Hot-shooting freshman Hornets leave Panthers in their wake

For more photos of this event by Rick Nation, go here

Gavin Burton hit 4 of 5 3-point tries on Monday night. (Photo by Rick Nation)

BENTON — Demetrius Sanders came off the bench to score 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Gavin Burton knocked down four of the Bryant Hornets freshman team’s seven 3-pointers as they overwhelmed the rival Benton Panthers, 66-40, at Panthers Arena on Monday night.

Starting with a 3-pointer by Landyn Newburn at the end of the first quarter, the Hornets went on a 19-3 blitz, only allowing free throws for the Panthers. It turned a 12-12 game into a 31-15 lead. A 3-pointer by Benton’s Andre Lane in the final seconds made it 13-point game at the half.

And when Will Diggins scored, Burton made a steal and Newburn hit a layup to start the second half, the Hornets had their largest lead of the game at 27. The lead was never less than 10 after that.

“It doesn’t take much with it being a Benton game. Everyone knows the Benton-Bryant rivalry,” said Hornets coach Tyler Posey of his team’s inspired play. “It doesn’t take much to get them going, and they got going quick.

“We came out shooting the ball well,” he acknowledged. “On defense, we started off a little slow, but we really got going and got after them. I felt our pressure really got them to turn it over a few times.

Gabe George splits a pair of Panther defenders on the way to the basket. (Photo by Rick Nation)

“I think that’s going to be us all year long,” the coach stated. “We have a really quick and athletic team and when we get out and create turnovers, it leads to our offense and our success there.”

The Hornets had four players in double figures led by Burton’s 15. Along with Sanders, Gabe George scored 13 and Newburn 11. Will Diggins and D.J. Hale added 6 each. Late in the game, Caleb Carter had a basket.

Benton was paced by Lane with 10. London Bradley and Caleb Weston had 7 each with Chris Tropp adding 6.

Benton did a good job of running its offense early, working a back-pick to get layups. Despite a couple of early triples by Burton plus a steal and layup by George, the Panthers managed to stay within 10-9 going into the final minute of the first quarter.

Head coach Tyler Posey talks to his team during a timeout. (Photo by Rick Nation)

A pair of free throws by Sanders was countered by a three-point play for Lane that tied the game at 12. That led to Newburn’s trey to start the Bryant surge.

The Hornets adjusted defensively to cut off Benton’s backdoor play.

“I told our bigs to back up a little bit and told our guards that they needed to do what they’re supposed to do and jump to help,” Posey related. “We weren’t doing that at first. We were kind of playing a little bit lazy and that’s why we had the slow start. We gave them those easy baskets there.”

Lane hit a free throw to start the scoring in the second quarter then George popped a 3 and followed with a layup off a drive. Newburn fed Hale for a basket and, with Bryant up 21-13, Benton called a timeout with 4:26 left in the half.

When play resumed, Tropp missed a jumper and, at the other end, Hale came through with a three-point play with a strong drive from the wing.

Sanders followed with an offensive-rebound bucket then Hale added a pair of charity tosses to run the lead to 28-13.

Weston stopped Benton’s drought with a pair of free throws, but Sanders was fouled trying to follow a teammate’s miss. He made a free throw and, moments later, George drove for a layup and the 31-15 lead

The Hornets followed up with a 23-point third quarter. For the game, they were 24 of 48, 50 percent from the field.

“That always helps us,” Posey said of the hot shooting. “We haven’t shot that well except for a couple of games. That’s always a very positive thing for us.”

The Bryant lead was 37-20 midway through the third stanza. Newburn and Burton then buried a 3 apiece. Newburn added a free throw then Burton bombed away again, pushing the lead to 47-20, the largest of the game.

It was 54-27 before Benton’s London Bradley hit a 3 to make it a 24-point game going into the fourth quarter.

Tropp scored the first 4 points of the fourth quarter, whittling the lead to 20. After a timeout, Sanders scored off a drive, George scored off a feed from Newburn and Sanders hit the offensive glass for another bucket to expand the margin to 60-24 going into the final three minutes.

The victory improved the Hornets to 6-3 on the season going into Thursday’s trip to Conway Blue to wrap up the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule.



Score by quarters

BRYANT           15        16        23        12 — 66

Benton            12        6          12        10 — 40


Newburn 4-7 1-1 11, Burton 5-6 1-3 15, Booth 0-1 0-0 0, Diggins 3-4 0-0 6, George 5-10 2-2 13, Hale 2-4 2-3 6, Sanders 4-4 5-7 13, Kearney 0-3 0-0 0, Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Gilmore 0-0 0-0 0, Carter 1-3 0-0 2, Mendoza 0-1 0-0 0, Blackmon 0-2 0-0 0, Myles 0-1 0-0 0, Edmonson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals24-48 (50%) 11-16 (69%) 66.


Bradley 3-5 0-0 7, Lane 3-9 3-6 10, Allen 0-1 0-0 0, Weston 1-3 5-5 7, Tropp 3-5 0-0 6, Harrison 2-6 0-0 5, Williamson 1-3 1-2 3, Ginther 0-0 0-0 0, Dixon 0-1 1-2 1, Hill 0-0 0-0 0, Snellings 0-0 0-0 0, Gray 0-0 1-2 1, Dockery 0-0 0-0 0. Totals13-33 (39%) 11-17 (65%) 40.

Three-point field goals:Bryant 7-19 (Burton 4-5, Newburn 2-4, George 1-5, Kearney 0-2, Williams 0-2, Myles 0-1), Benton 3-9 (Harrison 1-4, Lane 1-3, Bradley 1-2). Turnovers:Bryant 11, Benton 16. Rebounds:Bryant 13-18 31 (Sanders 5-6 11, Booth 0-3 3, Diggins 1-2 3, Carter 3-0 3, Newburn 1-1 2, George 1-1 2, Kearney 0-2 2, Burton 1-0 1, Gilmore 0-1 1, Mendoza 1-0 1), Benton 4-14 28 (Lane 0-4 4, Weston 0-3 3, Tropp 1-2 3, Hill 0-2 2, Bradley 0-1 1, Williamson 0-1 1, Gray 0-1 1, Dockery 1-0 1, team 2-0 2). Team fouls:Bryant 17, Benton 12.

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