Freshman Hornets hang in with Charging Wildcats until late

For more photos of this event by Kevin Nagle, go here ; photos courtesy of Paul Dotson

Jalen Montgomery puts up a running jumper as he splits a pair of North Little Rock defenders. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — After North Little Rock’s D.J. Smith drilled a 3-pointer and Bryant’s Ryan Riggs answered, tying it at 3, the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference game between the freshman teams sped up real fast.

It took the Hornets a while to get used to the speed of the Junior Charging Wildcats. They pushed the lead to 11-3 and Bryant never quite recovered.

To their credit, Bryant kept the Cats’ lead between 8 and 15 through three quarters but, in the final stanza, it got away as North Little Rock pushed the margin to a final of 61-35 as Hornets’ head coach Tyler Posey cleared his bench late.

Tracy Steele scored 20 points and Smith 10 for the Wildcats, who forced 24 Hornet turnovers. Jalen Montgomery scored 7 to lead the Hornets. Hayden Schrader added 6, Austin Ledbetter 5.

The loss dropped the Hornets to 4-3 overall, 1-2 in league play going into a home battle with Conway Blue on Monday.

North Little Rock’s opening barrage was interrupted by Schrader’s first basket but before Montgomery scored and was fouled with :27.7 left in the first quarter, the lead had grown to 17-5.

Gavin Brunson goes up for a shot inside just before being fouled. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Montgomery completed the three-point play to get the lead down to 9 but a desperation 3 at the buzzer by Jaylon Glusson made it 20-8.

North Little Rock was extremely aggressive on offense and physical and swarming on defense. Despite that physicality on defense, the Cats shot 28 free throws to Bryant’s 14.

The Hornets didn’t go away for quite a while though. They trailed 22-8 when Ledbetter scored his 5 points on back-to-back possessions, trimming the margin to 9. Steele missed two free throws and the Hornets’ Gavin Brunson converted once on two tries to make it 22-14.

Kaveane Cotton hit a 3 for North Little Rock but Austin Schroeder answered with a triple. Mario Frazier scored off the offensive glass for The Cats but Bryant answered again with Braylon Walker taking a feed from Montgomery for a deuce.

With 1:38 left, the Hornets were still within 8. But they could get no closer. The Wildcats led 32-21 at the intermission.

As it turned out, that was the last time Bryant would be that close. Steele scored to start the second half and, though Brunson hit two free throws in response to cut it back to 11, the margin was 14 before Schrader cut it to 12 and 15 before Aiden Adams’ 3 did that same.

Austin Ledbetter pulls up for a jumper. (Photo courtesy of Paul Dotson)

The Cats continued to push and led 45-28 going into the final seconds of the quarter. The Hornets’ Braden Godwin hit a 3 to make it 45-31 going into the final stanza. They blew it up by outscoring Bryant 11-1 to start the last six minutes.

CHARGING WILDCATS 61, HORNETS 35

Freshman

Score by quarters

BRYANT          8          13        10        4 — 35

No.Little Rock 20        12        13        16 — 61

HORNETS 35

Montgomery 3-12 1-4 7, Riggs 1-4 1-2 4, A.Adams 1-4 0-0 3, Schrader 2-7 2-4 6, Brunson 0-0 2-4 2, Ledbetter 2-7 0-0 5, Aldridge 0-1 0-0 0, Schroeder 1-3 0-0 3, Walker 1-2 0-0 2, Godwin 1-2 0-0 3, Nelson 0-2 0-0 0, N.Adams 0-0 0-0 0, Hanson 0-0 0-0 0, Martin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-44 (27%) 6-14 (43%) 35.

CHARGING WILDCATS 61

Steele 8-19 2-5 20, Frazier 3-7 1-3 7, D.Smith 4-5 1-2 10, Cotton 1-6 1-2 4, Jordan 1-4 3-6 5, J.Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Floyd 1-1 2-2 4, Geter 1-2 0-2 2, Glusson 2-5 0-0 5, Ford 0-0 1-2 1, Jackson 1-1 0-0 2, Holmes 0-0 1-4 1. Totals 22-51 (43%) 12-28 (43%) 61.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 5-11 (A.Adams 1-3, Ledbetter 1-3, Riggs 1-2, Schroeder 1-1, Godwin 1-1, Nelson 0-1), North Little Rock 5-11 (Steele 2-5, Cotton 1-2, D.Smith 1-1, Glusson 1-1, Frazier 0-1, Geter 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 24, North Little Rock 13. Rebounds: Bryant 17-21 38 (Schrader 5-5 10, Montgomery 2-2 4, Walker 1-3 4, Ledbetter 2-1 3, Brunson 1-2 3, Aldridge 1-2 3, Riggs 1-1 2, A.Adams 0-1 1, N.Adams 0-1 1, team 3-2 5), North Little Rock 19-17 36 (Frazier 4-2 6, Steele 4-1 5, Cotton 2-2 4, Jordan 2-2 4, Floyd 2-2 4, D.Smith 1-2 3, Glusson 1-2 3, Holmes 0-3 3, J.Smith 1-0 1, Geter 1-0 1, team 1-1 2). Team fouls: Bryant 17, North Little Rock 14.

Austin Schroeder gets roughed up as he shoots in the lane. (Photo courtesy of Paul Dotson)

 

Hayden Schrader. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)



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