PEARCY — Improved work on the backboards and against pressure defense helped the Bryant Hornets freshman team earn a 46-43 win over the Arkadelphia Junior Badgers on Monday at the annual Kameron Hale Invitational Tournament at Lake Hamilton High School.
The win came after the Hornets absorbed a 43-30 loss to Hot Springs in a game they trailed by just 1 going into the fourth quarter.
Bryant is set to play on Tuesday in the consolation bracket final at 1:45 p.m., against the winner of a game between Central Arkansas Christian and Malvern.
Luke Curtis was named the player of the game in the victory on Monday. He led the Hornets with 13 points.
Tristan Calhoun and Sam Chumley each scored 10 points and Brandon Hill had 8.
Bryant led 11-10 after a quarter and it was tied at 24 at the half. At the end of the third quarter, Arkadelphia had managed a 35-32 lead only to have the Hornets rally for the victory.
“The Arkadelphia team was very similar to Hot Springs in terms of their athleticism and style of play looking to push,” noted Bryant coach Tyler Posey. “We handled it much better today and really calmed down to this style of play. A few turnovers in the first half hurt us some but overall we responded better to the up and down tempo.
“I though the guys did a much better job flying in for boards and it showed with a win,” he added.
Against Hot Springs, the Hornets fell behind 10-4 by the end of the first quarter. They trailed the Junior Trojans 19-14 at the half but only 30-29 going into the fourth quarter. They were outscored 13-1 down the stretch.
“Hot springs was a very fast and athletic team,” Posey said. “We opened the game struggling a little bit to keep up and they opened up a decent lead. After we settled in, we started inching our way and grabbed the lead until the last shot of the third quarter.
“During the fourth quarter, they really used their athleticism to their advantage and had several second-chance opportunities,” he related.
Calhoun led the Hornets with 8 points. Curtis finished with 6, Hill 5.