PEARCY — A 14-3 run in the third quarter helped the Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team erase a 20-12 halftime deficit as they went on to edge the Hot Springs Junior Lady Trojans on Friday, Dec. 27, in the opening round of the annual Kameron Hale Invitational Tournament at Lake Hamilton.
The Lady Hornets advanced to play on Saturday at 5:30 p.m., in a winners bracket semifinal game against either Lake Hamilton or Malvern.
Kendal Rogers led Bryant with 12 points on Friday. Macey Jaramillo, who was named the player of the game for Bryant, added 7 points as did Destiny Martin. Jadyn Lewis finished with 6. Sarah Kennedy and Reagan McCormick had 2 each.
“We started slowly the first half,” said Lady Hornets coach Nathan Castaldi. “Defensively, we played a good first quarter but then gave up way too many easy baskets in the second quarter as Hot Springs took the lead.”
Bryant led 7-5 at the first break.
“In the second half, we became more aggressive on offense and got some easy buckets,” Castaldi related. “I thought our girls did a good job all night long of making the extra pass. There were several times we were able to drive to the basket and then pass to an open teammate for a layup. We were also able to pass ahead of their press to get wide-open shots.”
The Lady Hornets led 26-23 at the end of the third quarter.
“Our defense was also much better the second half, as we limited them to 10 points, with 6 of those coming in the last minute as they made a couple of 3’s to close the gap,” the coach said.
Looking ahead, he added, “We need to do a better job of protecting the basketball as we move forward in the tournament. We were careless with the ball, which led to some easy baskets for Hot Springs in the second quarter and late in the game.
“But I was proud of the way we responded in the second half,” the coach concluded. “We came out with much better effort and intensity.”
The win improved Bryant to 4-6 going into Saturday’s game.