BENTON — Plagued by foul trouble, the Bryant White Lady Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School fell behind the Benton Lady Panthers eighth-graders 14-4 in the first quarter and never really recovered as Benton went on to a 43-21 win on Tuesday night.
The Lady Hornets battled back in the second quarter and only trailed 18-16 at the half but they were unable to score in the third quarter and the lead ballooned to 31-16.
“Foul trouble seems to haunt us,” said Lady Hornets coach Ben Perry. “Within three minutes into the first quarter, Benton found themselves in the bonus and in the double bonus before the first quarter was over. We couldn’t breathe without fouling apparently.
“We had three of our starters in serious foul trouble and ballhandling was an issue for those who were forced to step up,” he added. “Those that had to step up and carry us did a great job. We initiated our press and were able cut the lead to two points before half. We had committed 14 fouls before half compared to six by Benton.
“We did not hit another field goal the whole second half,” the coach noted. “We had many open shots but they did not fall. When we drove, we were not able to get the ball in the basket or go to the foul line enough. We had several girls foul out the game and several injuries sustained during the game.”
Jayla Knight led the Lady Hornets with 9 points but, plagued by foul trouble, Kylee Fleharty was limited to just 2 points. Lyniyae Johnson finished with 4 and Haya Winfield had 3. Along with Fleharty, Nyla Danzy finished with 2. Kiniyah Horton hit a free throw.
“The Benton eighth grade team is a good team, but I do believe we can play more competitively,” Perry said. “It seemed that in the third quarter we shut down. The girls were frustrated with play, officiating and name calling by fans.
“The bench carried our team to the end and I believe they played as hard as they could, given the situation they were in,” he related. “They just let outside factors influence their play.
“This was a good test for them to understand that frustration in games happen and we must not let it control us,” the coach continued. “We can only control what we can control. It was a tough loss that we will be eager for a rematch come February. We believe we can correct our mistakes and find a different style of game come February.
“We will learn and grow and continue to play hard. I thank our parents for the strong support of our team. We look forward to North Little Rock on Thursday at home,” Perry concluded.
It’ll be the team’s first home game.