Photo courtesy of Christa Finney
PEARCY — The Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team out-scored the host Lake Hamilton Lady Wolves 9-2 in the third quarter on the way to a 38-29 victory on Friday to capture the championship of the annual Kameron Hale Invitational Tournament.
Ivory Russ was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. She scored 6 points in the final. Tiyanna Robinson scored 8 points and was named the player of the game. Celebs Martin led Bryant with 13 points and was named to the all-tournament team.
In addition, Lexi Taylor and Tierra Trotter scored 4 points each and McKeycia Baker had 3.
“I am extremely proud of our tournament victory,” said Lady Hornets coach Nathan Castaldi. “Over our three games, we had three different leading scorers and five different girls won individual awards. I think this week sets us up perfect for upcoming conferences games.”
The Lady Hornets, now 11-2 overall and 5-2 in the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference, return to league play on Tuesday at home against Cabot South.
Bryant bolted to an 11-7 lead by the end of the first quarter and extended it to 24-18 by halftime. The third quarter expanded the lead to 13 going into the final quarter.
“We played really well offensively the first half,” Castaldi said. “We were patient and got good shots all half long. Tiyanna hit a couple of 3’s early, which opened up Lake Hamilton’s zone a little bit.
“We were not as good on the defensive end in the first half,” he added. “We were a little too aggressive which led to Lake Hamilton getting some easy buckets. We talked at halftime about not taking as many chances and making Lake Hamilton work a little harder to get their shots. We did a great job of that the second half.
“Celena and Tiyanna really did a good job on Lake Hamilton’s scorers and limited them to two buckets in the second half,” the coach noted. “We continued our good offensive performance the third quarter with Ivory and McKeycia doing a good job inside. The fourth quarter, we struggled a little bit to finish inside. We had a chance to stretch the lead out a couple of times, but failed to do that. Lake Hamilton made a few shots to cut into the lead, and after missing a few one-and-one opportunities to keep it close, Celena and Tiyanna hit free throws to set the final score.”