Photos by Kevin Nagle
It took awhile for Romen Martin to find the range Friday night. He was scoreless at the end of the first quarter despite taking six shots. But a shooter keeps on shooting and that’s what Martin did.
And, as part of a 34-point outburst by the Bryant Hornets in the second quarter, the junior three-year starter gunned in 21 including a trio of 3’s. The Hornets piled up a 43-24 lead by halftime after they trailed 11-9 going into the second stanza, and cruised through the second half on the way to a 76-58 win over the Greenwood Bulldogs in the 7A/6A-Central Conference opener for both teams.
Martin finished with 25 points and nine rebounds. Calvin Allen and Marvin Moody added 12 points each. Senior Kevin Hunt, who spent most of the first half on the bench in foul trouble added 7 points in the second half.
Despite the comfortable win, the fact that the Hornets did indeed “cruise” through parts of the second half had head coach Mike Abrahamson none too pleased as he contemplated the rest of the conference season including a crucial game at Little Rock Catholic on Tuesday.
“We didn’t have the mindset to put them away, defensively,” the coach said. “I can deal with missed shots but I have a problem letting up defensively like we did in the third quarter.”
After holding the Bulldogs to 24 points at the half, the Hornets gave up 20 to the visitors in the third quarter alone. Guard Alec Armstrong started attacking the Bryant defense and wound up scoring 15 of his team-high 17 points after intermission.
Dustin Lunsford scored 14 for Greenwood and Luke Hales had 10. Blaise Loman scored 7 points and hauled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
Bryant forced 25 turnovers and out-boarded the Bulldogs 46-40 overall but the Hornets also sent them to the free-throw line 38 times. Greenwood only converted 20, however.
Bryant was 19 of 27 from the line including Martin’s 12-for-12 performance, all in the second quarter.
Actually, all of the Hornets struggled to find the mark in the first quarter. They got after it enough to attempt 20 shots but made just four including two by Lowell Washington. The second of those baskets came at the buzzer on an inbounds play under the basket. Calvin Allen provided the opportunity by forcing a Greenwood turnover then getting the assist.
Martin’s first points were a pair of free throws to open the second-quarter scoring. After a Greenwood turnover, Allen fed Moody for a layup and the Hornets had the lead.
It was 17-13 with 5:52 left in the half. Loman scored on consecutive trips as the Bulldogs tied it. That’s when the Hornets got hot. A kick-out pass from Braylon Steen to Martin resulted in the sharp-shooter’s first triple of the game. Martin followed up with a steal and, on his drive to the basket, he was fouled roughly into the pad beyond the endline on the south side of the Hornets gym.
The Bulldogs’ Devin Gilbert was called for a flagrant foul so Martin got two free throws and the ball. Washington made a move to the bucket but was called for charging. Steen followed with a steal but was also cited for a charge.
Greenwood’s Chase Sanders interrupted with a bucket at the 4:02 mark but two more free throws for Martin, a steal by Moody and another pair of charity tosses by Martin extended the margin to 26-19.
Steen blocked a shot at the other end. That led to a 3-pointer for Detavious Moore that pushed the margin to 10.
After a timeout, Lunsford was fouled and converted twice at the line but Martin trumped that with his second trey. Armstrong countered with a free throw only to have Kaleb Turner drive for a layup. Calvin Allen made a steal and got to the line to make it 35-22.
Loman scored on a drive with 1:18 left in the half but that was Greenwood’s final scoring of the half. Martin converted two more free throws, Deron Canada added one after taking a feed from Martin and, with :20 left, Martin drained his third 3 of the quarter to make it 41-24.
Martin made a steal and wound up at the line again at the :08.5 mark and the Hornets led by 19 at the break.
Hunt returned in the third quarter and fed Washington for the first hoop. The Hornets surged to a 60-34 lead by the 3:40 mark of the quarter then things started to get a little loose. Still, the closest the Bulldogs could get was 17. Allen capped off the quarter with his second 3 and the Hornets led 64-44 going into the final eight minutes.
A 23-point lead was the high-water mark for Bryant in the fourth. Martin had two more baskets. Calvin Allen, Moody and Steen also had buckets but the Hornets didn’t slow down Armstrong and Lunsford down the stretch. Still, the Bulldogs never whittled the lead to less than the final 18-point difference.
HORNETS 76, BULLDOGS 58
Score by quarters
Greenwood 11 13 20 14 — 58
BRYANT 9 34 21 12 — 76
BULLDOGS (3-9) 58
Armstrong 6-10 5-12 17, Harmon 1-4 1-6 4, Loman 2-7 3-5 7, Hales 3-6 3-4 10, Lunsford 3-9 8-10 14, Sanders 2-4 0-0 4, Gilbert 1-2 0-1 2, Panis 0-2 0-0 0, Loveday 0-0 0-0 0, Stewart 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-44 (41%) 20-38 (53%) 58.
HORNETS (11-3) 76
C.Allen 4-8 2-4 12, Hunt 2-13 2-3 7, Moody 5-8 2-5 12, Washington 3-8 0-1 6, Martin 5-18 12-12 25, Moore 2-6 0-0 5, Steen 3-5 0-0 6, Cowart 0-0 0-0 0, Turner 1-2 0-0 2, Sahr 0-0 0-0 0, R.Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Canada 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 25-69 (36%) 19-27 (70%) 76.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 7-26 (Martin 3-12, C.Allen 2-5, Hunt 1-5, Moore 1-3, Turner 0-1), Greenwood 2-9 (Hales 1-4, Harmon 1-1, Lunsford 0-3, Loman 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 15, Greenwood 25. Rebounds: Bryant 18-28 46 (Washington 4-5 9, Martin 4-5 9, Hunt 2-5 7, Steen 1-6 7, Moody 3-2 5, Moore 1-2 3, C.Allen 0-1 1, Cowart 1-0 1, Sahr 0-1 1, Canada 1-0 1, team 1-1 2), Greenwood 8-32 40 (Loman 4-7 11, Lunsford 1-6 7, Armstrong 1-5 6, Harmon 1-3 4, Hales 0-4 4, Gilbert 0-4 4, Sanders 1-2 3, team 0-1 1). Team fouls: Bryant 28, Greenwood 17. Technical foul: Bryant, Coach Abrahamson.