Hot-shooting Lady Hornets bomb Lady Panthers in freshman finale

Led by Caitlin LaCerra, who hit all five of her 3-point attempts, the Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team combined for nine 3-pointers on their way to a 47-22 win over the rival Benton Lady Panthers in the final regular-season game on Monday night at the Bryant Middle School gym.

Daria Greer, Parris Atkins, Hope Hartz and Madi Sanders also hit 3’s for the Lady Hornets who had only defeated Benton 29-28 in their earlier meeting this season at Benton on Dec. 10.

The win improved the Lady Hornets to 10-9 overall this season and gave them a one-game edge on Benton for fifth place in the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference. They’ll open on Monday, Feb. 11, against fourth-seeded Lake Hamilton at 7:45 p.m., at the Cabot South gym.

“We shot it really well,” acknowledged Lady Hornets coach Nathan Castaldi. “That’s an equalizer. They packed in that zone, gave us the shot and we knocked it down tonight.”

LaCerra led the team with 15 points. Greer added 11 with Atkins and Jordan Hancock scoring 7 each.

Benton’s Madison McIntire finished with 11 points. Alyssa Houston had 8.

The Lady Panthers shot just 32 percent from the field and committed 22 turnovers to just eight for Bryant.

“I thought defensively, we executed great, containing the basketball,” Castaldi said. “I thought we did a good job of closing off gaps, making them beat us from the outside.”

Bryant jumped out to an 8-0 lead on a three-point play by Greer, a layup by Hancock and the first 3 by LaCerra.

Benton cut it to 9-5 before Greer hit a 3 in the final seconds of the quarter to push the lead to 7.

After McIntire hit a free throw to start the second stanza, Greer drove for a basket then LaCerra made a steal that led to another layup for Greer. She was fouled on the play but couldn’t get her free throw to fall. But it was 16-7.

And, moments later, LaCerra popped another 3-point bomb to produce the first double-digit lead.

McIntire scored with a minute left in the half, but Greer canned a 10-footer with :22 left to make it 21-9 at the half.

LaCerra opened the third quarter with her third triple and, when Hancock scored with 4:29 left in the period, Bryant’s lead was 26-9.

Houston followed her own miss to get the first Benton points of the second half at the 3:56 mark. A layup by Hancock, a free throw by McIntire and a driving layup by Atkins made it 30-12.

Houston hit the offensive boards for another basket but LaCerra’s 3 and a steal and layup by Atkins pushed the lead to 21.

In the final minute of the quarter, Atkins and LaCerra knocked down 3’s to make it 41-19 going into the final stanza, which reserves played out. Hartz and Sanders extended the lead with their 3’s.

LADY HORNETS 47, LADY PANTHERS 22

Freshman

Score by quarters

Benton            5          4          10        3 — 22

BRYANT           12        9          20        6 — 47

LADY PANTHERS 22

McIntire 3-4 4-8 11, Kutchka 0-3 0-0 0, Bufford 0-1 0-0 0, Harris 0-0 0-0 0, Houston 4-8 0-1 8, Bostian 0-4 0-1 0, Swindle 1-3 0-0 3, Lee 0-1 0-0 0, Simmons 0-0 0-1 0, Gardner 0-0 0-0 0, Wright 0-1 0-0 0. Totals:8-25 (32%) 4-11 (36%) 22.

LADY HORNETS 47

Hancock 3-10 1-2 7, Greer 5-8 1-2 12, Atkins 3-10- 0-0 7, LaCerra 5-5 0-0 15, Chappell 0-0 0-0 0, Dillon 0-0 0-0 0, Jordan 0-1 0-0 0, Palmer 0-0 0-0 0, Cicero 0-1 0-0 0, Turner 0-0 0-0 0, Purifoy 0-0 0-0 0, Mefford 0-0 0-0 0, S.Hartz 0-1 0-0 0, Sanders 1-1 0-0 3, H.Hartz 1-2 0-0 3, Pearson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals:18-39 (46%) 2-4 (50%) 47.

Three-point field goals:Bryant 9-12 (LaCerra 5-5, Greer 1-3, Atkins 1-3, H.Hartz 1-2, Sanders 1-1, Hancock 0-3), Benton 2-7 (McIntire 1-1, Swindle 1-1, Kutchka 0-3, Bostian 0-2). Turnovers:Bryant 8, Benton 22. Rebounds:Bryant 6-11 17 (Atkins 1-4 5, LaCerra 1-1 2, Cicero 1-1 2, Chappell 1-1 2, Hancock 0-1 1, Dillon 1-0 1, Palmer 1-0 1, Turner 0-1 1, H.Hartz 0-1 1, team 0-1 1), Benton 11-14 25 (Houston 5-2 7, McIntire 1-4 5, Bufford 0-2 2, Swindle 1-1 2, Lee 1-1 2, Wright 2-0 2, Kutchka 1-0 1, Harris 0-1 1, Bostian 0-1 1, Simmons 0-1 1, team 0-1 1). Team fouls:Bryant 13, Benton 7.



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