Freshman boys get off to rugged start against Cubs

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

Colby Washington (21) (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Colby Washington (21) attacks the basket. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

SEARCY — The Bryant Hornets freshman team has the kind of defense and quickness that can turn people over. And, in their season-opener against the Searcy Lion Cubs on Thursday, they forced 18 turnovers. What proved to be unexpected was that, playing against a packed-in zone the Hornets suffered 23 turnovers. To add to that frustration, they were only able to convert on 10 of 42 shots from the field (23.8 percent) including some from close range when they were able to penetrate the zone.

Searcy took advantage and surprised the Hornets with a 38-27 win.

“They had a good zone and we did a lot of things that are a little bit out of character for us,” said Hornets coach Tyler Posey. “We just didn’t play our game tonight. We got out of it and kind of let them do what they wanted to. We just didn’t get into what we do.

“We got to the rim multiple times but we kind of tried to go too fast, not under control and a couple went a little hard off the glass,” he noted. “We just got out of our game.

“There’s always a lesson learned,” he concluded. “We’re going to get back to work tomorrow.”

Keith Merriweather Jr. (5) pump fakes a Searcy defender into the air. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Keith Merriweather Jr. (5) pump fakes a Searcy defender into the air. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Bryant gets back to action on Monday at 7:45 p.m., in the first round of the annual Bryant Invitational Tournament. They’ll take on Hot Springs Lakeside.

Kayleb West led the Hornets against Searcy with 7 points including the team’s lone 3-pointer in 12 attempts. Marqelle Barnes, Ethan Hilkert, Keith Merriweather Jr., and Darrick Rose each had 4 points.

Searcy jumped to a 5-0 lead before Barnes drove to the hoop and was fouled. He converted both free throws and Colby Washington followed up with a basket inside to make it 5-4.

But the Hornets just couldn’t get over the top and take a lead. Searcy closed out the first quarter with a pair of baskets and hit the first shot of the second to extend the lead to 11-4.

A turnover gave the Cubs a chance to add to that but Cade Drennan made a steal and Merriweather followed a miss with a basket to break the dryspell. Another Searcy turnover was cashed in by Rose to make it 11-8.

Bryant had a couple of chances to get closer before Searcy hit a 3 to maintain the lead. Another basket by Rose had the Hornets within 14-10 but Searcy then went on an 8-2 run over the end of the second quarter and the start of the third. The Cubs led 19-12 at the half.

Kayleb West led the Hornets with 7 points. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Kayleb West led the Hornets with 7 points. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The lead grew to 10 before Hilkert scored. Searcy extended it back to 10 before Drennan hit two free throws after Washington was decked on a drive to the hoop and bumped his head on the floor. The Hornets turned the Cubs over and West knocked down the trey to cut the lead to 24-19 with 2:57 left in the quarter.

But the Hornets didn’t score the rest of the period as Searcy went on an 8-0 surge that had Bryant trailing 32-19 going into the fourth quarter.

Intensifying their defensive pressure to start the final period, the Hornets got a jumper in the lane by West to go then Merriweather knocked down a pull-up pop. After a flurry of action went back and forth, Hilker scored to bring Bryant within 32-25 with 3:50 left.

But, again, the Hornets struggled through a drought. They didn’t score again until Barnes hit a pair of free throws with 1:00 showing to set the final score.


Score by quarters

BRYANT          4          8          7          10 — 27

Searcy             9          10       13       6 — 38


West 3-9 0-0 7, Newburn 0-3 0-0 0, Barnes 0-7 4-6 4, D.Washington 0-2 0-0 0, Hilkert 2-6 0-0 4, Rose 2-5 0-0 4, C.Washington 1-4 0-2 2, Drennan 0-1 2-2 2, Merriweather Jr. 2-5 0-0 4, Hall 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 10-42 6-10 27.


Leonard 0-4 0-0 0, Money 1-4 1-2 3, Love 6-15 0-5 12, Hicks 2-10 1-3 7, Hamm 2-8 0-2 4, Lockhart 2-4 1-1 5, Dixon 3-5 0-1 7. Totals 16-50 3-14 38.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 1-12 (West 1-7, Merriweather Jr. 0-2, Newburn 0-1, Rose 0-1, Drennan 0-1), Searcy 3-14 (Hicks 2-7, Dixon 1-1, Leonard 0-3, Love 0-2, Money 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 23, Searcy 18. Rebounds: Bryant 5-29 34 (Hilkert 0-9 9, Barnes 0-7 7, C.Washington 1-3 4, West 0-3 3, Drennan 0-2, D.Washington 1-0 1, Rose 0-1 1, Merriweather Jr. 1-0 1, team 2-4 6), Searcy 12-30 42 (Hamm 4-9 13, Hicks 1-7 8, Lockhart 3-2 5, Love 1-3 4, Leonard 2-1 3, Money 0-2 2, Dixon 0-1 1, team 1-5 6). Team fouls: Bryant 14, Searcy 8.

Marquelle Barnes gets set for a shot. (photo by Kevin Nagle)

Marquelle Barnes gets set for a shot. (photo by Kevin Nagle)

Ethan Hilkert fires a jumper. (photo by Kevin Nagle)

Ethan Hilkert fires a jumper. (photo by Kevin Nagle)

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