For more photos of this event by Rick Nation, go here
Consistency is usually the last thing to take hold for a young team and, when most of your players are sophomores and only one junior has much varsity experience, that’s going to be — well, it’s how the Bryant Lady Hornets can scored 20 points in the third quarter and just 5 in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Hornets, playing without starting guard Ty Robinson, were 0-for-12 from the field in the fourth against the rival Benton Lady Panthers on Tuesday night at the annual Saline County Shootout, yet it took a basket by Kati Morrow with :12 left to play to give her team a 47-45 lead.
Bryant rushed the ball up the floor and had two shots from inside 8 feet at the buzzer but neither would fall as disappointment stung the Lady Hornets again.
It was their second loss of two points or less in the last week as they work to find their stride and some consistency for the 2017-18 season.
Now 3-6, the Lady Hornets will be off until they play Batesville Southside on Thursday, Dec. 28, at a holiday tournament in Beebe.
Tierra Trotter’s scoop shot rolled off the rim but there was time for Ivory Russ to rebound it. But her shot went high off the glass and off the side of the rim as Benton survived with the two-point victory.
Even with their struggled from the field, the Lady Hornets had the upper hand for most of the fourth quarter. They were up 43-35 going into the final five minutes. Behind Makenzy Davidson, Benton rallied but it wasn’t until the 1:39 mark that the game was tied at 43 on a driving jumper by Davidson.
With 1:31 to go, Trotter was fouled going to the basket and connected on both free throws to put the Lady Hornets ahead by two. At the other end, however, Bryant’s defense broke down and Italei Gray hit a pull-up jumper in the lane to knot it back up.
Bryant then had three shots to regain the lead. India Atkins got inside but her shot rimmed out. She hustled for the rebound and followed but the lid remained on the hoop. The carom came out to Kalia Walker who tried a 10-foot jumper but it refused to go as well.
After a timeout, with :37.9 left, Benton worked its offense until Morrow found an opening right down the lane and scored to provide what proved to be the winning bucket.
Davidson and Gray each had 17 points in the game. Morrow finished with 7 to account for 41 of Benton’s 47 points.
For Bryant, Trotter finished with 14 points. Walker had 12 and Celena Martin 9 to go with a game-high nine rebounds.
The Lady Hornets out-boarded the Lady Panthers 37-32 with 21 at the offensive end. They also forced 18 turnovers while committing 13. All of which resulted Bryant attempting a whopping 55 shots to Benton’s 38. But only 11 of those 55 found the mark, 20 percent shooting.
Bryant scored the game’s first 5 points on a 3 from Martin and a stickback by Trotter. It wasn’t until the game was halfway through the first quarter that Benton managed its first field goal, a layup by Anna Davis.
Unfortunately for the Lady Hornets, they had not been able to add to that first 5 points. But Trotter hit a 3 to make it 8-4.
Benton tied it at 8 but Walker hit a 15-footer then added a pair of free throws before Gray scored in the final seconds of the period to cut the Lady Hornets’ lead to 12-10.
Bryant then went cold from the field, converting just 1 of 14 field-goal attempts in the second quarter. The Lady Panthers surged to a 19-12 advantage before Martin scored that lone basket. Two free throws by Atkins trimmed the margin to 19-16 before Gray hit a freebie and Morrow canned a trey and Benton found itself up 27-20 at the half.
It was 31-21 early in the third quarter before Walker splashed a 3. Davidson hit two free throws to make it 33-24 then Bryant went on a 14-0 run to take the lead. Martin scored inside then Walker hit another triple off a steal by Martin. She made another theft that led to two free throws by Russ, making it 33-31.
Kennedy Stringfellow misfired on a 3 for Benton and Walker was fouled on the way to the bucket. Her free throws tied it with 3:16 left in the third.
Atkins buried a 3 off a drive and dish by Trotter to give Bryant its first lead since the end of the first quarter.
After a Benton timeout, Russ and Trotter combined on a steal but Russ couldn’t get her shot to go as she drove through traffic. Davidson missed and Trotter drove for a hoop to make it 38-33. Davidson and Trotter traded baskets in the final seconds and the Lady Hornets had a 40-35 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Trotter then converted four free throws over a 20-second span early in the fourth quarter that built the lead up to 43-35. But, over the final 5:20, the Lady Hornets only added Trotter’s free throws at the 1:31 mark.
LADY PANTHERS 47, LADY HORNETS 45
Score by quarter
Benton 10 17 8 12 — 47
BRYANT 12 8 20 5 — 45
LADY PANTHERS 47
Gray 5-10 7-9 17, Davis 1-4 0-0 2, Morrow 3-5 0-0 7, Davidson 7-16 3-4 17, Ginther 0-1 2-2 2, Stringfellow 0-1 0-0 0, Riley 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 16-38 (42%) 14-17 (82%) 47.
LADY HORNETS 45
T.Trotter 4-17 5-6 14, Walker 3-12 4-4 12, Atkins 1-8 3-4 6, Martin 3-5 2-4 9, Gordon 0-0 2-2 2, Taylor 0-5 0-0 0, Russ 0-6 2-3 2, Baker 0-2 0-0 0, Scifres 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-55 (20%) 18-23 (78%) 45.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 5-24 (Walker 2-9, Trotter 1-9, Atkins 1-1, Martin 1-1, Taylor 0-3, Baker 0-1), Benton 1-7 (Morrow 1-2, Davidson 0-2, Gray 0-1, Davis 0-1, Stringfellow 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 13, Benton 18. Rebounds: Bryant 21-16 37 (Martin 4-5 9, Atkins 5-2 7, Trotter 2-2 4, Russ 2-2 4, Walker 2-1 3, Gordon 2-1 3, Taylor 1-0 1, Scifres 0-1 1, team 3-2 5), Benton 9-23 32 (Riley 3-6 9, Davidson 0-8, Gray 1-4 5, Davis 2-2 4, Ginther 2-0 2, Morrow 0-2 2, team 1-1 2). Team fouls: Bryant 18, Benton 17.