El Dorado stymied by Lady Hornet ‘D’
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
EL DORADO — El Dorado’s Meshali Mitchell hit a 3-pointer to start the scoring in Friday’s AAAAA-South Conference game against the Bryant Lady Hornets but, after that, the Lady Wildcats not only couldn’t score they couldn’t even attempt a shot until there was just 1:45 left in the first quarter.
In the interim, the Lady Hornets surged to a 14-3 lead.
It happened again in the second quarter. With Bryant leading 19-14 after El Dorado’s Sarah Sullivan hit a jump hook at the 6:00 mark, the Lady Wildcats were so stymied by the Lady Hornet defense, they hardly managed a shot for the next 5:35.
In the interim, Bryant broke out to a 33-14 advantage.
The Lady Hornets rolled on to a 65-45 victory to improve to 3-0 in conference play and 13-3 overall going into showdown week. They were set to take on Texarkana (10-4 and 1-1) on Tuesday then co-leader Pine Bluff (12-3, 3-0) on Friday.
Bryant has now won 11 of its last 12 games.
El Dorado held a distinct height advantage on the Lady Hornets, with a starting front line that went 5-11, 6-0, 6-2. But experience was in Bryant’s corner. Four of the El Dorado starters and most of the primary reserves were sophomores.
And Bryant took advantage of those young guards with its press during those telling first-half runs.
Senior Emily Hantz started the first one with a basket in answer to Mitchell’s 3. An El Dorado turnover resulted in a basket by Bryant’s Joanie Robideaux who followed up with a steal that produced a trip to the free throw line.
After Robideaux converted twice to make it 6-3 the Lady Hornets forced a five-second call when El Dorado was unable to inbounds the ball. Hantz wound up with a trip to the line and the Lady Hornets wound up with an 8-3 advantage.
Heather Atkins came up with a steal that eventually led to an offensive-rebound bucket by Hantz who, in turn, helped produce another El Dorado turnover. Bekka Middleton’s stickback was followed up by a steal and layup by Ashley Wallis that made it 14-3.
Middleton and Wallis wound up leading the Lady Hornets with 14 points apiece. Hantz had 12 with Robideaux and Lindsey Menard pitching in with 9 each.
Menard hit a 3 at the end of the first quarter to give Bryant a 17-8 lead.
The Lady Hornets’ second-quarter blitz began with a layup by Hantz. After an El Dorado miss, Middleton rebounded and was fouled. Though she missed the front end of the one-and-one, possession remained with the Lady Hornets when the ball ricocheted out of bounds off the Lady Wildcats. Wallis cashed in with a jumper from the corner to make it 23-14.
Robideaux followed with a steal and Middleton scored after grabbing another offensive rebound. A theft by Hantz led to a free throw by Wallis and the onslaught continued with free throws by Middleton, a basket by Hantz and another steal and layup by Wallis.
After the latter play, El Dorado head coach Brad Slatton drew a technical foul — perhaps the only way he could’ve interrupted the Lady Hornets’ ambush. Menard converted a free throw to make it 33-14 with :53 left in the half.
Kendra Stegall finally scored for El Dorado ending a 14-0 run by Bryant. But Menard canned a jumper from the corner to give Bryant a 35-16 lead.
Bryant called off the press in the second half and, with the help of speedy sophomore guard LaToya Frazier, the Lady Wildcats got untracked a bit in the second half. Three-pointers by LeAnn Stegall and Mitchell opened the second half. Sullivan scored and Bryant’s lead was down to 11.
But Robideaux drained a 15-footer to get the Lady Hornets going again. LeAnn Stegall answered but Middleton hit a jumper from near the free-throw line and Hantz made a steal and layup to bump the lead back up to 41-26.
El Dorado surged back to within 11 and had chances to get closer before Robideaux buried a 3 to start a late run for Bryant. Sullivan missed and Middleton hit a follow shot. Menard, once again, trumped the run with a last-second 3 to make it 51-32 going into the fourth quarter.
It was 55-36 when Bryant put together another small run to remove whatever mystery still remained about the outcome. Menard fired in her second 3 then Hantz fed Kim Jacuzzi for a basket inside. Wallis capped it off with a drive to the hoop to make it 62-36.
The Bryant reserves finished out the win and El Dorado never got closer than the final margin.