Johnson, Montgomery spur Lady Hornets’ answer to Russellville challenge
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
RUSSELLVILLE — When Bryant Lady Hornets coach Blake Condley called a timeout with 3:37 left to play in the third quarter of his team’s game at Russellville on Friday night, starting playmaker Alana Morris had come to the bench with her fourth foul and the Lady Cyclones had whittled a 44-27 halftime deficit to 44-36. To that point in the second half, the Lady Hornets had gone 0 for 6 from the field and turned the ball over four times.
“Offensively, I thought we were being kind of weak with the ball,” he recalled. “We turned it over a couple of times just from them, basically, reaching out and taking it from us because we weren’t ripping through.
“I think we got a little pre-occupied with, maybe the officials didn’t call this or didn’t call that or they called a foul on us,” he continued. “I told them, ‘It’s not the first time, it won’t be the last. Let’s just focus on us, what we can do, what we can take care of.’
“Then we made some defensive adjustments to try to slow them down,” the coach added. “I still don’t think we stopped them but we kind of went back to what we’d done in the first half as far as attacking the basket on offense and trying to get to the free-throw line and doing some of those things that just made their defense collapse in so much that we were able to get some open looks from the perimeter. It’s just one of those things when one thing’s working well, it opens up something else and you can feed off of that.”
When play resumed, Bryant’s senior guard Haley Montgomery took the game over, hitting two baskets, two free throws and assisting on another bucket. By the end of the third quarter, the Lady Hornets had re-established a double-digit lead and never relinquished it on the way to a 75-51 victory.
Bryant improved to 19-3 overall, 7-2 in the 7A-Central Conference going into Saturday’s make-up game at home against Van Buren (tip-off 2 p.m.). They enter Saturday’s game in second place behind only unbeaten North Little Rock.
After Condley’s timeout, Montgomery drove into the lane and kicked a pass out to the win for Shanika Johnson who drained an 18-footer, part of her game-high 24-point performance.
Russellville answered with a basket by Ashley Regier only to have Montgomery drive and score at the other end.
After the Lady Cyclones’ Jaimie Long hit a free throw, Montgomery again penetrated the teeth of the Russellville defense and was fouled, falling hard to the floor. She gathered herself and coolly drained two free throws with her usual catch-and-shoot approach.
Kaylee Wiedower hit a 3 for Russellville but Bryant answered again. This time, Kenzee Calley scored inside off a nice inbounds play. Hannah Goshien made a steal for Bryant but a held ball returned possession to Russellville. But Susan Taylor, wearing a facemask to protect the broken nose she suffered at Bryant, misfired and Montgomery flashed for the rebound in the lane and raced to the other end, penetrated into the lane, stopped and popped a short jumper to make it 54-42.
“She felt like they couldn’t stop her from getting to the lane, getting to the free-throw line and getting to the rim,” Condley noted. “And she was right. She basically just decided, ‘Hey, I’ll just put this thing on my shoulders and we’ll take care of it.’”
Though Taylor nailed a 3 to end the quarter, Bryant opened the fourth with Johnson showing that she’s more than a 3-point dead-eye. She drove and fed Goshien for a layup then she made a steal and drove for a layup that made it 58-44.
Russellville took a timeout and came back with Tinisia Broadnax earning a trip to the free-throw stripe. She converted twice only to have Montgomery toss in a 3-pointer in response.
Johnson made another steal and got to the line where she converted twice, part of a 22 of 23 effort on free throws for the Lady Hornets in the game. After Lindsey Glover hit a free throw for Russellville, Johnson, with her quick flick of a release, buried a triple and Bryant’s lead had ballooned to 66-47.
Natalie Shockey answered with a banker for the Lady Cyclones but with 4:17 left, Johnson went to the line. Her miss on the front end of the one-and-one was the only time the Lady Hornets didn’t get a free throw to go down. But Abbi Stearns battled for the rebound and, moments later, Montgomery split two defenders with a perfect bounce pass to the slashing Johnson, coming up the right baseline, for a layup.
Broadnax hit a jumper for Russellville but Johnson got another 3 to splash and the Bryant lead was up to 20 with 2:55 left to play.
Condley started subbing after that but Johnson finished her big night with two more free throws at the 2:26 mark. The only scoring for either team after that was two free throws by Bryant’s Taylor Neal, setting the final score.
Montgomery finished with 18 points, Morris had 12, all in the first half. Goshien finished with 9, Stearns 6 and Calley 4. Stearns had a game-high 12 rebounds.
Long led Russellville with 12. Broadnax and Wiedower had 10 each.
For the game, the Lady Hornets were not only hot at the line, they converted 23 of 36 field goals (64 percent) and 7 of 10 3’s.
Russellville’s last lead of the game was 8-7. Morris made two sparkling feeds to Stearns on consecutive trips as Bryant took the lead for good. Two free throws by Morris were followed by a turnover that she and Montgomery forced. The result was a three-point play for Morris and a 16-8 lead. Montgomery would add two from the line at the 2:26 mark as the lead reached double-digits for the first time.
Russellville managed to trim the margin to 5 on baskets by Sarah Prochazka, Wiedower and Regier but Morris beat the buzzer with a 3 that made it 23-15 at the end of the first quarter.
Johnson opened the second period with her first trey and when Calley added a driving layup to make it 28-15, Russellville needed and got a timeout. At that point, the Lady Hornets had converted 9 of 10 field goal attempts.
Bryant eventually led by 15, 33-18, before Russellville rallied within 10. But Johnson fed Morris for a layup, Calley knocked down two free throws after collecting a rebound, and Johnson capped the half with a three-point play that produced the 44-27 lead.
Long led Russellville’s surge to start the second half, starting with a three-point play. She added two more baskets to one by Glover to get it to 44-36, forcing Condley’s only timeout of the game.
LADY HORNETS 75, LADY CYCLONES 51
Score by quarters
BRYANT 23 21 10 21 — 75
Russellville 15 12 17 7 — 51
LADY HORNETS (19-3, 7-2) 75
Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts
Montgomery 6-8 4-4 0-3 3 2 18
Goshien 3-6 2-2 0-2 2 2 9
Calley 1-2 2-2 0-1 1 0 4
Stearns 3-6 0-0 3-9 12 2 6
Morris 3-4 5-5 1-1 2 4 12
Parish 0-1 0-0 0-1 1 3 0
Johnson 7-7 7-8 0-2 2 0 24
Neal 0-0 2-2 1-1 2 0 2
Barker 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Lee 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 0 0
Abernathy 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 0 0
Sory 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Hogancamp 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 0 0
Ball 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Team 0-1 1
Totals 23-36 22-23 5-24 29 13 75
LADY CYCLONES (9-14, 1-9) 51
Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts
Broadnax 3-4 3-4 2-2 4 3 10
Long 5-14 2-3 1-1 2 3 12
Shockey 2-4 0-0 3-3 6 1 4
Glover 2-7 1-2 2-0 2 4 5
Wiedower 4-14 0-0 1-2 3 2 10
Taylor 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 2 2
Campbell 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 2 0
Prochazka 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 2
Regier 2-5 0-0 3-0 3 2 4
Prewett 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
Brown 1-2 0-0 0-1 1 1 2
Team 2-1 3
Totals 21-58 6-9 14-10 24 21 51
Three-point field goals: Bryant 7-10 (Johnson 3-3, Montgomery 2-4, Goshien 1-2, Morris 1-1), Russellville 3-12 (Wiedower 2-7, Broadnax 1-2, Long 0-2, Prochazka 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 17, Russellville 12.