Hole too deep for Hornets’ rally to make up

For more photos of this event by Kevin Nagle, go here

Jalen Montgomery, right, lofts a shot over Conway Blue’s Mitchell Dunigan. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

A 7-0 run to end the first half turned the Conway Blue Wampus Cats freshman team’s 20-11 edge over the Bryant Hornets into a 27-11 lead. And, though the Hornets battled back to trim the margin to 6 with 3:12 left in the game, they could get no closer as the Cats held on for a 43-29 victory in Central Arkansas Junior High Conference play at the Bryant Middle School gym Monday night.

The Hornets started the game short-handed with a few players benched for missing a Saturday practice unexcused. But with or without them, they struggled to slow down the Cats who were led by big post player Jaylon Williams with 12 points and 17 rebounds to go with a handful of blocked shots.

Mitchell Dunigan let the Cats with 13 points and Isaiah Duncan had 10.

For the Hornets, Jalen Montgomery had 8 points with Braden Godwin, Ryan Riggs and Austin Ledbetter adding 5 points each.

Bryant fell behind 12-2 in the first quarter. Two free throws by Gavin Brunson in the final minute of the period made it 12-4.

To start the second stanza, Dunigan scored but Godwin answered with a 3 to make it 14-7. It was Bryant’s first field goal after 13 consecutive misses.

But seven points was as close as the Hornets could get in the first half. Aiden Adams’ basket made it 20-11 with just under two minutes left in the half. That’s when Conway went on its surge, punctuated by a 3 from Dunigan.

Ryan Riggs drives toward the hoop as Conway Blue’s Donavan Nooner (1) tries to get back into the play. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The Hornets came out with new life in the second half. They started playing more aggressively on both ends. Montgomery drove for a basket, hitting a floating jumper. Riggs forced a turnover and cashed it in with a drive.

After Williams scored in the post, Riggs scored and was fouled. He completed the three-point play to make it 29-18.

Another Conway turnover led to a basket by Montgomery, trimming the margin to single digits. Duncan scored in the final minute to make it 31-20 going into the fourth quarter.

Ledbetter opened the final stanza with a driving layup, answered by Duncan. Two free throws by Montgomery off a drive to the rack were followed up by Ledbetter’s 3 with 3:12 left, to make it 33-27.

Dunigan hit two free throws but Montgomery drove for a layup to make it 35-29 with 2:18 left.

But that was the last of Bryant’s scoring. Conway Blue, despite missing some free throws along the way, closed out the victory on an 8-0 run.

The loss dropped the Hornets to 4-4 overall and 1-3 in league play going into Thursday’s home battle with Little Rock Catholic.

Austin Ledbetter (22) pulls up inside of the Conway Blue defender to launch a shot. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

WAMPUS CATS 43, HORNETS 29

Freshman

Score by quarters

Conway Blue   12        15        4          12 — 43

BRYANT          4          7          9          9 — 29

WAMPUS CATS 43

Nooner 0-5 2-2 2, Duncan 5-12 0-0 10, Williams 6-11 0-1 12, Orr 2-4 0-1 4, Dunigan 3-8 6-6 13, Hardaway 1-2 0-0 2, Easly 0-0 0-0 0, Floyd 0-0 0-0 0, Garlington 0-0 0-0 0, McFadin 0-0 0-0 0, Dawes 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-43 (40%) 8-10 (80%) 43.

HORNETS 29

Riggs 2-3 1-3 5, Montgomery 3-8 2-9 8, Adams 1-4 2-3 4, Ledbetter 2-8 0-0 5, Brunson 0-4 2-2 2, Godwin 1-3 2-2 5, Schroeder 0-4 0-0 0, Walker 0-1 0-0 0, Schrader 0-0 0-0 0, Aldridge 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 9-37 (24%) 9-19 (47%) 29.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 2-8 (Ledbetter 1-3, Godwin 1-2, Schroeder 0-2, Adams 0-1), Conway Blue 1-6 (Dunigan 1-3, Nooner 0-1, Duncan 0-1, Dawes 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 15, Conway Blue 20. Rebounds: Bryant 11-13 24 (Ledbetter 3-2 5, Brunson 2-2 4, Adams 1-2 3, Montgomery 1-2 3, Schrader 1-1 2, Riggs 0-2 2, Godwin 1-0 1, Schroeder 1-0 1, Aldridge 0-1 1, team 1-1 2), Conway Blue 15-26 41 (Williams 8-9 17, Orr 0-6 6, Duncan 3-1 4, Dunigan 1-3 4, Nooner 1-1 2, Easly 0-2 2, Hardaway 1-0 1, Floyd 0-1 1, team 1-3 4). Team fouls: Bryant 11, Conway Blue 14.

Gavin Brunson looks for some room to shoot. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Braden Godwin tries to get a jumper over the defensive presence of Conway Blue’s Jayden Williams. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

 

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