Kaitlyn Weng’s hot shooting spurs freshman girls to win over Benton

PEARCY — Though they fell behind 7-0 and trailed 8-3 after a quarter, the Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team rallied for a 17-14 halftime lead and held on for a 33-26 victory over the rival Benton Lady Panthers at the Kameron Hale Invitational Tournament on Friday.

The Lady Hornets will take on Arkadelphia for the consolation championship on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Kaitlyn Weng scored 17 points to lead the way. Kristyn Weng added 6, Ashton Inman 4, Abbey Inman and Addison Funk had 3 each.

“We struggled again to start the game,” acknowledged Bryant coach Nathan Castaldi. We had some breakdowns on defense, which resulted in easy shots.

“On offense, we were getting the shots we wanted,” he added, “we were just not making them.

“We talked about continuing to shoot with confidence and they will eventually fall.”

Benton actually built a 12-3 lead before the Lady Hornets caught fire.

“Kaitlyn got hot from outside,” Castaldi related. “She hit three consecutive 3-pointers to tie the game. I think that gave everyone confidence moving forward because we played much better after those shots.

“Kaitlyn finished with five 3’s and was named the game’s most valuable player,” the coach said.

The lead was 30-20 by the end of the third quarter.

“We got a little tentative,” Castaldi said. “That allowed Benton to close the gap but our defense played very well down the stretch to bring home the victory. I was pleased with how our defense played the final 22 minutes of the game. Benton scored 7 points in the first two minutes of the game and only 19 the rest of the way.”

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