BENTON — Over four quarters and an overtime, the Bryant Hornets freshman basketball team converted just one of eight free throws. But in a second extra period, they converted all five of their attempts. A three-point play by Mytorian Singleton, with :37 left, gave Bryant a 55-53 lead and, with :15.4 showing, Devin Holmes dropped a pair at the line to make it a two-possession game as the Hornets pulled out a 57-53 win over the rival Benton Panthers on Monday night.
Bryant held its rival scoreless over the final 1:19 of the second OT, enabling them to scrap and rally from a 53-50 deficit.
“That was great,” said Hornets coach Tyler Posey. “I feel like a few games we’ve kind of gotten it real close and we weren’t able to make some plays in the end. This time, they really — we’re used to playing those close games and really, really fought and battled and just made it happen with some good plays, tough plays, stuff we’ve been working on in practice.
“We got to see that on the floor tonight,” he continued. “We made some adjustments off some earlier losses that I knew we could do. And we did. I couldn’t be more proud of those guys for that effort.
“Our first practice of the holidays, we talked about toughness,” the coach noted. “I didn’t feel like we were doing a good job of gritting out plays and grinding through some tough spots, taking charges. We had not taken very many throughout. We took two really, really big ones tonight. Jamison Lewis took both of them. That’s something we want to make sure we have. We needed to be tough and I really thought we showed that tonight.”
The second charge that Lewis took came after two free throws by teammate Grant Johnson that cut Benton’s lead to 53-52 with :57.8 left in the second extra stanza. That led to Singleton’s clutch three-point play.
Benton’s Chris Barnard, who led all scorers in the game with 17 points, misfired at the other end and Lewis controlled the carom. As Bryant worked the ball up the floor, Holmes was fouled.
After he increased the margin, Trent Ford and Johnson combined on a steal that closed out the victory.
Holmes finished with 16 points. Johnson had 10 and Lewis 9 for Bryant. Singleton had 7 as did Joseph Nelson before he fouled out during the first overtime. Nelson also had nine rebounds.
Along with Barnard’s 17, Carter Hedden finished with 16 for Benton. Elias Payne added 9.
Bryant had a chance to win it in regulation play when Holmes hit a tying 3 with :06 left and the Hornets forced a turnover with :03.6 to go. Nelson got a shot at the buzzer, but it wouldn’t fall, and the game went to OT.
Singleton snapped the 44-44 tie with a short jumper but Hedden hit a pair of free throws to knot it up again. The Hornets suffered a turnover, but Holmes made a steal and layup to put Bryant back on top with :58 to go.
Barnard went to the line on Nelson’s fifth foul but missed both shots. Singleton rebounded but the ball was stolen away by Benton and Barnard drove to the basket for a deuce to tie it at 48.
Holmes hit a layup off a Benton turnover to make it 50-48 with :27 left. But, with :07 showing, Hedden drove to the rack and scored to even the game up once more, setting up the second extra period.
Benton led 7-6 at the end of the first quarter. And when Barnard scored and Maddox Davis added a free throw, the Panthers were up 10-6.
The Hornets responded with an 11-2 blitz that started with a steal and layup by Lewis. Moments later, Lewis fed Johnson for a basket. Johnson followed up with a steal that eventually led to a basket as Johnson was fouled. Though he missed the free throw, Lewis set up and took a charge at the other end.
Though Barnard interrupted the run with a pair of free throws, Holmes hit a 3 then, off a Benton turnover, got a layup to go, making it 17-12.
Barnard answered with a basket with one minute left in the half. But he missed a free throw that would’ve made it a three-point play. And, moments later, Hedden missed the front end of a one-and-one. With :18 left, however, Hedden connected on a 3 to tie the game.
But Johnson found the ranged on a triple with :05 to go, giving the Hornets a 20-17 halftime lead.
Johnson hit another trey to start the second half. He was fouled on the play but the Hornets’ struggles at the line continued.
Free throws by Davis and Hedden closed the gap to 2 but Lewis hit a driving layup and, after Hedden scored, Cairon Allen hit the offensive glass and scored to extend the margin to 27-23.
Hedden posted up for a bucket then Payne scored consecutive baskets as the Panthers surged to a 29-27 edge.
Lewis hit a 3 then Benton’s Jordan Burr scored inside. With :08 left, Ford hit a jumper in the lane and the Hornets held a 32-31 edge going into the fourth.
Payne connected on a 3 to start the final period. Gavin Kelley added a basket to put Benton ahead 35-32.
The game was tied at 39 when Singleton scored at the 2:05 mark. It was also tied at 41 after an offensive rebound basket by Nelson with 1:01 to go. Hedden put Benton back up then Kelley hit a free throw. He missed the second, leaving it a 3-point game, leading to Holmes’ triple that deadlocked the game.
Bryant returns to action on Thursday at Conway Blue.
HORNETS 57, PANTHERS 53
Score by quarters
BRYANT 6 14 12 12 6 7 — 57
Benton 7 10 14 13 6 3 — 53
Ford 2-4 0-0 4, Johnson 4-11 2-6 12, Holmes 6-12 2-4 16, Singleton 3-4 1-1 7, Nelson 3-9 1-2 7, Lewis 4-10 0-0 9, Ruffner 0-0 0-0 0, Allen 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 23-54 (43%) 6-13 (46%) 57.
Kelley 1-4 3-4 5, Hedden 5-10 5-7 16, Barnard 6-15 5-9 17, Payne 4-10 0-1 9, Burr 1-9 1-3 3, Davis 0-3 3-4 3, Vandiver 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-52 (33%) 17-28 (61%) 53.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 5-17 (Johnson 2-6, Holmes 2-3, Lewis 1-6, Ford 0-1, Allen 0-1), Benton 2-13 (Payne 1-4, Hedden 1-2, Barnard 0-3, Kelley 0-1, Burr 0-1, Davis 0-1, Vandiver 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 14, Benton 19. Rebounds: Bryant 9-16 25 (Nelson 4-5 9, Allen 2-1 3, Johnson 1-1 2, Singleton 0-2 2, Ruffner 0-2 2, Ford 0-1 1, Holmes 0-1 1, Lewis 0-1 1, team 1-3 4), Benton 22-25 47 (Burr 10-5 15, Hedden 3-6 9, Payne 1-7 8, Barnard 2-5 7, Kelley 1-0 1, Davis 0-1 1, Vandiver 0-1 1, team 4-1 5). Team fouls:Bryant 20, Benton 16. Fouled out: Bryant, Nelson.