Photos by Kevin Nagle
NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant Hornets freshman team had a good strategy to take advantage of the extremely aggressive defense of the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats Thursday night at Lakewood Junior High. Using backdoor cuts and off-the-ball screens, the Hornets burned the Cats and forged an 11-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But the deep, quick and physical Cats began to trap Bryant’s ball-handlers in the second quarter, making it tougher to get those passes away. It got very rough but only 21 fouls were called in the game, 11 of them on North Little Rock.
The result was a 23-1 run that put North Little Rock on the road to a 58-25 victory as the Cats retained a share of the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference lead.
Twelve of the 14 players that North Little Rock contributed to the scoring led by David Chappel who scored 18 points including 13 during the second quarter blitz, 9 on three 3-pointers.
Luke Curtis led Bryant with 10 points. Jake Forst had 5. Sam Chumley and Brooks Ellis scored 3 each with Brandon Murray and Malcolm Moody scored 2 apiece.
North Little Rock scored the first 4 points of the game but Chumley fed Curtis for a layup and, after a Cats’ turnover, Curtis hit a jump hook to tie it 4-4.
Forst hit two free throws to tie it at 6. North Little Rock snapped the tie again and, after grabbing on offensive rebound, Curtis added a free throw to make it 8-7.
It was 10-7 and the Cats had a chance to increase the margin but Ellis stole a pass and, at the other end, Chumley dished to Murray for a layup and it was 10-9 going into the final minute of the first quarter.
Both teams had two chances to change that score before Curtis drove for a layup with :23 left to put the Hornets on top. North Little Rock missed a 3 at the buzzer.
But that hoop by Curtis wound up being the last Bryant field goal until Chumley hit a 3 with 2:40 left in the third quarter. Free throws by Curtis and Forst were all the Hornets could manage in the second quarter as North Little Rock built a 33-14 halftime lead.
The Cats then opened up the second half with a 14-1 surge interrupted only by a free throw by Forst. So it was 47-15 before Chumley ended the Hornets’ dry spell.
It was 55-20 going into the fourth quarter, the largest lead of the game.
Next Thursday, the Hornets begin a series of games against teams they are in contention with for placement in the CAJHC post-season tournament. They host Conway Blue.