Photos by Kevin Nagle
When you shoot 27 percent from the field including just one of your 11 3-point tries and still win against a very good opponent, you’ve done something.
Coming off perhaps their toughest night of the season in a loss at Lake Hamilton on Monday, the Bryant Hornets freshman team knuckled down and found a way to edge the Conway White Wampus Cats, 36-35, Thursday night at the Bryant Middle School gym.
Calvin Allen and Kaleb Turner made clutch free throws down the stretch with Allen also making a steal and basket at a crucial moment as the Hornet held on.
The Hornets improved to 13-6 overall and 3-1 in the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference going into a week in which they travel to Cabot South on Monday, Feb. 3 then North Little Rock on Thursday, Feb. 6, still in the running for at least a share of the league’s regular season championship.
Calvin Allen, after being limited to just 2 points at Lake Hamilton, stepped up with a team-high 13 against Conway White. Jonathan Allen and Marvin Moody had 6 each, Turner 4 and Brandon Harris 2. But the Hornets hit just 12 of 44 from the field including that frustrating night from beyond the arc, a place from which they usually make some hay.
Marquis Pleasant led the Cats with 11 points. Joe Thomas had 7.
The game was hotly contested from the outset. Conway led most of the first half. It was 9-4 early before Kyle Sahr grabbed an offensive rebound and scored in the final seconds of the first quarter to cut the lead to 3.
But Conway White built the lead back to 14-8 in the early stages of the second quarter. Bryant followed up with an 8-2 run started by Harris’ short jumper off a feed from Turner then three consecutive hoops by Jonathan Allen, the first off a steal by Calvin Allen. Jonathan Allen grabbed the carom off Calvin Allen’s miss and scored. Another theft by Calvin Allen led to a short jumper for Jonathan Allen that tied it 14-14.
A free throw by Conway snapped the tie but the third basket by Jonathan Allen, a 15-foot jay, gave Bryant its first lead of the game with 1:55 left in the half. Pleasant added a free throw to knot it up again only to have Calvin Allen drive and score.
The teams traded turnovers but Junior Williams hit a 3 with :24 left to give Conway White a 19-18 edge at the half.
It was 22-20 when the Hornets made a push that put them in the lead for good. It was sparked by Moody’s 3-pointer. A little later, Sahr got caught behind the backboard on the baseline but leaned out and scooped a shot in to make it 25-22.
Turner converted both ends of a one-and-one then Moody, after rebounding a Conway miss, hit the front end of a bonus chance, giving the Hornets a 28-22 advantage.
But the Cats trimmed it to 28-25 going into the fourth quarter but it took them nearly half of the fourth quarter to score again. In the meantime, Calvin Allen went 4 for 4 at the line.
With 3:51 left, Pleasant’s basket cut the lead to 31-27 but Calvin Allen scored off a steal to match the largest advantage of 6 points. Cameron King countered for the Cats and, after a turnover, Pleasant’s layup made it a 2-point game.
The Hornets worked on the clock as Conway White jumped into a trap defense. Calvin Allen’s free throws with 1:21 left made it a two-possession game, 35-31.
Williams answered with two from the stripe at 1:11.
The Hornets worked the clock, with head coach Tyler Posey using a pair of timeouts to preserve possession as players got bound up in traps.
Finally, with :26.9 showing, Turner went to the line and hit a free throw to make it a 3-point edge. A second one would’ve made it a two-possession game again but he could get the second to drop.
The Hornets dropped back and defended. Conway worked its offense but didn’t get a shot until :09 was all that was left. King’s hoop inside made it 36-35. After a timeout, Turner was fouled with :03 showing. He missed the first and had the second wiped away due to a violation.
Out of timeouts, Conway rebounded and rushed up the court only to have Travis Obannon miss a long final shot.
HORNETS 36, WAMPUS CATS 35
Score by quarters
Conway White 9 10 6 10 — 35
BRYANT 6 12 10 8 — 36
WAMPUS CATS 35
Williams 1-5 2-2 5, Pleasant 4-7 3-8 11, Obannon 2-7 0-0 4, King 2-2 0-0 4, Thomas 3-3 1-2 7, Graham 0-2 1-2 1, Maull 0-2 2-2 2, Davis 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 12-28 10-18 35.
Cal.Allen 3-7 7-10 13, Cay.Allen 0-3 0-0 0, J.Allen 3-6 0-0 6, Moody 2-7 1-4 6, Sahr 2-5 0-0 4, Turner 1-8 3-5 5, Harris 1-7 0-0 2, Handly 0-1 0-0 0, Winston 0-0 0-0 0, Ashmore 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-44 11-19 36.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 1-11 (Moody 1-1, Harris 0-4, Turner 0-2, Cay.Allen 0-2, J.Allen 0-2), Conway White 1-4 (Williams 1-2, Obannon 0-2). Rebounds: Bryant 24 (Cal.Allen 7, Sahr 6), Conway White 25 (Pleasant 8, Thomas 6). Turnovers: Bryant 8, Conway White 12. Team fouls: Bryant 16, Conway White 17. Fouled out: Conway White, Pleasant.