December 16 in Bryant athletic history: 2009

Brandon Parish launches a shot during Bryant's 37-23 win over Sheridan. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Hornets ride defense to 37-23 victory over Sheridan

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

Back in the day, when Jerry Tarkanian was leading some great UNLV teams, he had what he called an “amoeba defense.” It was a combination defense that frustrated many an opponent.

Now whether that description suits it or not, the Bryant Hornets employed a combo defense of their own on Tuesday night and frustrated the Sheridan Yellowjackets, limiting them to just 10 field goals and 23 points.

Bryant took advantage for a 37-23 victory in their long-awaited home opener.

Sheridan shot 24 percent from the field including just 2 of 19 from 3-point range in the game. A team that reached the finals of the Cyclone Classic in Russellville last weekend, it might be said that the Jackets had an off night with their shooting but Bryant head coach Ron Marvel saw it otherwise.

K.J. Hampton pulls down one of his seven rebounds during Tuesday's game. (Photo by Rick Nation)

“I don’t have a doubt, it was our defense,” he stated. “I mean we stayed focused tonight and we’ve been working real hard to get that defense better and tonight it showed up.”

Marvel credited assistant Jim Pennington with implementing the system which he came up with as a high school head coach in years past.

“It’s a mix of a zone, a man and a match-up and we do all three of those out of the same set,” Marvel related. “And sometimes it looks like a triangle-and-two and sometimes it looks like a box-and-one. It just kind of depends on where that star player’s at.”

Sheridan’s star player, Sawyer Dunigan, managed a team-high 10 points but he was limited to just nine field goal attempts.

Bryant was led by senior Brandon Parish, who has had games this season, despite starting, in which he’s not even attempted a shot. In fact, at Russellville’s Classic, he hit a last-second shot to beat Camden Fairview and it was his lone attempt of the game.

Parish had 10 points, Dontay Renuard 9, K-Ron Lairy and L.J. McLaughlin 7 each.

“Parish stepped up and made some big shots and made some big plays,” Marvel acknowledged. “K-Ron again made some big plays. K.J. Hampton was all over the boards. L.J. was blocking out all night. He had somebody on his back and he was blocking out. We saw some positive things in our kids tonight. We were real pleased with them.”

K-Ron Lairy goes up for a lay-in after getting past Sheridan's R.J. Comic. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Bryant dominated the boards with 30 compared to Sheridan’s 19, though the Yellowjackets made up for some of that by forcing 21 turnovers.

Marvel got Parish off to a good start when, at the end of the first quarter, he had the team run a play to get him an open look from 3-point range at the top of the key in the final seconds. Parish nailed it to snap a 4-4 tie. It was the first of a trio of 3’s he knocked down. He’d hit another one early in the third quarter and his third to start the scoring in the fourth.

The win improved the Hornets to 6-3 going into Friday’s Salt Bowl Shootout against the rival Benton Panthers at UALR’s Jack Stephens Center. Marvel admitted that he and Pennington were concerned about the team looking past Sheridan.

“The kids had already started talking about that (Benton) game,” he related. “We kept telling them, you can’t overlook this game. This is an important game right here. Now we hope they didn’t spend it all tonight so they can have some of that on Friday.”

Despite Parish’s 3 to end the first quarter, the game was tied at 7 and 9 early in the second when Dunigan nailed a 3 and, after Lairy hit two free throws, Colin Simpson hit a twisting jumper on the run from the left side of the key.

Dontay Renuard. (Photo by Rick Nation)

The Jackets forced a turnover and had a chance to take the lead but turned it over in return. Parish rocketed a pass through the Sheridan zone to McLaughlin for a layup and, as it turned out, Bryant was ahead to stay.

Lairy made a steal that led to a 12-foot jumper by McLaughlin to make it 13-9 and, after Dunigan drove for a layup, Renuard scored to make it 15-11 at the half.

Early in the third quarter, Lairy was fouled. He made the first shot but missed the second. Renuard tipped the carom to Hampton as the Hornets retained possession. Parish took advantage with his second 3 to make it 19-11.

It stayed that way for a while as both teams missed opportunities. Dunigan hit a layup and nearly three minutes later, Renuard got a running jumper to go. He then combined with Lairy to force a Sheridan turnover that Lairy took advantage of, pulling up and popping from about 10 feet out. McLaughlin made a steal which led to a nice tip-in by Renuard and a 25-13 lead.

Jacob Brown ended a four-minute dry spell for the Jackets and Bryant led 25-15 going into the fourth quarter.

Parish hit his third trey but then the Hornets couldn’t find the range as Sheridan trimmed the 13-point margin to 8 on baskets by Dillon Oliver and Brown who also contributed a pair of free throws.

Sheridan had a chance to get closer when Nick Ware went to the line with 4:18 to play but he missed both shots. A Bryant turnover gave the Jackets another try but Blake Gibbs misfired and, at the other end, Kendall Butzlaff got free at the hoop for a layup to end the Bryant drought.

Sheridan, meanwhile, was unable to score again until Dunigan drained a 3 with :50 left. By then, the Hornets had built up a 34-20 lead on free throws by Renuard and Parish.

Renuard and McLaughlin added free throws after Dunigan’s 3 to set the final score.


Score by quarters

Sheridan 4 7 4 8 — 23

BRYANT 7 8 10 11 — 37


Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts


Ware 0-5 0-2 0-2 2 2 0

Comic 1-9 0-0 1-1 2 0 2

Brown 2-7 1-2 2-2 4 5 5

Spann 1-2 0-0 3-3 6 3 2

Dunigan 4-9 0-0 0-1 1 3 10

Oliver 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 2

Simpson 1-2 0-0 0-2 2 2 2

Gibbs 0-5 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

Smead 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Team 2-0 2

Totals 10-41 1-4 8-11 19 17 23


Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts


Lairy 2-6 3-4 0-0 0 2 7

Parish 3-4 1-2 1-1 2 2 10

Hampton 1-3 0-0 1-6 7 3 2

Renuard 3-7 3-4 1-6 7 1 9

Rayburn 0-0 0-1 0-3 3 0 0

Butzlaff 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 2

McLaughlin2-2 3-4 1-5 6 0 7

Motto 0-1 0-0 1-1 2 0 0

Cozart 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Garner0-00-00-1 100

Nossaman 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Team 0-2 2

Totals 12-24 10-15 5-25 30 10 37

Three-point field goals: Sheridan 2-19 (Dunigan 2-7, Gibbs 0-4, Ware 0-3, Comic 0-3, Oliver 0-1, Simpson 0-1), Bryant 3-7 (Parish 3-4, Lairy 0-2, Renuard 0-1). Turnovers: Sheridan 12, Bryant 21.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!