For more photos from this event by Kevin Nagle, go here
Early in the third quarter, the Bryant Hornets’ lead over the Greenbrier Panthers was just 42-35. The Hornets just couldn’t shake them, despite trailing only briefly.
But a 16-2 rush after Greenbrier pulled within 7 along with a withering pace took the Panthers out of it as the Hornets rolled to an 85-54 win at the Hornets Nest.
Calvin Allen scored 19 points on 7 of 9 shooting and dished out seven assists while Romen Martin added 15 points and Braylen Steen contributed a double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds. All 10 Bryant players contributed to the scoring with Sam Chumley coming off the bench to add 11.
“We scored a lot of points and that’s good, pulled away from them and, eventually, kind of wore them down,” said Bryant head coach Mike Abrahamson. “It was a 30-point win but it wasn’t a 30-point total performance all game.
“I liked parts of it,” he related. “Defensively, we worked through some things throughout the course of the game that we weren’t executing the way we wanted to, such as guarding ball screens, protecting our basket a little bit better, and getting through screens and getting into passing lanes; things like that. We worked through them and made some improvement during the game, which I thought was good. Practice helps a lot but that game experience does a lot for your team.”
That wasn’t the only thing that got better as the game went along, the coach said.
“Offensively, I pretty much liked it,” he said. “I actually want us to be a little bit more aggressive. The first half, I thought we were moving the ball well but we weren’t moving our bodies well, just kind of standing on the perimeter and moving the ball really well. But we weren’t going in and out, side to side like you want to, sinking the defense down to the baseline, things like that. I thought we got better at that in the second half.”
The Panthers were led by sharp-shooting Payton Web’s 22 points including four 3’s. Carter Burcham added 12 and Steven Stewart 8.
The Hornets’ game-breaking third-quarter push started with a layup by Lowell Washington, who was hampered by foul trouble much of the game. A driving layup by Allen made it a double-digit lead, 46-35.
After Greenbrier’s Deondre Smith missed two free throws, Deron Canada followed his own miss twice to score as the run resumed. Martin drove and kicked to Allen for a triple to make it 51-35 and force a timeout by Greenbrier coach Tom Simmons, a former Bryant freshman coach.
When play resumed, Martin buried a 3 to extend the margin to 19.
Web ended Bryant’s 10-0 run with a layup off an inbounds play but Steen countered with a pair of free throws and Allen fed Martin for a 15-foot jumper that made it 58-37.
A 3-pointer and two free throws by Web had Greenbrier within 58-42 and the Panthers had a chance to get closer. But Rodney Lambert made a steal for Bryant. Steen scored off the offensive glass and, moments later, Lambert drove for a layup to make it 62-42 going into the fourth quarter.
When Stewart converted both ends of a one-and-one to start the final period, the lead was 18. But Bryant scored the next 6 points on free throws from Steen, Turner and Turner. Martin mixed in a driving pull-up jay to make it 68-44.
The Panthers managed to whittle the margin to 18 once more by the 2:50 mark. After that, the Hornets finished with a 13-0 surge that included 8 of Chumley’s points. Christian McIntosh made a steal and a layup along the way and, to cap things off, sophomore Henry Terry nailed a 3 from the right corner to set the final score.
The game had been tied repeatedly in the first quarter. After leading 3-0 on a triple by Stewart to start the game, Greenbrier managed a 15-13 lead late in the period.
But Steen blocked a shot by Burcham and, at the other end, Allen flashed for a layup to tie it. Moments later, Allen fed Canada for a layup and a 17-15 edge going into the second quarter.
“A lot of that credit goes to them,” Abrahamson said of the tightness of the game early. “Web is an amazing basketball player. (Burcham) is really good. Both of those guys are really hard to guard. And they’ve got some other guys that can shoot it if you pay too much attention to those guys. They’re well coached, obviously. We know Coach Simmons very well and respect him.”
The Hornets got a little daylight at the start of the second period. McIntosh fired in a 3 off a feed from Martin. A free throw from Martin made it 21-15. His second shot was rebounded by Turner, who couldn’t get a shot to fall. But Martin rebounded the miss and was fouled again.
This time, he converted twice. Web popped a 3 only to have Lambert pick up a loose ball, score and get fouled. Though he missed the free throw, he got another bucket off a dish from Allen and it was 27-18.
After a Greenbrier timeout, Martin took a charge as Stewart barreled through him on a drive. It was one of two charges that Martin absorbed.
Allen’s 3 and a free throw from Martin made it 31-18 with 4:30 left in the half.
To their credit, the Panthers rallied. When Web closed out the quarter with a trey, Bryant’s lead was down to 38-31 at the half.
To start the second half, Washington and Web traded buckets then Steen and Burcham took turns. Bryant’s game-breaking run commenced at that point.
The Hornets head to Bentonville for the Crabtree Classic on Thursday. They’ll open at 4:45 against Clarksville then take on Bentonville at 7 p.m., on Friday. Saturday morning at 8 a.m., they’ll play Wynne in a game that was originally set for 11:15 a.m. but was moved up because Wynne’s football team will be playing in the Class 5A State football championship game in Little Rock at noon.
HORNETS 85, PANTHERS 54
Score by quarters
Greenbrier 15 16 11 12 — 54
BRYANT 17 21 24 23 — 85
Stewart 2-4 2-2 8, Burcham 4-13 3-5 12, Web 7-13 4-4 22, Smith 0-2 1-4 1, Harmon 0-1 0-0 0, Thomey 1-5 1-2 3, Tilley 3-6 0-1 6, Brown 0-2 0-0 0, Vanover 0-0 2-2 2, Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Flake 0-1 0-0 0, Jerry 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 17-49 13-20 54.
Martin 5-11 4-8 15, Turner 2-5 1-2 5, Allen 7-9 3-4 19, Steen 5-10 3-4 13, Washington 2-3 0-2 4, Canada 2-5 0-0 4, Chumley 4-6 2-3 11, McIntosh 2-5 0-0 5, Lambert 3-4 0-1 6, Terry 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 33-59 13-24 85.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 6-18 (Allen 2-2, Martin 1-6, McIntosh 1-4, Chumley 1-3, Terry 1-1, Turner 0-1, Canada 0-1), Greenbrier 7-17 (Web 4-8, Stewart 2-2, Burcham 1-3, Thomey 0-2, Brown 0-1, Jerry 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 7, Greenbrier 13. Rebounds: Bryant 14-27 41 (Steen 6-10 16, Canada 2-4 6, Chumley 0-3, McIntosh 0-3, Allen 1-2 3, Martin 2-0 2, Turner 1-1 2, Washington 1-1 2, Lambert 1-1 2, team 0-2 2), Greenbrier 10-17 27 (Thomey 2-4 6, Harmon 1-3 4, Stewart 1-2 3, Smith 2-1 3, Web 0-2 2, Tillery 1-1 2, Brown 0-1 1, team 2-2 4). Team fouls: Bryant 19, Greenbrier 23.