February 27 in Bryant athletic history: 2010

Lady Hornets clinch second place, bye at State with late surge to beat Central

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continue posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

By Rob Patrick

LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant Lady Hornets’ seniors just know how to win.

Though they trailed the Little Rock Central Lady Tigers for most of their 7A-Central Conference game at the sweat box also known as the Tiger Den, the Lady Hornets found a way to extract a 47-42 win. The fact that they held the Lady Tigers to just 2 points over the final six minutes of the game was integral.

“I felt like, through the whole course of the game, they never looked like they expected anything other than we were going to win,” Bryant head coach Blake Condley said of his players. “They were the same start to finish, no panic, no frustrations. We just kept doing what we’ve been doing.

“Central didn’t give us anything tonight,” he noted. “We had to work and earn it. Central played real hard. They were aggressive. I thought they did a lot of good things. We just had to fight through that in order to be able to win.”

As a result of the victory, the Lady Hornets will be the No. 2 seed from the league to the Class 7A State Tournament in Van Buren. They’ve earned a first-round bye and they won’t run into the unbeaten Central champs from North Little Rock until the finals, if they can get there.[more]

They’ll need two wins to do that. The first will have to come in a game on Thursday at 7 p.m., against the winner of the first-round contest between Fort Smith Northside, the No. 3 seed from the West, and Van Buren, the 6 seed from the Central. If they can win that, they’ll probably face defending State champion Fayetteville, once again the top seed from the West.

It won’t be easy, obviously, but, as Lady Hornets’ coach Blake Condley pointed out, the team has played well in close games down the stretch.

“The last four games we’ve played, to me, State tournament-type games,” he explained. “We’ve played the best teams in the league. They’ve been close games and we’ve had to fight hard to be able to win. I feel like that has us ready, hopefully, to go and play well next week.

“It’s great to get a bye into the second round,” he added. “We’ll be able to scout the first-round game that we get the winner of.”

The Lady Hornets trailed by as much as 8 points in the first half and didn’t gain their first lead until midway through the third.

With 6:08 to play, Central’s Lesley Craft’s 3-pointer had her team ahead 40-36. The Lady Tigers had two chances to add onto that but came up empty. So, when Hannah Goshien drilled a 3 for Bryant at the 3:54 mark, it was a 1-point game.

Central’s Shawnesi Arnold, who led her team with 19 points at Bryant earlier this season, missed a shot at regaining the advantage. With 3:21 left, Alana Morris hit a jumper in the lane to give the Lady Hornets a 41-40 lead.

Three missed shots by the Lady Tigers set up the Lady Hornets and they took advantage as Morris found teammate Haley Montgomery along under the basket. With 2:18 left, Bryant had its largest lead of the game to that point, 3 points.

Craft had two cracks at changing the score. She missed a jumper inside but her teammate DeAndre Arline claimed the rebound and gave her a second chance from 3-point range. The carom came out long and, in a crowd, Bryant’s Abbi Stearns got enough of it to tip it out further to Montgomery who took off for the other end then pulled up short of the lane so the Lady Hornets could run some clock and make Central chase.

With 1:12 showing, Stearns was fouled but she missed the front end. But Central’s hopes of tying it ended when Kenzee Calley made a steal. The Lady Hornets worked the clock down to :40.8 before Goshien was fouled. Despite a Central timeout between her shots, she calmly sank them both to make it a two-possession game at 45-40.

Montgomery followed up with a steal and she was fouled with :23.7 to go. A rare miss from the senior guard on the first shot left everybody standing for a moment, not realizing it was a one-and-one and not a two-shot foul. Stearns was the only one to play the ball so she grabbed the rebound. But, because she was uncontested in a typically rugged 7A-Central atmosphere, she hesitated. Despite the delayed reaction, the Lady Tigers converged and blocked Stearns shot.

Arnold kept her team’s hopes alive with a jumper, just her second basket of the game. Central called timeout with :14.6 showing.

