Junior Lady Eagles’ spoil freshman Lady Hornets’ debut

By Rob Patrick

Photos by Kevin Nagle

VILONIA — The Vilonia Junior Lady Eagles, using a stifling 2-3 halfcourt zone and a half-court zone trap, frustrated[more] the Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team in their season-opening game Monday night.

Carolyn Reeves drives the lane. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The Lady Hornets, meshing from eighth grade teams at Bethel and Bryant Middle Schools, showed some flashes of what they will become but Vilonia took advantage of their growing pains by forcing 26 turnovers and holding the Bryant to 4 of 21 shooting from the field (19 percent) to come away with a 28-13 win.

“You could tell it was the first game,” acknowledged Lady Hornets coach Nathan Castaldi. “For a lot of the girls out there, the game looked fast. And as we play more, it’ll start to slow down and some of those mistakes that we made today won’t happen.

“(Vilonia is) one of the better teams, I think, that we’ll play all year,” he noted. “They’re very good at what they do and, for a first game, it’s a challenge. I thought after the first half we competed a lot better. I was proud of how we finished.”

The Lady Hornets more than doubled their score in the fourth quarter after going in trailing 21-6.

The more physical Lady Eagles out-rebounded Bryant, as well, 27-18. Jessica Brandon led Vilonia with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Bryant point guard Skylar Davis finished with 8 points. Britney Sahlmann added 4 and Carolyn Reeves hit a free throw. Sahlmann finished with a team-high five rebounds. Kailey Nagle had three.

Vilonia’s well-drilled passing game against Bryant’s aggressive man-to-man defense helped create a 10-0 lead to start the game. Struggling to get in the paint against the Lady Eagles' collapsing zone, the Lady Hornets missed their first seven shots before Davis beat the buzzer ending the first quarter with a 3.

Bryant gave itself a chance to take advantage of the momentum that bucket produced, forcing turnovers on Vilonia’s first two possessions of the second quarter but they were unable to capitalize.

Britney Sahlmann shoots over Vilonia's Lauren Rappold. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The Lady Eagles pushed the lead to 18-3 before Reeves’ free throw in the final minute of the half finished off the scoring.

The third quarter started in much the same way. Vilonia turned the ball over twice and missed a 3-point try but the Lady Hornets continued to struggle as well. It was 21-4 before Sahlmann canned a 15-footer off a nice feed from Anna Lowery.

In the final period, Sahlmann hit another jumper and Davis hit a pair of free throws to whittle the lead to 22-10 but that was as close as the Lady Hornets could get.

The Lady Hornets return to action on Thursday at Watson Chapel. They host the Bryant Invitational Tournament starting Monday, Nov. 12, opening against Hot Springs at 5:35 p.m., at the Bryant High School gym.


Score by quarters

BRYANT 3 1 2 7 — 13

Vilonia 10 8 3 7 — 28


Davis 2-5 2-3 8, Keith 0-3 0-0 0, Nagle 0-2 0-0 0, Turpin 0-3 0-0 0, Miller 0-2 0-0 0, Sahlmann 2-3 0-0 4, Lowery 0-0 0-0 0, Patton 0-1 0-0 0, Reeves 0-1 1-2 1, Ramsey 0-1 0-1 0, Bullington 0-0 0-0 0, Moser 0-0 0-0 0, T.Hill 0-0 0-1 0, Gentry 0-0 0-0 0, McKnight 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 4-21 3-7 13.


Brantley 2-4 0-0 4, Brandon 4-12 2-5 10, Gray 0-3 2-4 2, Rappold 1-5 0-0 2, Wader 2-5 0-0 4, Hightower 2-6 0-2 4, Daves 1-1 0-0 2, K.Hill 0-1 0-0 0, Ratliff 0-0 0-0 0, Skouras 0-1 0-0 0, Pruitt 0-0 0-0 0, Leach 0-0 0-0 0, Martin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-38 4-11 28.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 2-7 (Davis 2-5, Keith 0-2), Vilonia 0-4 (Gray 0-2, Brantley 0-1, Wader 0-1). Rebounds: Bryant 18 (Sahlmann 5, Nagle 3), Vilonia 27 (Brandon 9, Hightower 6). Turnovers: Bryant 26, Vilonia 16. Team fouls: Bryant 12, Vilonia 11.

Anna Turpin (25) shoots over Vilonia's Jessica Brandon (22). (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Bryant coaches Nathan Castaldi and Lawrence Jefferson huddle up with the team during a timeout. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

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