December 5 in Bryant athletic history: 2009

Hornets come out on top in four-overtime war with Wynne

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

By Rob Patrick

SEARCY — This was no small thing:

Sure, it was just the third game of the season and it was only for the third-place trophy at the Searcy Bank Classic, but the Bryant Hornets found a way on Saturday, Dec. 5. That, in itself, would be good news, of course, but the fact that they beat the Wynne Yellowjackets, 55-49, and they persevered through four overtimes to get it done . . . well, here’s what head coach Ron Marvel said about it:

“A game like tonight could make your season for you. Our kids, they grew up a lot. You know, they made mistakes that cost them the game about three times but they bounced back every time. Each overtime, we had a chance to win the game and we didn’t. Finally, we realized, it’s time to put this thing away.”[more]

For much of the late afternoon and evening it took to play the game, Marvel and assistant Jim Pennington were urging the Hornets to “go to the hole” against the variety of defenses the Yellowjackets showed them. Particularly in overtime when the Hornets were in the double bonus, senior forward Dontay Renuard was urged to do so after settling for jumpers.

Finally, with the game tied at 44 with less than three minutes left in the fourth extra period, Renuard pump-faked and attacked the rack. He not only scored but he was fouled. Though he missed the free throw, the Hornets had a lead for good. After the Hornets forced a Wynne turnover, point guard K Ron Lairy converted a pair of free throws to make it 48-44.

It appeared that Bryant had forced another turnover but Wynne was awarded the ball out of bounds.

Grant Smith drove from the right wing and was fouled by Renuard, who fouled out on the play. Smith converted both free throws to cut the lead to 48-46 with 2:08 left.

Now instructing his players to no longer attack the basket but to work it and the clock, Marvel inserted Connor Rayburn for Renuard. It was the first time Rayburn had been on the floor in the game and, as might be expected, Wynne chose to foul him with 1:42 to play.

And the senior guard stepped up to the line and knocked down a crucial free throw in two tries to make it a 3-point game.

At the other end, another reserve, sophomore Quinton Motto got set in front of a drive by Wynne’s Eric Davis and took a charge that gave Bryant a chance to extend the margin.

But, with 1:10 left, the Yellowjackets forced a turnover. After a timeout, however, Lairy made a steal and was fouled. With :47.5 left, he converted one of his free throws to make it a two-possession game at 50-46.

Lairy, who finished with a game-high 21 points, wound up converting 8 of 10 free throws in that fourth overtime as the Hornets nailed down the victory.

A 3-pointer by freshman Keenan Halk, his third of the game, cut Bryant’s margin to 50-49 with :33 left. After a timeout, however, the Jackets were forced to foul Lairy who, this time, converted just once.

With a chance to tie or take the lead, Wynne turned to Halk again for the lead only to have his 3 rim out. Bryant’s Kendall Butzlaff snatched the rebound and got the ball ahead to Lairy who was fouled with :09.1 to go. He converted both shots this time and, after another Wynne miss, iced the game with two more.

“We beat an excellent ball team,” Marvel asserted. “I mean they’re an outstanding team and we’ll hear a lot more about them during the year. They’re one of the better teams in the State.

“But I was so proud of our kids tonight,” he added. “We stepped up. Coach Pennington had a great defensive plan. His defense, the triangle-and-two is what we played against these guys. (Wynne) had two outstanding scorers and they weren’t the two that were hurting us.”

The triangle-and-two means that three players, in a triangle around the lane were playing zone while two others played the Jackets’ top scorers, muscular forward Jordan Weaver and gunner Jake Veazley, man-to-man. Weaver was shadowed by Brandon Parish, who gave up a few inches and a few pounds to the Wynne star; Veazley was tracked by Lairy.

Neither got a breather during the 48-minute game yet they held the duo to a combined 11 points. Weaver was 1 of 12 from the field and finished with just 4 points.

“They held them in check all night,” Marvel acknowledged. “They kept them frustrated the whole game.

“I just can’t say enough good things about our kids tonight,” he emphasized. “I’m so proud of them.”

Actually, Parish and Lairy got a little rest along the way, courtesy of Wynne head coach Bobby Gross. In the first two overtimes, Bryant won the jump ball to start but could not hit a shot. In the first extra period, Wynne gained possession with just over 3:00 to play and held it, trying to get Bryant to come out of its triangle-and-two defense. But the Hornets stayed back and the clock ran down to less than a minute with everyone just standing in place.

At that point, rather than have Yellowjackets dictate to them when they’d make a move, the Hornets jumped out into a half-court trap to force the action. Wynne suddenly had to work to retain possession until, with :12.5 left, Gross called a timeout to set up a play. When play resumed, Smith drove into the lane but missed a running jumper under duress. Veazley tracked down the carom and threw up a wild desperation shot to no avail and the second overtime was on.

And, again, Bryant got the opening tip. Renuard got a look from 3-point range in the corner but the shot refused to go down and the Yellowjackets held the ball again. So, that gave everybody another rest.

