Z.Turner 0-0 0-0 0, Pearson 0-0 0-0 0, Sanders 0-0 0-0 0, Hammett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals12-46 (26%) 10-27 (37%) 36.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 2-15 (Hancock 2-4, Greer 0-4, LaCerra 0-4, Atkins 0-2, Jordan 0-1), Cabot North 3-10 (Johnson 2-4, Fewell 1-4, Estes 0-1, Beldon 0-1). Turnovers:Bryant 8, Cabot North 26. Rebounds:Bryant 14-19 33 (Atkins 3-5 8, Palmer 4-2 6, Hancock 1-4 5, Greer 0-3 3, Chappell 2-1 3, S.Hartz 1-1 2, Z.Turner 1-1 2, Jordan 1-0 1, Cicero 1-0 1, Purifoy 0-1 1, team 0-1 1), Cabot North 5-28 33 (Estes 1-6 7, Matchett 1-5 6, Clemons 0-5 5, Beldon 0-5 5, Fogle 1-1 2, R.Turner 0-1 1, Johnson 0-1 1, Fewell 0-1 1, Griffin 1-0 1, team 1-3). Team fouls:Bryant 14, Cabot North 19.



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