Lady Charging Wildcats fend off improved Lady Hornets

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — After falling behind 10-2 to the North Little Rock Lady Charging Wildcats, one of three teams tied for first place in the 7A-Central Conference, the Bryant Lady Hornets rallied and got within 19-15 by the 4:25 mark of the second quarter.

It was an encouraging sign for Bryant head coach Brad Matthews, whose team has already wrapped up the No. 5 seed for the Class 7A State Tournament and learned Tuesday night, they’ll be opening the post-season against old rival Van Buren at 7 p.m., on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

North Little Rock, however, closed the half with a 9-2 run then opened the third quarter with a 12-2 surge on the way to a 64-41 win that pushed them to 22-4 overall and 11-2 in league play.

“We got off to a little slow start,” Matthews acknowledged. “Their aggressiveness kind of had us on our heels a little bit.

“After we settled in, we had a good quarter, quarter and a half; midway through the first and through the second quarter,” he added. “I thought we played well. We were a little bit more aggressive than we were to start the game.”

Indeed, anyone who saw the Lady Hornets play North Little Rock at home on Jan. 23, could plainly see they had improved.

Still, the Lady Hornets just couldn’t stay with the Lady Cats on the boards. North Little Rock wound up with a 40-21 rebounding advantage including 14 boards on the offensive end.

“North Little Rock is so big and athletic,” Matthews noted. “They do such a good job of attacking the boards. Their size really hurt us tonight around the rim.

“But, overall, I think we’re starting to play better and better minutes together,” he asserted. “We fought against Cabot Friday night really well, Southside on the road last Tuesday — I think we’re starting to see more and more minutes where we’re fighting and competing, putting those together.

“That’s good to see,” the coach said. “You know, they’re young and they’re still learning. They’re starting to learn what happens when you don’t (fight and compete). This time of year, that’s what you need to see, kids playing better and better as the season goes on.”

The Lady Hornets close out the regular season on Friday at home against another of the three teams tied for first, Conway.

Amber Hawkison led North Little Rock with 17 points. Yo’myris Morris had 15 to go with eight rebounds, and An’nyah Pettus added 15 points.

For Bryant, Kalia Walker finished with 12. Celena Martin had 8 with a team-high seven boards. MeKeycia Baker and Lexi Taylor each came off the bench to score 6. India Atkins and Robyn Gordon scored 4 each and Tierra Trotter hit a free throw.

The Lady Hornets were without sophomore forward Ivory Russ due to concussion protocols.

The 6’2” Morris and 5’10” Pettus proved difficult to deal with for the undersized Bryant girls (only Gordon is more that 5’6”).

But, after North Little Rock’s 10-2 start, which actually was pushed to 18-4, the Lady Hornets played right with them. An inbounds play that got a basket for Baker started Bryant’s rally. Trotter hit her free throw with :02.5 left in the first quarter then Walker opened the second-quarter scoring with a 3.

Trotter made a steal that led to a trip to the line for Atkins and when she converted both shots, it was 18-12.

After a miss by Hawkison, Martin rebounded and went coast-to-coast for a layup that had Bryant within 18-14.

After a North Little Rock timeout, the Lady Hornets forced a turnover but missed their chance to trim the lead further. A free throw by Morris was countered by one from Walker that had Bryant down just 19-15 with another Lady Cats’ timeout at 4:25.

But, the rest of the quarter, all the Lady Hornets could muster was a basket by Baker off a dish from Martin that made it 24-17.

Pettus hit two free throws and, later, scored off the offensive glass to make it 28-17 at the break.

Walker knocked down a mid-range jumper to start the second half with Bryant down just 9. But, on the next four possessions, North Little Rock concentrated on getting the ball to Morris inside. She scored all four possessions. And when Hawkison hit a layup off a Bryant turnover, it was 38-19.

It was 40-19 before Walker scored 6 unanswered points including a 3. She made 3 of 4 free throws on a pair of technical fouls against North Little Rock. The first was for having six on the court then Lady Cats’ coach Daryl Fimple earned one.

After the coach’s T, the Lady Cats got rolling again, finishing the third quarter on a 9-0 push.

Bryant actually out-scored North Little Rock in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough to get the lead under 20.


Score by quarters

BRYANT           7          10        8          16 — 41

No. Little Rock 18        10        21        15 — 64

LADY HORNETS (11-14, 6-7) 41

T.Trotter 0-5 1-2 1, Walker 2-12 6-8 12, Atkins 2-9 0-1 4, Martin 3-5 2-2 8, Gordon 0-1 4-8 4, Baker 2-3 2-4 6, Taylor 2-5 0-0 6, S.Trotter 0-1 0-0 0, Scifres 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-41 (27%) 15-25 (60%) 41.


Neal 1-1 2-4 4, Hawkison 7-12 2-3 17, Brown 2-7 1-2 6, Pettus 6-8 3-4 15, Morris 7-13 1-3 15, Tucker 2-4 3-4 7, Carneige 0-1 0-0 0, Ott 0-2 0-0 0, Mackey 0-1 0-0 0, Pryor 0-0 0-0 0, Backus 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-49 (51%) 12-20 (60%) 64.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 4-21 (Walker 2-11, Taylor 2-5, T.Trotter 0-5, S.Trotter 0-1), North Little Rock 2-13 (Brown 1-5, Hawkison 1-4, Tucker 0-2, Morris 0-1, Ott 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 17, North Little Rock 16. Rebounds: Bryant 7-14 21 (Martin 3-4 7, T.Trotter 2-1 3, Gordon 2-1 3, Walker 0-2 2, Baker 0-2 2, S.Trotter 0-1, team 0-3 3), North Little Rock 14-26 40 (Morris 2-6 8, Neal 4-2 6, Pettus 4-2 6, Hawkison 0-5 5, Brown 1-4 5, Carneige 2-1 3, Tucker 0-1 1, Backus 0-1 1, team 1-4 5). Team fouls: Bryant 15, North Little Rock 20. Technical fouls: North Little Rock (substitution), North Little Rock (bench).

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