And once more, the Hornets waited until about a minute was left before getting into the half-court trap again. The Yellowjackets got the ball to Weaver but Lairy and Hampton converged as he got past Parish and Lairy slapped the ball away.

Marvel called timeout with :27.8 to go and again at :14.5 to set up a final shot. Renuard got the ball on the baseline but, rather than attack, pulled up for a jumper that rimmed out, sending the game to the third extra period.

Both teams had chances to score in the opening stages but Bryant was able to take the lead on its second possession. Butzlaff got the ball at the high post, drew the defense and saw Renuard flash toward the basket up the baseline. Butzlaff fed him for a layup and a 37-35 lead.

Momenst later, Parish drained a 3 and it looked like the Hornets might be on their way at that point, leading by 5 with 2:14 left. But Davis hit a pair of free throws and, after Lairy converted once at the line, Smith drove to the hoop.

Bryant’s K.J. Hampton, whom Pennington had exhorted to try to take a charge much of the evening after he’d picked up four fouls trying to block shots, set up in the lane this time and hit the floor in front of Smith only to be cited for a blocking foul, his fifth of the game.

Smith’s three-point play cut Bryant’s lead to 41-40. The Hornets turned the ball over against the Wynne press but Smith couldn’t get a 3 to go (he was 0 for 7 from beyond the arc in the game). The Hornets worked the ball around before Butzlaff was fouled with :46 left. He converted once to make it a 2-point game. Smith missed another shot but the ball was awarded to Wynne out of bounds with :26.6 showing. On the inbounds play, freshman Joseph Stampley hit a jumper from the baseline for his only basket of the game, tying it at 42.

Bryant worked the clock down to :10.7, took a timeout and set up a clear-out for Lairy down the right side of the lane. He got a shot away from about 8 feet but it refused to fall and the fourth overtime commenced.

The game was tight throughout. After Bryant scored the game’s first 5 points (on a 3 by Lairy and a driving jumper on the baseline by Parish), Wynne went on a 10-2 run to gain the upper hand. The Jackets’ largest lead was 5, initially at 15-10 when Halk hit his first 3.

A three-point play by L.J. McLaughlin answered for Bryant but the Jackets led 20-15 at the half.

Bryant started the second half with a 6-0 run. It took Wynne more than half the third quarter to score again. Lairy scored off a drive, Butzlaff hit a short jumper off a nice inbounds play and, Renuard, after grabbing an offensive rebound, hit two free throws to give Bryant a 21-20 lead.

But then the Hornets went nearly three minutes without scoring and a couple of baskets by Davis had Wynne back on top 24-21. But Renuard canned a triple in the final minute of the period to tie the game.

Parish knocked down another trey to start the fourth. Later, a three-point play by Lairy had the Hornets up 32-28. With the defense continuing to frustrate the Yellowjackets, Bryant maintained the advantage with the help of free throws by McLaughlin and Renuard.

With 1:10 left, however, Veazley hit the offensive boards for a bucket and, after the Jackets forced a five-second call with their press, Davis drove for a hoop that tied it at 35.

The Hornets got a chance to win it at the end of regulation but Lairy’s 3-point try rattled off the iron sending the game to overtime.

Now 2-1, the Hornets travel to Lake Hamilton on Tuesday, Dec. 8 before beginning play in a tournament at Russellville on Thursday.

BRYANT 55, WYNNE 49, 4 OTs

Score by quarters

Wynne 8 12 4 11 0 0 7 7 — 49

BRYANT 6 9 9 11 0 0 7 13 — 55


Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts


Smith 4-16 3-4 1-0 1 5 11

Veazley 3-6 0-0 2-1 3 3 7

Neal 1-5 1-2 4-2 6 1 3

Weaver 1-12 2-4 4-4 8 4 4

Davis 3-8 5-8 0-5 5 4 11

Gordon 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 2

Halk 3-9 0-0 1-1 2 5 9

Purnell 0-0 0-0 0-2 2 0 0

Riley 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Stampley 1-3 0-0 1-0 1 5 2

Team 2-4 6

Totals 17-60 11-20 15-17 32 30 49


Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts


Lairy 4-16 12-15 0-5 5 1 21

Parish 3-7 0-0 2-2 4 4 8

Hampton 0-3 1-3 2-4 6 5 1

Renuard 3-10 4-4 1-5 6 5 11

Butzlaff 2-3 1-4 4-3 7 4 5

McLaughlin 2-4 4-5 2-2 4 0 8

Motto 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 0 0

Rayburn 0-0 1-2 0-0 0 0 1

Garner 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Team 2-4 6

Totals 14-43 23-33 13-26 39 19 55

Three-point field goals: Bryant 4-18 (Parish 2-5, Lairy 1-6, Renuard 1-6, McLaughlin 0-1), Wynne 4-21 (Halk 3-8, Veazley 1-4, Smith 0-7, Weaver 0-2). Rebounds: Bryant 39 (Butzlaff 7, Hampton, Renuard 6), Wynne 32 (Weaver 8). Turnovers: Bryant 21, Wynne 15. Team fouls: Bryant 19, Wynne 30.

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