Lady Hornets drop No. 1 Parkview
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
With 6:45 left to play, the Bryant Lady Hornets’ starting point guard, leader in assists and second leading scorer for the season, Ashley Grappe fouled out. With 4:13 to go, the team’s starting strong forward, the tough, do-whatever’s-needed-to-win senior Kalin Dreher fouled out.
So, in the crucial closing minutes, the Lady Hornets were without two integral parts of their team as they desperately battled the No. 1 team in the state, Little Rock Parkview on Friday, Jan. 21.
When Grappe left the game, the Lady Hornets held a 41-34 lead that eventually disappeared. When Dreher went to the bench, Parkview tied the game on two free throws by Crystal Boyd.
And the Lady Patriots eventually took a 47-46 lead and held a 49-48 advantage with just 2:02 left to play.
But the Lady Hornets refused to lose. With Amie Hubbard moving over to handle the point and Robin Speake stepping in at forward and the rest of the Lady Hornets closing ranks, they found a way to knock off Parkview, 54-51.
It was a crucial win for the Lady Hornets who were in danger of falling three games behind the league-leading Lady Pats. Instead, Bryant is now 3-2 in conference play (15-3 overall) only a game behind Parkview (4-1, 15-3) and Conway (4-1, 13-4) going into a showdown at Conway on Tuesday, Jan. 25.
More than that, because of the brief history of the Parkview-Bryant rivalry — in rugged, ugly fashion, the Lady Patriots handed the Lady Hornets two bitter losses last season — there may not be a team in the AAAAA-Central Conference they’d want more to beat.
So, after Amanda Grappe hit a free throw with :15.3 showing on the clock to snap a 51-51 tie then, after a timeout, got back to tip a pass to sister Allison Grappe and Speake drove for a last-second layup, there was a rousing celebration.
“It was one of those games that you can’t wait to get to play but you can’t wait until it’s over,” declared Lady Hornets head coach Rhonda Hall, adding with a grin. “And you like it when it ends like this.”
The seeds of the victory may go all the way back to last summer when Ashley Grappe was unable to play much due to a back ailment and Hubbard had to handle the bulk of the ball-handling duties during camp games. Then, earlier this season, Speake stepped in and played well combining with Dreher to take up the slack when Amanda Grappe was sidelined with an ankle injury.
“Amie was calm,” Hall noted. “She did all the little things right at the end to helps us win. And all of our other players did too. We stayed in there. Our goal every time out was to play one play at a time, to not worry about the final outcome but worry about the next play.”
And they kept making them in the clutch. After Boyd, who came off the bench to score 17 points and gather 13 rebounds for Parkview, scored to give the Lady Patriots their 49-48 edge, they got a chance to extend the lead by forcing a Bryant turnover. But Amanda Grappe, who in a game earlier this year reached double figures in steals, swiped a pass.
After a timeout to save the possession, the Lady Hornets broke the Parkview press and Amanda Grappe dished to Speake for a layup and a 50-49 advantage.
At the other end, Parkview’s Mariesha Piggee misfired and, for one of the few times in the game, the Lady Patriots were unable to get a second shot. Bryant’s Bridgette McPeak grabbed the key rebound and, with 1:06 left, Amanda Grappe was fouled. She made the front end of the two-shot trip to the line to make it a 2-point game going into the final tense minute.
Raeshara Brown, who led Parkview with 19 points and 13 rebounds, missed at the other end. Boyd rebounded and couldn’t get a follow to fall. Speake finally came down with the rebound for Bryant and was fouled as Boyd went over her back trying to get another shot.
As it was, 24 of Parkview’s 37 rebounds came at the offensive end. The Lady Patriots’ 37-34 edge on the boards, coupled with Bryant’s 26 turnovers (to 19 by Parkview) produced a whopping 70 field goal attempts for Parkview.
Speake, however, missed the front end of the one and one opportunity and, at the other end, Brown hit the offensive boards to score the tying hoop.
That led to Amanda Grappe’s tiebreaking free throw. The rebound that led to the trip to the line was her ninth, the fifth at the offensive end, to go with her game-high 24 points.
“Amanda worked hard this week on doing a good job blocking out,” Hall said. “She spent a lot of time on it. She felt like (Monday against North Little Rock) she didn’t do as good a job as she could in that. I think tonight she came back and showed that she could do the job. She stayed with it. I told her to try to stay with every tip because they were going to try to tip every ball up and we’ve got to try to tip every ball up and get as many opportunities as we can.”
But it was Allison Grappe that spurred the Lady Hornets to an early lead. Bryant trailed 8-6 in the opening quarter before Allison earned a trip to the line off a nice feed from Dreher. She converted once to make it a 1-point game. After Piggee missed, Allison gave the Lady Hornets the lead going into the second quarter with a 3-pointer.
After Boyd hit a free throw, Amanda Grappe hit the offensive glass and added a three-point play. Ashley Grappe followed with an assist to McPeak whose basket made it 15-9. Later Ashley added a free throw to give the Lady Hornets a 7-point lead.
Before the half was over, Allison Grappe hit her second 3 to make it 20-11 but Parkview rallied to within 2. Free throws by Ashley and Allison in the final minute gave Bryant a 24-18 lead at the break.
Amanda Grappe made a steal and Ashley fed Hubbard for a layup to start the scoring in the second half. Amanda Grappe canned a 10-foot jumper and the lead was 28-18.
Boyd got Parkview’s first basket with 5:48 left in the quarter but a free throw and a layup by Amanda Grappe bumped the lead to 31-20, Bryant’s largest lead of the game with 5:18 left in the period.
Boyd and Brown then led a Parkview surge that trimmed the lead to 33-31 before Ashley fed Amanda for another layup and, in the final minute of the period, Amanda added a free throw and Ashley a layup to make it 39-31 going into the fourth quarter.
Boyd’s three-point play started Parkview on the road to the lead, the stretch of the game in which the Lady Hornets lost Ashley Grappe and Dreher. The Lady Patriots’ 47-46 lead with 2:41 was their first since the opening quarter.