After rallying from 9 down going into the fourth quarter, the Bryant Hornets had a shot to win in the final seconds of regulation and an offensive-rebound basket by John Winston at the buzzer appeared to have made them winners over the tough North Little Rock Junior Charging Wildcats Thursday night.
But the basket was ruled too late and waved off. The teams went to overtime and North Little Rock, with a pair of free throws in the final 30 seconds, escaped with a 45-44 win.
The gut-wrenching loss made the Hornets 6-3 on the season.
Even after North Little Rock took the overtime lead at the line, Bryant had a couple of shots at winning it but the shots refused to fall.
Even after viewing the game film, Hornets coach Tyler Posey thought Winston’s shot was before time ran out. Even then, however, his team had a lead in the final minute of overtime and a shot to win at the end of the extra period.
“We knew going into this game, it was going to be a tough one,” stated Hornets coach Tyler Posey. “I give credit to North Little Rock. They were really aggressive attacking the glass and really came down with so many offensive rebounds and put-backs. They are a really talented group and it made for one of the betters games of the year.”
The Junior Wildcats held a 10-8 edge at the end of the first quarter. It was 22-15 at the half and 31-22 going into the fourth quarter. Regulation play ended with the teams even 40-40 as the Hornets nearly doubled their point total in the final period.
“I felt like we were not as aggressive as they were for about three quarters,” Posey related. “During the last quarter, I felt like we showed a sense of urgency that needs to be shown throughout the game.”
With the game tied, the Hornets got the ball with :06.7 showing. Point guard Calvin Allen brought the ball the length of the floor and got a shot off from the free-throw line. It rimmed out to Winston.
“I fell like we finally played with the intensity and focus we need to win in that fourth quarter,” Posey said. “When we can put a good four quarters together, I think we will be really tough.”
Caylin Allen led Bryant with a season-hig 15 points. Calvin Allen finished with 11 and Winston had 7. Kaleb Turner, Marvin Moody and Jonathan Allen finished with 3 each and Hunter Handly pitched in with 2.
The Hornets and Wildcats will play again, as a Central Arkansas Junior High Conference game, at North Little Rock on Feb. 6. In the meantime, Bryant finishes up its pre-Christmas schedule at home against Little Rock Catholic on Monday.