PEARCY — The Bryant Lady Hornets did a pretty good job of defending against the 3-point-loving Greenwood Lady Bulldogs on Thursday night at the Lake Hamilton Classic. The Lady Bulldogs connected on just 5 of 29 from the arc, well below their average output.
But there’s no defense for free throws. Greenwood hit 14 of 20 at the charity stripe including 11 of 12 in the fourth quarter as they held off the Lady Hornets, 45-40.
Bryant had rallied to take a lead early in the final stanza. A 6-0 run that could’ve been greater had the free-throws fallen for the Lady Hornets, turned a 29-24 deficit into a 30-29 lead. The game was tied at 33 then, with 1:09 left to play a 3-point basket by Kalia Walker had Bryant within 39-38. With :31 left, a jumper in the lane by Celena Martin had the Lady Hornets back within 1, 41-40.
But free throws by Kinley Fisher and Angela Price allowed Greenwood to hang on.
“They’re a really talented team,” said Bryant coach Brad Matthews of the Lady Bulldogs. “That’s a State runner-up with everybody back.
“I’m proud of our kids,” he asserted. “We competed. Defensively, we were good tonight. We rebounded better. Compared with where we were in the benefit game against Maumelle, our rebounding the last two nights has been much improved. We’ve got to still work on that.”
The Lady Hornets out-rebounded the Lady Bulldogs, 41-32, with Martin leading the way with 11 and Allison Steen claiming seven. Only eight of Greenwood’s boards came at the offensive end.
While strong free-throw shooting, particularly down the stretch, helped Greenwood, poor free-throw shooting hampered the Lady Hornets. Bryant was in the bonus early in the second half and got to the double bonus early in the fourth quarter when, at that point, Greenwood had committed 10 fouls to Bryant’s 2.
But the Lady Hornets converted just 8 of 19 from the line, just 4 of 9 in that fourth stanza.
In the first half, turnovers, mostly against Greenwood’s aggressive three-quarter court trap, frustrated Bryant. At the break, the Lady Hornets had 21 turnovers and trailed 22-15 despite holding Greenwood to 3 of 15 from the 3-point arc.
“They are such great 3-point shooters,” Matthews noted. “I thought, for the most part, we limited their rhythm 3’s. Once you don’t get some rhythm 3’s, they get a little out of rhythm and maybe their shooting percentage is not going to be as good as it usually is.
“That was our plan coming in,” he added. “You’ve got to run them off the line then don’t give them second shots. For the most part, we did a pretty good job of that.
“We had some turnovers in the first half that limited our offense,” the coach acknowledged. “When you turn it over, you just can’t get into a rhythm.
“The second half, we limited our turnovers, attacked much better,” he said. “Obviously, we were in the bonus early, but we really didn’t take advantage of that at the level we should have. They made some free throws and just, as a group, we didn’t make enough.”
Greenwood led just 5-2 at the first break after Bryant’s Robyn Gordon had scored the first bucket of the game.
The lead grew the 7 in the second quarter, but McKenzie Muse scored as she was fouled. Though she missed the free throw, Martin grabbed the carom and Walker hit a 12-footer to make it 11-8.
Ally Sockey hit a 3 for Greenwood but a drive by Tierra Trotter and a free throw by Muse had the margin back to 3 with 2:14 to go.
India Atkins had two baskets around a 3 by Fisher, who wound up leading all scorers with 13 points, kept Bryant close before a free throw by Harley Terry and a late basket by Sockey increased the margin to 7.
Gordon hit a free throw, Trotter hit a layup off a feed by Muse, who had made a steal, and two free throws by Atkins whittled the lead to 22-20 midway through the third quarter.
But Greenwood maintained the upper hand and led 27-24 going into the fourth.
Fisher hit the first basket of the final period but then Steen scored off the offensive glass and Martin hit a free throw. Off another offensive rebound by Steen, Walker hit the 3 that put the Lady Hornets ahead.
Steen blocked Price’s 3-point try, and Martin was fouled with 5:41 to go. But she missed the front end and the opportunity to extend the margin. Moments later, Price canned a 3 to put Greenwood back on top.
Steen hit a free throw to cut it to 1. After Shea Goodwin hit one from the line, Steen knocked down two at the stripe to tie it, 33-33.
Steen blocked another shot and the Lady Hornets headed the other way only to turn the ball over, one of just nine in the second half.
With 3:41 to go, Price converted twice at the line. Bryant had a chance to answer but missed twice. Two more free throws for Greenwood, this time by Haven Clements pushed the lead to 4. Bryant missed twice at the other end and the Lady Bulldogs spread the floor to run clock and to try to get the Lady Hornets out of their match-up zone.
After the timeout, the Lady Hornets jumped into a man-to-man and forced a 5-second call. Muse knocked down a 15-foot jumper with 1:30 left.
Jaelin Glass answered for Greenwood with a layup before Walker’s second triple had Bryant within a point.
Atkins and Walker each finished with 8 points to lead the Lady Hornets. Muse finished with 7. Martin and Steen had 5 each.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” state Matthews. “The second game of the year, really something to build on. We’re getting better.
“We have a tough game Saturday against a very well-coached Kirby team,” he noted. “Kirby’s used to making deep runs in the State tournament and winning State championships.”
That game, which wraps up the Lake Hamilton event, will start at noon.
LADY BULLDOGS 45, LADY HORNETS 40
Score by quarters
BRYANT 2 13 9 16 — 40
Greenwood 5 17 5 18 — 45
LADY HORNETS 40
T.Trotter 2-8 0-0 4, Atkins 3-6 2-4 8, Martin 2-4 1-5 5, Gordon 1-1 1-2 3, Muse 3-5 1-3 7, Steen 1-3 3-5 5, Walker 3-11 0-0 8, Taylor 0-3 0-0 0, Russ 0-0 0-0 0, S.Trotter 0-1 0-0 0. Totals15-42 (35%) 8-19 (42%) 40.
LADY BULLDOGS 45
Terry 1-4 1-2 3, Price 1-7 2-2 5, Julian 2-5 0-0 4, Glass 3-7 0-0 6, Fisher 3-13 4-6 13, Goodwin 0-5 3-4 3, Clements 0-4 2-4 2, Sockey 3-7 0-0 7, Stein 0-1 2-2 2, Rozell 0-1 0-0 0. Totals13-54 (24%) 14-20 (70%) 45.
Three-point field goals:Bryant 2-10 (Walker 2-5, Muse 0-2, T.Trotter 0-1, Taylor 0-1, S.Trotter 0-1), Greenwood 5-29 (Fisher 3-9, Price 1-5, Sockey 1-3, Goodwin 0-3, Julian 0-2, Glass 0-2, Clements 0-2, Terry 0-1, Stein 0-1, Rozell 0-1). Turnovers:Bryant 30, Greenwood 19. Rebounds:Bryant 9-32 41 (Martin 2-9 11, Steen 3-6 9, Muse 1-6 7, Gordon 0-3 3, Walker 0-3 3, T.Trotter 0-2 2, Atkins 1-0 1, Russ 1-0 1, team 1-3 4), Greenwood 8-24 32 (Price 1-5 6, Fisher 1-4 5, Clements 2-3 5, Sockey 0-4 4, Terry 2-1 3, Julian 1-2 3, Glass 0-3 3, Goodwin 0-1 1, Stein 1-0 1, team 0-1 1). Team fouls:Bryant 18, Greenwood 19.