Hornets’ second-half push produces victory over Vilonia
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).
By Rob Patrick
VILONIA — Junior guards Tyler Simmons and C.J. Raney combined for 31 points to lead the Bryant Hornets to a 48-39 win over the Vilonia Eagles on Tuesday night.
Simmons scored all 16 of his points in the second half including a 7-point burst during a stretch in which the Hornets put a little daylight between them and the Eagles in what had been a close ballgame to that point.
In fact, the game was tied at 26 when, after a Vilonia turnover, Simmons hit the second of his four 3’s in the game. After a miss at the other end, Strodney Davis hit a running jumper, which gave Bryant its largest lead to that point, 31-26. Raney followed with a steal that led to a layup for Simmons and a timeout for the Eagles with 1:05 left in the period.
A basket inside by Garrett Brown stemmed the tide momentarily but, with :42 left, Simmons knocked down a baseline jumper to make it 35-28. And when the Eagles tried to counter, Davis took a charge when Cody Moore tried to muscle his way to the hoop.
To start the final period, Simmons made a steal and fed Raney for a three-point play to produce the first double-digit lead of the game, 38-28. The Hornets eventually led by 14 but missed free throws in the final two minutes allowed the Eagles to whittle it down at the end. Still, they got no closer than 47-39.
“It’s nice to win but we’ve still got a lot of things that we need to get better at,” stated Hornets head coach Mike Abrahamson. “It’s nice to be able to point those things out but you’ve still got the win to fall back on.
“I liked our effort,” he noted. “I liked Strodney Davis coming off the bench, diving on the floor, taking two charges, setting the tone there, being a senior. I thought we ran our offense well but there was a stretch there in the second quarter when we were jogging through our stuff. They were tired. I should’ve called a timeout but I didn’t.”
It was during that stretch that Vilonia, after trailing 14-13, pushed the margin out to 4 points before Raney knocked down a 3. A free throw by Brown made it 20-17 at the break.
Vilonia’s Cameron Wilkins led all scorers with 19 points including all 11 of his team’s points in the fourth quarter.
“I liked our defense in the second half, except for (Wilkins),” Abrahamson commented. “He’s a really good player and he killed us. But on the whole, we seemed to get more stops. Of course, hitting shots like Simmons and Raney did sometimes can cover up other things but it sure is nice to have that.
“At the end of the game, I didn’t like the way we handled that,” the coach continued. “I thought we were a little careless with the ball. I thought we did some silly stuff, a turnover then an over-the-back on a missed free throw and we’re letting them get opportunities with the clock stopped. We had it up 14 at one point and we need to be able to stretch that out to 20, 22 and win the game. Instead it went down to 9.
“I didn’t like our fouling,” he stated. “We fouled a whole lot. That’s been a problem. I think tonight will help them understand that I know what I’m talking about. I just need them to be solid instead of making spectacular plays and going for steals all the time or trying to get a block. I’ve been saying that and saying that and I think now they can see it and how it can hurt us.”
The Hornets’ inside duo of Brian Reed and Zach Cambron split 12 points and Reed wound up the game’s top rebounder with seven. They also combined on nine fouls.
“We need Cambron and Reed out there and we were in trouble there,” observed Abrahamson. “Reed actually fouled out. But it’s an experience we can learn from. We’ll try to get better.”
The Hornets’ largest lead in the first half was 3. A 15-footer by Raney and a baseline jay for Luke Rayburn produced the initial advantage of 6-3. Vilonia’s Jacob Greer traded triples with Raney but then Wilkins helped the Eagles tie it by the end of the quarter and grab the advantage at the start of the second. The lead seesawed before the run that Vilonia went on at the end of the half.
Working a pick-and-roll with Raney, Reed scored inside to tie the game at the start of the third period. Rayburn made a steal that led to a driving hoop by Cambron that put the Hornets back on top.
The score was tied at 24 and 26 before Simmons sparked the run that put the Hornets ahead to stay.
Up 41-32, the Hornets picked up a free throw by Simmons. And, when he missed the second shot, Reed battled for the rebound and scored. Wilkins hit a free throw but Simmons canned his fourth 3 to produce the 14-point margin with 2:31 left.
The Hornets worked the ball after that but converted just 1 of 7 free throws in the final two minutes.
The team will have two weeks to work on things before their next outing. They’ll host Fort Smith Southside on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
BRYANT 48, VILONIA 39
Score by quarters
BRYANT 9 8 18 13 — 48
Vilonia 9 10 9 11 — 39
Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts
Raney 6-12 1-2 2-3 5 0 15
Simmons 6-10 0-1 0-0 0 0 16
Rayburn 1-3 0-0 0-1 1 2 2
Reed 2-7 2-2 2-5 7 5 6
Cambron 1-2 1-5 0-1 1 4 6
Strain 0-3 0-0 1-0 1 4 0
Davis 1-2 1-2 2-1 3 2 3
Crosby 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Team 0-1 1
Totals 17-39 5-12 7-12 19 17 48
Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts
Newell 0-3 0-0 0-1 1 2 0
Greer 1-5 0-0 1-2 3 0 3
Wilkins 5-8 9-12 1-5 6 1 19
Moore 1-3 2-2 1-0 1 5 5
Johnson 0-0 0-0 0-4 4 5 0
Brown 2-2 3-4 1-2 3 0 7
Fisher 1-3 0-0 0-1 1 0 3
Taylor 1-2 0-0 0-1 1 4 2
Rose 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Brewer 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Nicholson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Team 2-3 5
Totals 11-27 14-18 6-19 25 17 39
Three-point field goals: Bryant 7-16 (Simmons 4-6, Raney 2-5, Cambron 1-1, Strain 0-2, Rayburn 0-1, Davis 0-1), Vilonia 3-13 (Greer 1-5, Fisher 1-3, Moore 1-1, Newell 0-3, Rose 0-1). Turnvoers: Bryant 6, Vilonia 14. Team fouls: Bryant 17, Vilonia 17.