Freshman Hornets steal away comeback win at Catholic

Photos by Kevin Nagle

Garrett Cowart launches one of the pair of 3-pointers he hit in Monday's game. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Garrett Cowart launches one of the pair of 3-pointers he hit in Monday’s game. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant Hornets freshman team didn’t hold a lead against the Little Rock Catholic Rockets freshmen Monday night until the 2:14 mark of the fourth quarter.

The Rockets had slowed the Hornets with a tight zone defense and, at the other end, took advantage of Bryant aggressiveness with back-door cuts and drives to the basket.

But the Hornets rallied late to escape the Rockets’ gym with a 37-35 victory in Central Arkansas Junior High Conference play. They improved to 15-7 overall and 5-2 in the league going into their regular-season finale against Conway Blue on Thursday.

The CAJHC post-season tournament is set to begin in Conway on Monday, Feb. 17.

Asked what finally got his team going, Hornets coach Tyler Posey said, “I’m not sure that we ever really got going, to be honest. Maybe a little change in the press got us energized. We got one steal early in the fourth quarter and that may have gotten us energized. But it just seemed like we never really were into the game and ready to play.

“We had opportunities in the first half,” he mentioned. “I don’t think we capitalized because I don’t think we played that hard. I’m not sure what it was, the long weekend, not being able to practice because of the snow. We were just not ready to go play basketball.

“But I’ll take a win any single day,” the coach asserted. “Coming off a rough first half and starting off a rough third quarter, coming back to get a win, I’ll take that all day.”

Jonathan Allen and Calvin Allen each scored 8 points to lead Bryant. Marvin Moody and Garrett Cowart hit for 6 apiece with Brandon Harris adding 5 and Kaleb Turner 4.

Landon Kays puts up a shot over Catholic's Jack Mathis (55). (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Landon Kays puts up a shot over Catholic’s Jack Mathis (55). (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Catholic was led by post Jack Mathis with 13. Hayden Ford had 7, Josh Neuman 6, Duncan Diaz 4, Thompson Olaimey 2 and Conner Breau 1.

Jonathan Allen scored 6 quick points at the start of the fourth quarter the help Bryant get going. Taking advantage of a hole in the Catholic zone at the free-throw line, he drained a jumper from the elbow to start the period, cutting the lead to 25-22.

Ford, however, countered with a 3 to give the Rockets their largest lead since it was 18-10 late in the second quarter.

Jonathan Allen was fouled with 4:51 left and knocked down both free throws. The Hornets jumped into its press and Jonathan Allen made a steal and a layup to trim the lead to 28-26.

Another Rockets’ turnover led to an 18-foot jumper by Turner that tied the game.

Neuman and Turner traded baskets and, with 2:30 to go, Diaz was fouled. He snapped the 30-30 deadlock with his first free throw. His second missed but Mathis rebounded and got it back to him. Diaz’ subsequent shot rolled off the rim and the Hornets headed the other way.

Off an inbounds play at the other end, Harris got free in the corner for a 3-pointer and Bryant had its first lead, 33-31. Turner followed up with a steal but couldn’t get his shot to go. After a held ball was awarded to Catholic, Neuman scored off an inbounds play and it was knotted up again with 1:45 to go.

Kyle Sahr, left, prevents a shot by Catholic's Duncan Diaz. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Kyle Sahr, left, prevents a shot by Catholic’s Duncan Diaz. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Both teams had chances to break the tie. Jonathan Allen couldn’t get a shot to go but the Rockets turned it over. Bryant returned the favor and Catholic called a timeout to try to set up a go-ahead score.

When play resumed, Harris swiped the ball but, on his way to the basket, was called for a charge with :59.2 to go. But Calvin Allen then swiped a pass and fed Harris for a layup that put the Hornets back on top.

And this time, it was for good.

The Rockets appeared to be on the way for a tying bucket as Mathis got behind the press but Moody hustled back and swiped the ball from behind.

With just two team fouls to that point, the Rockets had to start fouling and it took until the :24.2 mark to get someone to the line. Turner’s shots, however, refused to fall. The carom off the second shot headed toward the corner with players from both teams in pursuit. Jonathan Allen got their first and, just before going out of bounds, leapt and threw back in to Moody, who was fouled with :20.1 on the clock.

By draining both shots, he gave the Hornets some breathing room. But, with :14 left, Mathis drove for a basket to make it 37-35.

Harris was fouled with :11.4 showing but the front end of the one-and-one was just off. With a chance to score and tie or take the lead, the Rockets rushed up court only to have Calvin Allen make yet another steal. He got the ball to Harris, who got it to Moody as the Rockets chased, trying to foul. They got to Moody but there was less than a second left on the clock.

Jonathan Allen (32) battles for a rebound. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Jonathan Allen (32) battles for a rebound. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Though he missed the front end, the Rockets didn’t have enough time to get a decent shot and the Hornets held on for the win.

Early on, the game was tied at 2, 4, and 7. The latter came on a 3-pointer by Cowart. But the Rockets responded with a 10-1 surge, which produced a 17-8 lead going into the final three minutes of the half.

Calvin Allen hit a free throw for the only point for Bryant in that stretch. Jonathan Allen then ended the dryspell with a 12-foot jumper at the 2:42 mark. The Hornets then forced turnovers on three consecutive Rockets possessions but could not take advantage. Breau hit a free throw with :17.5 to go to make it 18-10. Bryant then got a lift when Calvin Allen drove, scored and was fouled with :02.9 showing. He completed the three-point play to make it a 5-point game going into the second half.

A jumper in the lane by Moody was followed by a basket by Mathis. When Cowart canned his second triple with 3:32 left, however, the Hornets were back within 2.

But they could get no closer as Catholic pushed the lead back to 25-20 going into the final period.


Score by quarters

BRYANT          7          6          7          17 — 37

Catholic          11       7          7          10 — 35


Cal.Allen 3-4 2-3 8, Cowart 2-4 0-0 6, Harris 2-4 0-1 5, Moody 2-2 2-3 6, Ashmore 0-0 0-0 0, Cay.Allen 0-2 0-0 0, Kays 0-1 0-0 0, J.Allen 3-5 2-2 8, Turner 2-6 0-2 4, Sahr 0-2 0-0 0, McIntosh 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-31 6-11 37.


Breau 0-2 1-2 1, Enderlin 0-1 0-0 0, Diaz 1-4 2-6 4, Hineman 1-2 0-2 2, Mathis 5-7 3-4 13, Ford 3-4 0-0 7, Olaimey 1-6 0-0 2, Neuman 3-8 0-0 6. Totals 14-34 6-14 35.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 3-10 (Cowart 2-3, Harris 1-2, Cay.Allen 0-2, Turner 0-2, McIntosh 0-1). Rebounds: Bryant 17 (Moody 5, Kays 3), Catholic 26 (Diaz, Neuman 6). Turnovers: Bryant 15, Catholic 18. Team fouls: Bryant 15, Catholic 13.

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