Freshman girls erase big deficit, fall short at the end

VILONIA — It took a little while before the Bryant Lady Hornets freshmen gained their footing as they opened the 2018-19 season on the road against the Vilonia Lady Eagles freshmen Thursday night.

Vilonia rushed to a 17-2 lead, forcing 10 of Bryant’s 18 turnovers in the first quarter.

But once Bryant got going, they roared back to take a lead in the second half before Vilonia rallied to forge a 36-32 victory.

Daria Greer and Parris Atkins led the Lady Hornets with 15 points each. Jordan Hancock added 2.

“We definitely started the game like it was the first game of the season,” acknowledged Lady Hornets coach Nathan Castaldi. “The first quarter and a half, we really struggled to get into any flow, especially on the offensive end.”

Vilonia led 8-2 at the first break but, after it reached 17-2, the Lady Hornets surged to cut the lead to 20-16 at the half.

“We settled in a little and played pretty well from that point on,” Castaldi said. “We did a better job of protecting the ball and getting into our offense. We were able to get some good looks attacking the basket and for some kickout 3’s, which is what we focus on in practice.

“Defensively, we had some breakdowns, which can be expected early but, overall, played pretty well,” he continued. “We have to do a better job of communicating with our teammates to limit some of the open shots we gave up.

The game was tied at 26 going into the fourth quarter.

“We were able to get into transition because our defense was aggressive and got some steals,” Castaldi related. “We fought back and took the lead in the second half but, once Vilonia went ahead again, I thought we panicked a little bit and had some bad possessions.”

The Lady Hornets are set to return to action on Monday, Nov. 12, at Lake Hamilton. Their home opener is Thursday, April 15, against Mount St. Mary Academy.

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