For more photos from this event by Kevin Nagle, go here
CONWAY — By avenging one of their five losses this season on Thursday night, the Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team will get a chance to avenge another one next Wednesday, Feb. 15, when they open the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference tournament on their home floor at Bryant Middle School.
After losing to Conway White at home on Jan. 5, 35-28, the Lady Hornets got the Lady Cats back with a 36-29 victory in their regular-season finale on Thursday at Buzz Bolding Arena. Coupled with Conway Blue’s win over North Little Rock, that tied the Lady Hornets and the Lady Charging Wildcats for third place in the league. And the Lady Hornets received the higher bid with the tiebreaker over North Little Rock. They won at North Little Rock by a larger margin (43-21) than the lost to the Lady Cats (38-30) on Dec. 1.
So, as the No. 3 seed, the Lady Hornets, now 19-5 overall, will open the conference tourney against the Cabot South Lady Panthers. Just last Monday, Cabot South had surprised the Lady Hornets 36-27. Earlier in the season, Cabot South, a six seed for the tourney, lost to Bryant 42-18.
Tierra Trotter and Celena Martin each scored 9 points in Thursday’s win over Conway White. Tyianna Robinson and Ivory Russ added 8 apiece and Alivia Allen had 2 points and three rebounds in the third quarter when foul trouble was hampering her teammates.
The final score might’ve been a little more comfortable had the Lady Hornets hit their free throws. They were 5 of 16 from the line while Conway White went just 2 of 5.
Forcing nine turnovers in the first quarter, the Lady Hornets surged to a 12-0 lead but they could never quite put the Lady Wampus Cats away. In fact is was a 3-point game midway through the fourth quarter.
But the Lady Hornets only allowed 4 points in the final 3:50 as the lead reached as much as 9 down the stretch.
Neither team fared well offensively early in the game. In fact, it was 1-0 on the strength of Russ’ free throw over the first 3:26 of the game as both teams forced turnover after turnover.
Finally, Trotter made a steal and a layup for the game’s first field goal at the 2:34 mark.
Robinson followed up with a theft that Martin cashed in. Another turnover led to a 3-pointer by Trotter.
Lexi Taylor combined with Robinson to force another turnover. Trotter cashed in with a layup and Conway White took a second timeout.
When play resumed, Martin’s theft led to her offensive-rebound basket and the 12-0 lead.
Conway White’s first field goal, a stickback by Kalista Love, came with :52 left in the first quarter. Kierra Rulton followed up with a 3 and it was 12-5 going into the second quarter.
The Lady Cats’ surge continued into the new period. Eventually, the Lady Hornets’ lead was down to 12-11.
Russ missed a chance to increase the margin but followed up with a steal, feeding Martin for a layup. Trotter got an easy 2 off yet another theft. Kinley Oholendt blocked a shot at the other end.
A layup by Robinson and a short jumper by Martin made it 20-11 at halftime.
Russ followed her own miss to extend the lead to double digits again. But, sparked by T’yaunna Rector, the Lady Cats whittled the lead to 26-21 going into the fourth quarter. And when Rector drove for a bucket to start the new stanza, Conway White was down just 3.
The Lady Hornets just kept making plays to hold off the Lady Cats, however. Russ drove the lane, drew the defense and dished to Alivia Allen for a layup. After Rector drove for a jumper in the lane to make it 28-25, Russ was cited for an offensive foul while handling the ball out front. It was one in an unusual amount of offensive fouls called out on the floor as both teams tried to fend off aggressive defense.
Rector got a shot to make it a 1-point game but missed and the Lady Cats went over two minutes without scoring. Though Bryant didn’t make a big move at that point, Martin hit a free throw, Robinson drove for a layup and Russ scored off a drive to make it 33-25.
With 1:37 left, Fulton ended the drought for Conway White but free throws by Russ and Robinson made it a 9-point advantage, securing the victory.
LADY HORNETS 36, LADY WAMPUS CATS 29
Score by quarters
BRYANT 11 8 6 10 — 36
Conway White 5 6 10 8 — 29
LADY HORNETS 36
Trotter 4-10 0-3 9, Martin 4-5 1-2 9, Oholendt 0-0 0-0 0, Robinson 3-8 2-4 8, Russ 3-8 2-5 8, Taylor 0-6 0-0 0, Scifres 0-0 0-0 0, Allen 1-1 0-0 2, Deaton 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 15-38 5-16 36.
LADY CATS 29
Harris 1-4 0-0 2, Rector 5-15 0-0 10, Schitchl 0-5 0-0 0, Stevenson 0-3 0-3 0, Armstrong 0-7 0-0 0, Fulton 5-9 2-2 13, Larkins 0-1 0-0 0, Love 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 13-46 2-5 29.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 1-8 (Trotter 1-4, Robinson 0-2, Taylor 0-2), Conway White 1-11 (Fulton 1-2, Schitchl 0-3, Harris 0-2, Rector 0-2, Armstrong 0-2). Turnovers: Bryant 25, Conway White 21. Rebounds: Bryant 14-23 37 (Russ 6-2 8, Robinson 1-5 6, Trotter 1-4 5, Martin 1-4 5, Taylor 3-0 3, Allen 0-3 3, Deaton 0-2 2, Oholendt 0-2 2, team 2-1 3), Conway White 12-18 30 (Armstrong 4-3 7, Love 3-4 7, Stevenson 2-3 5, Rector 0-3 3, Schitchl 3-0 3, Fulton 0-2 2, Harris 0-1 1, team 0-2 2). Team fouls: Bryant 13, Conway White 19. Fouled out: Bryant, Russ; Conway White, Harris.