Photos by Kevin Nagle
The Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team endured a most frustrating evening on Monday when they opened Central Arkansas Junior High Conference play against the rival Benton Lady Panthers.
Playing a deliberate style, the Lady Panthers worked the ball on offense, shortening the game and limiting the Lady Hornets’ opportunities. It took a while for Bryant to adjust — so long in fact that they were unable to score in the first half. They were only able to attempt two shots in the first quarter.
Benton didn’t do much better, going 0 for 3 from the field in the first stanze but managed three free throws to take a 3-0 lead. It was 12-0 at the half, close enough for the Lady Hornets to get things going in the second half and give themselves a chance at a victory.
But Benton held off the Bryant rally and, by hitting all eight of their free throws in the fourth quarter, the Lady Panthers finished with a 31-18 victory.
In fact, Benton was 15 of 18 from the line in the game. Bryant finished 6 of 10, all in the second half.
It was actually 14-0 before the Lady Hornets knocked the lid off the basket. Rachel Studdard scored off a feed from Mary Catherine Selig with 4:06 left in the third quarter to get Bryant on the board.
Kalia Walker, who wound up leading the Lady Hornets with 8 points, cut the margin to 14-4 then drilled a 3 to whittle the margin further.
Benton’s Tamia Halk converted a free throw with :34 left in the period but Meagan Chism answered with a free throw and when Megan Lee grabbed the carom off the missed second shot, she was fouled as well. She converted one of her free throws and it was 15-9 going into the fourth quarter.
And when Chism drove for a layup off a steal to open the final period, the Lady Hornets had battled back to within 4 points.
That, however, was as close as they could get. A drive by Kate Murrow ended Benton’s field-goal drought of over six minutes.
It was 21-11 before Bryant scored again. Alyssa Fason hit two free throws with 2:30 left. Following two free throws by Benton, Walker drilled another 3 to make it 23-16.
But the Lady Hornets were only able to add two free throws by Chism with :53.5 left to their total as the Lady Panthers increased the spread to the final margin.
Bryant travels to Cabot White on Thursday, hoping to duplicate a 33-17 win over the Lady Panthers that they posted on Nov. 23.