Hornets avenge loss to Sheridan
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
When what had been an 11-point second-half lead had disappeared midway through the fourth quarter, Bryant Hornets head coach Leo Olberts admitted to thinking, “Oh, no, here we go again.”
The struggling Hornets were battling the Sheridan Yellowjackets to not only avenge an early-season loss but to get out of the league cellar and — as it turned out — jump into a virtual tie for fifth in the eight-team AAAAA-South Conference. The Jackets were desperately trying to snap a six-game losing streak since that win over the Hornets. The result was a highly competitive and contentious ruckus between the rivals.
With 5:02 left to play, Sheridan’s Terrence Hawkins, who led all scorers with 22 points, hit two free throws to knot the score at 50.
Bryant regained the upper hand when junior forward Josh Ridge took a nice feed from sophomore swingman Jaston Carter, scored and was fouled. The three-point play regained the tentative lead for the Hornets.
Two more free throws by Hawkins made it a 1-point game. For Bryant, Ridge misfired but junior guard Jeremy Reeves gathered in the rebound and scored to keep his team ahead.
Sheridan went inside to junior Cody Williams (15 points) for an answering bucket with 2:59 left. Williams, playing with four fouls, could not be challenged defensively by Bryant post man Bennie Elder because Elder also had four fouls. The duo reversed rolls at the other end as Elder posted up Williams and scored to make it 57-54.
The break in the sequence followed. With 1:40 left, Sheridan’s senior point guard Jason Wood was fouled but missed twice at the free-throw line. Moments later, Carter was fouled at the other end and he sank two to bump the margin up the 5.
At the other end, Carter blocked a shot by Hawkins and the Hornets recovered the loose ball. They whittled some clock before a move into the paint produced a loose ball that Carter eventually corralled. He was fouled again with :54 left and calmly drilled two free throws again to give the Hornets a 61-54 lead.
The Hornets went on from there to capture a 67-61 victory, buoyed by the play of their sophomore duo. Carter (17) and Elder (12) combined for 29 points. Ridge led Bryant with 21 including three free throws in the final :30 to help hold off a final Sheridan push.
The Jackets actually got within 4 when Wood hit a 3 with :22 left. But free throws by Ridge and Reeves seal the victory. Reeves’ tosses came as a result of a late technical — the second of the game against the frustrated Sheridan team, unhappy with the officiating.
As it was, the game was full of fouls and free throws. Sheridan was 13 of 20 from the line. Bryant finished 27 of 35 including 10 of 14 in the final 1:30.
In fact, the Hornets, playing more aggressively, held a 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter with 10 of the 12 points coming on free throws. Colin Weatter’s jump shot from just beyond the free-throw line was the long field goal of the period for Bryant.
Sheridan, which didn’t shoot a free throw until midway through the second quarter, got the better of it in the second half until the late parade by the Hornets.
Carter helped the Hornets create some breathing room in the first half. With Bryant leading 14-12, he came through with a three-point play to extend the margin. Hawkins hit a jump hook but Carter knocked down a jumper from the wing. After Josh Copeland scored inside in response, Ridge stepped up with a pair of free throws and, after a Sheridan miss, a 3-pointer to make it 24-16.
Later in the period, back-to-back buckets by Elder inside enabled the Hornets to take a 10-point edge. It was 30-21 at the half.
And when Carter drove for a layup to start the second half, Bryant had its largest lead of 11.
It didn’t last long, however. A three-point play by Williams was followed by a Bryant turnover. Sheridan’s Aaron Sites was then fouled on a 3-point attempt and proceeded to convert three free throws.
The Jackets eventually cut the lead to 1 and it was 41-40 after Copeland scored inside in the waning moments of the quarter. But Ridge hit a jumper in the lane with :02 to go, bumping the margin to 3.
Hawkins cut it again with a jumper to start the fourth quarter but Ridge then stepped outside to drill a 3 with the 6-4 Copeland rushing at him. Copeland was whistled for a foul on the play and Ridge competed the rare 4-point play with his free throw.
And when a technical foul on Copeland followed moments later, it appeared the Jackets might’ve reached a breaking point. But Ridge hit only one of the two free throws and the subsequent possession for the Hornets failed to produce.
Sheridan continued to rally. A 3-pointer by Sites with 5:50 left in the quarter brought the Jackets within 2 at 48-46. But there was Carter again in the clutch with a 10-foot bank shot. Hawkins, however, posted up for an answering bucket then collected the rebound off a Ridge miss and was fouled leading to the free throws that tied the game.
With the win, the Hornets improved to 5-12 overall, 2-6 in conference play with a trip to Lake Hamilton, the league’s fourth-placed team, due on Friday.