January 22 in Bryant athletic history: 2014

Hornets ride 17-2 start to third straight league win

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, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

Photos by Kevin Nagle

SHERIDAN — After back-to-back one-point wins at home, the Bryant Hornets kept the positive momentum going Tuesday night with a convincing 54-36 win over the Sheridan Yellowjackets.

The lone Sheridan lead was 2-0 on a basket by 6-7 Austen Theiss who would go on to score 22 points in the game. Before the Jackets could score again, Bryant had reeled off 17 points to establish the advantage that remained in double figures the rest of the game.

Cedarrian Crosby gets inside position on Sheridan's 6-7 post Austen Theiss as C.J. Rainey trails the play. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Cedarrian Crosby gets inside position on Sheridan’s 6-7 post Austen Theiss as C.J. Rainey trails the play. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

C.J. Rainey led the Hornets with 21 points, Greyson Giles had 11, Romen Martin 7, Cedarrian Crosby 6, Kevin Hunt 5 with Wesley Peters and Rickey Buchanan pitching in with a bucket apiece.

For Sheridan, no one other than Theiss made it into double digits. Dylan Morris finished with 6 and Chris Whitman 5.

“I’m really proud of our defense,” stated Hornets coach Mike Abrahamson. “We had our rebounding at plus-six. I would’ve liked to have seen us do a little bit better job there. They’re just so big though.

“(Theiss) had a great game for them,” he noted. “We’re lucky no one else did but we made that happen. Give our guys credit. They made that happen. The guys really bought into the game plan and executed it well. We were very aggressive and reactive on offense.”

Martin started the Hornets’ opening salvo started with a 3-pointer off a kickout from Giles. When Rainey followed up with a 3 the momentum started building. Martin hauled down a Sheridan miss and went the other way. He was fouled and went to the line to make it 8-2.

A Sheridan timeout did little to slow the Hornets down. Rainey drove into the lane and canned a pull-up jumper over Theiss and, in the final minute of the quarter, added a 15-footer after a Sheridan turnover. The Jackets turned it over again and Rainey misfired but was able to scramble after the rebound and flip to Peters in front of the basket. He got his shot over Theiss to give the Hornets a 14-2 lead going into the second quarter.

Frustrated with his starting five, Sheridan head coach Joe Scott sent out a new quintet to start the second quarter. Martin made a steal and a layup then Hunt hit a free throw after being fouled on his drive to the hoop, completing the 17-0 burst.

Greyson Giles (1) gets to the basket as Sheridan's Chris Whitman fouls him. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Greyson Giles (1) gets to the basket as Sheridan’s Chris Whitman fouls him. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

With the starters back, Sheridan’s Jessie Feathers drove for a basket to end a drought that had lasted for more than a quarter.

Morris followed up but Giles hit a free throw then combined with Hunt to force a turnover. Though the Hornets didn’t cash in right away but eventually Rainey fed Crosby for a layup and a 20-6 advantage.

The teams traded baskets with the margin never less than 12. The Jackets had a chance at the end of the period when the Hornets suffered a turnover on the heels of a Theiss stickback. The Jackets got the ball back to their big man but Crosby set up defensively and took a charge. That not only kept the lead 12 at the break but saddled Theiss with his third foul.

Whitman’s offensive-rebound basket to start the second half cut the margin to 10, as close as the Jackets had been since the first quarter. But Rainey answered with a jumper in the lane. Morris got it to 10 with a 12-footer but a driving jay by Crosby trumped that. Crosby added two free throws moments later to make it 30-16 and Sheridan was never as close again, though the margin was cut to 11 on four occasions. Every time, however, the Hornets re-extended the margin.

When Theiss’ three-point play did the trick with 5:17 left in the third, it was Hunt who responded. Morris made it 32-21 but Giles drove for a bucket and, later, knocked down two free throws.

When Theiss made it 36-25 with a pair of free throws with 1:46 left in the third, Giles spotted up, got a feed from Rainey and drained a 3.

The Hornets led 40-27 going into the fourth quarter. Theiss got his team within 11 at the start of the fourth quarter but Hunt dished to Rainey for a basket.

After Griffin Smith and Whitman hit free throws to whittle it two 42-31, Rainey converted twice. Theiss got the Jackets within 11 one final time with 4:37 to go. This time the Hornets responded with a closing 10-3 run sparked by Rainey’s drive for a layup to burn the Sheridan press.

Rainey and Giles hit free throws down the stretch as the Hornets not only maintained but extended the lead at the end. Buchanan finished off the scoring with a layup off an assist from Caleb Strain.

“It’s the first time this year that we have extended our lead and done things like shoot free throws to win, get some subs in at the end of the game,” Abrahamson noted. “So I’m really proud of that.

“We’re headed in the right direction, which we have been for a while but it’s good for us to get a game like this, against such a quality opponent too, on the road,” he continued. “It’s the type of thing I knew would need to be a next step if we were going to be a dangerous team.

“At the same time, we’ve got to enjoy it tonight then get over it and get back to work and focus on Friday’s game,” the coach concluded, referring to the team’s next game at home against Texarkana. “We can’t pat ourselves on the back too much. We’ve got to stay focused, stay locked in and hopefully we’ll be able to keep this going.”

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