Photos by Kevin Nagle
“This time of year, every league, every level, you see teams building on positive things and you see others that are waiting for the season to be over,” observed Bryant Lady Hornets head coach Brad Matthews after his team’s 65-44 win over the Siloam Springs Lady Panthers on Friday night. “Hopefully, this will propel us toward building and building and building. We’ve got a lot of big games left.”
The competition in the 7A/6A-Central Conference reached the midway point on Friday. The second go-‘round starts on Friday, Feb. 6. With the win over Siloam Springs, the Lady Hornets have won two of their last three and, in the lone loss, played well for just over a half against defending Class 7A State champion Conway.
“I thought we did a lot of good stuff at Conway and I thought, tonight, we built on some of that good stuff,” Matthews stated. “It’s a good win for us.”
It was a season-high point total for Bryant, scorching the nets at a 58 percent clip (21 of 36). They knocked down 6 of their 7 3-point attempts and converted 17 of 19 free throws.
Jakeria Otey led with 21 points. Emily Ridgell added 13, Raija Todd and Lauren Carroll 12 each. Siloam Springs was led by Mayse Pippin’s 23. Baily Cameron added 14.
“I thought, offensively, we had a really efficient first half,” Matthews said. “I thought we shot it well; we executed well and really played a good half of basketball. When you make shots and you execute on offense, it’s going to increase your defensive energy and execution.”
The Lady Hornets were good on 62 percent of their shots from the field in the first half, though they trailed most of the first quarter. Cameron snapped a 2-2 tie with a 3-pointer sparking a 9-2 run.
“Siloam Springs is a really talented, well-coached team,” Matthews pointed out. “They beat Alma by 30 on Tuesday night. So we knew we had a challenge. Their posts (Pippin and Cameron) are really good.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” he continued. “Four kids in double figures; that’s really good. You’re not going to get that every night but if we can get a little bit more consistent and build on this . . .”
Free throws by Rachel Miller and Carroll helped Bryant get on track. Todd fed Otey for a short jumper and it was 11-9. Pippin drove for a bucket but Todd countered with a 3.
After Pippin converted twice at the line, Todd and Miller worked a pick and roll that got Miller back to the line where she converted twice to cut the margin to 1. And when Otey drove for a bucket with :14 left in the quarter, Bryant had the lead 16-15.
The Lady Hornets would not trail the rest of the game.
Ridgell opened up the second period with a 3 and, after a pair of free throws for Siloam by Bailee Owens, Otey drained a triple to stretch the lead to 5.
The Lady Panthers were within 24-21 with 4:30 left in the half but that’s when the Lady Hornets started an 11-4 run to head into the locker room up 37-25. Otey started the run with a layup off a nice feed from Todd. Carroll followed with a steal and drove for a layup.
After a Siloam Springs timeout, Ridgell knocked down a 12-foot jumper and, off another theft by Carroll, Ridgell rebounded a teammate’s miss and scored to produce the first double-digit lead, 32-21.
She would add a jumper from the corner after free throws by Cameron. Pippin scored in the final minute but Otey fired in another 3 in the final seconds to set the halftime score.
Siloam Springs couldn’t get the lead under 10 in the second half. Todd went on a spree in the third quarter, scoring 9 of her points including a 3 that pushed the margin to 15.
Bryant led 50-36 going into the fourth quarter, which started with Otey’s third troika. Maddie Baxter contributed three free throws down the stretch, Ridgell had a pair of buckets and Carroll scored 5 points as the Lady Hornets gradually built the lead to the final margin, which was their largest lead of the game.
Between the two teams, there were only three missed free throws in the game. They combined to go 35 of 38. The Lady Hornets forced 17 free throws and out-rebounded the taller Lady Panthers 21-19.
Bryant starts the second half of the league schedule at home next Friday against defending Class 6A State champion and current conference leader, Greenwood.
LADY HORNETS 65, LADY PANTHERS 44
Score by quarters
Siloam Spgs 15 10 11 8 — 44
BRYANT 16 21 13 15 — 65
LADY PANTHERS (12-8, 2-5) 44
Jones 2-7 0-0 5, Cox 0-4 0-0 0, Owens 0-3 2-2 2, Pippin 7-12 9-10 23, Cameron 3-5 7-7 14, Gay 0-3 0-0 0, Stewart 0-3 0-0 0, Torres 0-1 0-0 0, Holscher 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 12 -39 (31%) 18-19 (95%) 44.
LADY HORNETS (11-9, 3-4) 65
Otey 8-10 2-2 21, Carroll 4-10 4-5 12, Baxter 0-2 3-4 3, Todd 3-4 4-4 12, McDowell 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 0-1 4-4 4, Ridgell 6-9 0-0 13, Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Rogers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-36 (58%) 17-19 (89%) 65.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 6-7 (Otey 3-3, Todd 2-2, Ridgell 1-2), Siloam Springs 2-18 (Jones 1-6, Cameron 1-1, Cox 0-4, Owens 0-3, Gay 0-2, Stewart 0-1, Holscher 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 12, Siloam Springs 17. Rebounds: Bryant 7-14 21 (Carroll 3-4 7, Todd 0-4 4, Otey 0-3 3, Ridgell 2-1 3, Baxter 1-0 1, team 1-2 3), Siloam Springs 12-7 19 (Pippin 2-3 5, Cameron 3-1 4, Cox 1-1 2, Owens 0-1 1, Gay 0-1 1, team 6-0 6). Team fouls: Bryant 13, Siloam Springs 12.