On the inbounds play, the Lady Hornets tried to get behind the aggressive Lady Tigers’ press. Stearns chased down the long rebound and started to go to the hoop but her shot was topped resulting in a held ball.

Fortunately, it was Bryant’s possession and with :10.4 left, Montgomery put the game out of reach with her two free throws.

Morris finished with 16 points, Montgomery 11. Goshien and Stearns each had 9.

Craft paced the Lady Tigers with 14. Jayla Tucker added 9.

“I’ll be honest with you, I felt like our game plan, what we wanted to do, worked the whole game but Central hit some shots early that, I think, are uncharacteristic of their team,” Condley commented. “We got to halftime and I told the girls, just stay with what we’re doing, focus in on it. We wanted to keep their best player (Arnold) from getting touches and we held her to (4) points. I thought that was huge. We rotated some different girls on her. Then we wanted to try to keep them from getting to the rim. And I thought, for the most part, we did a good job of that.”

Bryant was within 10-8 early but the Lady Tigers pushed the margin to 15-8 before Calley canned a jumper in the final 30 seconds to make it 15-10.

Tucker and Morris traded baskets to start the second period then, when Drucilla Caster pumped in a 3, the Lady Tigers had their largest lead of the night 20-12.

Bryant rallied. Montgomery hit a pair of free throws and Stearns hit one. Montgomery drained a 15-foot jumper then, after blocking a shot and grabbing the rebound, Stearns converted a pair of free throws that had the lead down to 20-19.

It was 24-22 at the half.

The Lady Tigers were just 3 of 9 at the free-throw line in the game and Tucker missed one to start the second half. Her second shot fell but was wiped out due to a lane violation. So, when Morris hit a driving jumper, the game was tied at 24.

Arnold’s first basket of the game followed. Morris countered with a layup and, after a Central miss, Stearns converted twice at the line to give the Lady Hornets their first lead.

The teams traded points the rest of the third quarter. On a follow shot by Stearns and two free throws by Goshien, the Lady Hornets were up 32-28. But Craft was fouled while draining a 3 from the corner and when she converted at the line, the game was tied back up in a hurry.

Arline scored but Morris answered. And when Brooke Parish fed Goshien for a layup with :41 left in the period, Bryant was up 36-34.

Britany Leonard had a chance to tie it back up but missed the second of her two free throws with :28 left and the Lady Hornets had the lead going into the final period.

But a basket by Jamie Ruffins and a 3 by Craft had Central ahead 40-36 setting up the game-winning surge by the Lady Hornets.


Score by quarters

BRYANT 10 12 14 11 — 47

Central 15 9 11 7 — 42

LADY HORNETS (23-4, 11-3) 47

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts


Montgomery 3-7 5-7 1-4 5 2 11

Goshien 2-3 4-4 2-7 9 1 9

Calley 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 4 2

Stearns 2-8 5-7 3-3 6 3 9

Morris 8-12 0-0 2-4 6 0 16

Parish 0-0 0-0 1-2 3 3 0

Johnson 0-2 0-0 1-2 3 3 0

Team 1-4 5

Totals 16-34 14-18 11-26 37 16 47

LADY TIGERS (13-15, 6-8) 42

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts


Arnold 2-10 0-0 1-2 3 5 4

Craft 5-16 1-1 1-1 2 2 14

Arline 1-3 0-0 2-2 4 3 2

Tucker 4-12 0-2 6-3 9 3 9

Ruffins 3-8 1-1 0-2 2 3 7

Leonard 1-4 1-2 1-0 1 2 3

Flood 0-0 0-1  0-2 2 1 0

Caster 1-3 0-2 1-0 1 1 3

Team 2-1 3

Totals 17-56 3-9 14-13 27 20 42

Three-point field goals: Bryant 1-5 (Goshien 1-2, Johnson 0-2, Montgomery 0-1), LR Central 5-17 (Craft 3-9, Tucker 1-4, Caster 1-1, Arnold 0-2, Ruffins 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 17, LR Central 10.

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