Junior Hornets’ fourth-quarter run, clutch free-throw shooting nets tourney title

PEARCY — The Bryant Hornets freshman team put together a fourth-quarter push to take the lead over the host Lake Hamilton Junior Wolves on Saturday their free throws at the end to hold on for a 33-28 win. Improving to 10-3 on the season, the Hornets captured the championship of the first Kameron Hale Memorial Tournament.

It was the Hornets’ third win of the season against Lake Hamilton with another meeting set for Jan. 28 in the South Division of the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference and the possibility of a fifth meeting at the league’s post-season tournament.[more]

Leon Neale scored 16 points to lead the Hornets to victory. Zach Cambron added 6, Riley Hall 5, Marcus Wilson 3, Josh Davis 2 and Jalen Hewitt 1. Cambron got all 6 of his in the first quarter helping the Hornets build a 10-8 lead.

Lake Hamilton rallied to take a 17-14 lead at the halftime break. The Wolves still held a 20-18 edge at the end of the third before the Hornets put together the decisive surge.

“Our press worked and we got some steals and we scored on them pretty quick,” noted Hornets coach Steve Wilson. “Then we were able to hit our free throws. They had to foul and we hit them.

Bryant converted 9 of 11 shots from the line in the fourth quarter including 4 of 4 by Hall. They were 13 of 17 for the game.

“We did a much better job of taking care of the ball,” Wilson noted, referring to the 18-turnover game in the semifinals against Central Arkansas Christian on Thursday. “I’ve been kind of critical about our offense but I thought we ran our offense real well. We were a lot more patient on offense. We scored off a couple of inbounds plays with Leon. He really played well.

“This tournament did us some good,” added the coach. “Every game we played was close.

“You know Kameron Hale was a good kid, a kid that had friends in Bryant,” Wilson said of the young man who tragic death was memorialized by the tournament. “I think our kids really played inspired to try to live up to his memory. It was a great tournament. I really appreciate them inviting us to play in it.”

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