Freshman Hornets blitz Conway Blue for first league win

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

Chris Gannaway goes up for a shot in the lane. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The Bryant Hornets freshman team ended their non-conference schedule with a 6-6 record. Not that impressive at first blush. But, consider, they came into their Central Arkansas Junior High Conference opener against the Conway Blue Wampus Cats on a three-game winning streak.

Make it four.

The Hornets rushed to a 23-3 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back on the way to a 62-31 romp over the Cats on Thursday.

“We came out, really, kind of where we left the last game,” said Hornets coach Tyler Posey, referencing a 37-22 win over Benton on Monday, “being really aggressive at the point of attack. And we started to make our layups early on in this game. So, we were able to build a lead early on.”

The Hornets have always played fast and aggressive with their pressure defense but the turnovers they often created earlier in the season seemed to end invariably in missed layups, just coming in too hot. Such was not the case on Thursday. They forced 27 turnovers while committing just seven themselves and, during that first-quarter blitz, hit 10 of 17 shots.

James Billingsley finished with 8 points. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

“I knew we were fired up and playing with energy in practice,” Posey said of the early barrage. “I knew it was a possibility with this group. They’ve started to really turn a corner in terms of bringing it from the start.”

Posey played 16 players and 12 of them contributed to the scoring, led by Jordan Knox with 14. James Billingsley added 8, Davion Moore scored 7 in the fourth quarter while Cory Nichols and Nasir Vinson finished with 6 apiece.

Bryant scored the first 8 points of the game. Vinson scored as he was fouled inside to start. Darren Wallace followed with a 3 then Knox drove for a layup before adding a free throw.

Conway Blue’s Omarion Pace got his team on the board and, after Knox scored off a baseline drive, K’Omarrion Fields hit a free throw to make it 10-3.

The Cats went scoreless over the final 2:30 of the quarter while the Hornets scorched the nets. 

Cory Nichols contorts to get a shot over Conway Blue’s Omarion Pace (10). (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Nichols hit the offensive glass to start a 15-0 run. Ivory Gilmore contributed a three-point play then Chris Gannaway scored off a drive.

In the final minute, Braylen Montgomery kicked in a deuce off an inbounds play under the Bryant basket, Jaylon Russ followed his own miss to score then, to beat the buzzer, Gannaway drove into the paint and lofted up a shot that banked in to make it 23-3.

Montgomery scored again to start the second quarter, pushing the advantage to 22 points.

With a little spurt from Andrew McCray, Conway Blue cut that margin to 27-8 before Billingsley nailed a 3 to start a 9-4 run to end the half. Bryant’s lead had ballooned to 36-12.

Fields scored the first basket of the second half, but the Hornets countered with the next 8 points on a pair of buckets by Knox, another by Vinson and a short jumper by Billingsley.

It was 53-25 going into the fourth quarter and when Moore hit a 3 with 5:36 left, the mercy rule was in effect the rest of the way. 

Jaylon Russ battles for a rebound. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Baskets by Moore and Cornelius Reed pushed the margin to 60-27. Conway Blue’s reserves added a pair of baskets in the late going on either side of Moore’s layup off an inbounds feed from Carson Nagle.

Bryant travels to Cabot South on Monday.

“Every game in this conference is not going to be an easy one,” Posey asserted. “There’s tough tests awaiting us. We’ve definitely got to keep on it.”

HORNETS 62, WAMPUS CATS 31

Freshman

Score by quarters

Conway Blue   3          9          13        6 — 31

BRYANT           23        13        17        9 — 62

WAMPUS CATS 31

Garlington 1-4 1-1 3, Fields 3-9 1-4 8, Pace 2-5 1-4 5, McCray 3-4 0-0 6, Moton 0-1 0-0 0, Canterbury 0-0 0-0 0, Carter 0-1 0-0 0, Tate 0-3 3-4 3, Paglianite 2-4 0-0 4, A.Moore 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 12-33 (36%) 6-13 (46%) 31.

HORNETS 62

Knox 6-8 2-3 14, Billingsley 3-5 1-2 8, Nichols 2-5 2-5 6, Wallace 1-3 0-0 3, Vinson 3-6 0-1 6, Russ 1-5 0-0 2, Gilmore 1-3 1-1 3, Gannaway 2-3 0-0 4, Montgomery 2-3 0-1 4, Baker 1-5 1-3 3, Reed 1-4 0-0 2, D.Moore 3-3 0-0 7, Pitts 0-2 0-0 0, Nagle 0-2 0-0 0, Fluger 0-1 0-0 0, Lamb 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-58 (45%) 7-16 (44%) 62.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 3-13 (Billingsley 1-3, Wallace 1-2, D.Moore 1-1, Nichols 0-2, Gilmore 0-2, Reed 0-1, Nagle 0-1, Fluger 0-1), Conway Blue 1-6 (Fields 1-3, Pace 0-1, Moton 0-1, A.Moore 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 7, Conway Blue 27. Rebounds: Bryant 15-16 31 (Knox 1-2 3, Vinson 1-2 3, Russ 2-1 3, Baker 2-1 3, Nichols 1-1 2, Wallace 1-1 2, Gannaway 1-1 2, Montgomery 0-2 2, Reed 2-0 2, D.Moore 0-2 2, Gilmore 0-1 1, Pitts 0-1 1, Fluger 1-0 1, team 3-1 4), Conway Blue 9-20 29 (Pace 0-6 6, McCray 1-5 6, Fields 2-2 4, Canterbury 1-3 4, Carter 2-0 2, Paglianite 2-0 2, team 1-4 5). Team fouls: Bryant 11, Conway Blue 17.



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