Lady Hornets collect second conference victory at Lady Pointers’ expense
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 continueposting 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
VAN BUREN — It kind of tells where the Bryant Lady Hornets have evolved to when, after a 40-30 win over the Lady Pointers at Van Buren’s Clair Bates Arena, the talk turned to how the Lady Hornets didn’t play up to their usual standards.
“I feel like that’s kind of where we put the expectations,” noted Lady Hornets coach Blake Condley. “I mean, we expect this group to play well. And the girls expect themselves to play well. They expect a lot out of themselves. It’s not just good enough to win, they want to play well when they win.”
It didn’t seem like the Lady Hornets were ever really threatened. Van Buren, however, worked to shorten the game with patience on offense and a packed-in 2-3 zone defense.
“They’re so well-coached,” Condley said. “They’re going to do exactly what Coach (Merrill) Mankin wants them to do. They’re going to execute their game plan. Honestly, I just think we were the better team tonight. But give them credit. They handled our pressure pretty well and they stayed with what they wanted to do, packing that zone and protecting the basket.
“It was like we didn’t play the whole 32 minutes and that’s one of the things we’ve got to work on,” he continued. “With a group of seniors, they should know, we’ve got to play 32 minutes worth.
“We’d get steals and miss wide-open layups or we’d have a girl cutting to the basket wide open but we wouldn’t make the fundamentally sound pass,” the coach illustrated. “We’d let Van Buren get a hand on it. If we can deliver that pass and we can score, and the lead gets a little bit bigger and we get into our press and you know how those runs happen.”
The Lady Hornets were able to force 23 turnovers and even when they didn’t, Van Buren had to use a lot of energy to get the ball across midcourt. They’d settle into their offense and have to work and work to find shots. When they did, they converted just 10 of 38 from the field (26 percent).
Van Buren broke out to a 7-2 lead nonetheless and had a chance to increase the margin before Haley Montgomery made the first of her five steals in the game and Kenzee Calley hit the offensive boards to score.
Another Bryant turnover was cashed in by Shanika Johnson, who nailed the first of her three 3-pointers to tie the game 7-7. It stayed that way until Alana Morris hit a free throw with 1:08 left in the quarter to put the Lady Hornets ahead for good.
Calley took a kick-out pass from Abbi Stearns and, on one of her patented high-arcing shots, got nothing but net from 15-feet out. Moments later, Hannah Goshien added a pair of free throws to make it 12-7.
And the Lady Hornets came up with consecutive steals by Brooke Parish and Calley but didn’t turn them into points. So, when Van Buren’s Mallory Brown hit a stickback with 4:58 left in the half, the margin was down to 3.
That, however, proved to be the only Van Buren basket of the quarter. Bryant finished the half with a 10-0 run that extended to 12-0 when Goshien started the second half with a free throw.
In the interim, Johnson drained a 3 and, off an assist by Montgomery, Stearns produced an old-fashioned three-point play. And when Montgomery fed Goshien for a layup to make it 20-9, Van Buren needed a timeout with 1:09 left.
When play resumed, Keri Arnold misfired and before the half was over, Stearns fed Morris inside where she was fouled. Her free throws set the halftime score, 22-9.
After trailing by 14, the Lady Pointers trimmed the margin to 8 midway through the third quarter as Bryant went into a bit of a dry spell. But Goshien assisted on another jumper from the corner by Calley and Johnson followed up with her three triple to get the Lady Hornets going again.
The lead was eventually up to 32-17, the largest difference of the game, before the Lady Pointers’ Alyssa Harris beat the buzzer ending the third quarter with a 3.
Montgomery answered with a 3 to start the fourth quarter to get the margin back to 15.
Van Buren began to whittle on the lead, kind of lulling the Lady Hornets to sleep. A full minute passed between Arnold’s jumper and two free throws by Jammie Jones. Then another passed before Kirbey Blake hit a 12-footer to get her team within 9.
After a Bryant miss, the Lady Pointers had two chances to get closer. The first was foiled by Stearns, who blocked a shot by Arnold. (It was the junior center’s fifth blocked shot of the night.) She gathered the deflection but a turnover ensued to give Van Buren another shot. Montgomery, however, spoiled that with a steal and layup.
Brown cut the lead to 9 with 3:48 left but Calley hit a free throw and Parish added a layup off a nice feed from Morris and the Lady Hornets finished out the win.
Calley and Johnson each finished with 9 points to lead all scorers. Morris had 7, Montgomery and Goshien 5 each, Stearns 3 and Parish 2.
And, by winning with a 10-point margin, the Lady Hornets maintained the maximum differential that might later be used to determine ties in the conference standings.
“I’m just glad we won the game,” Condley stated. “Now we can go on and continue working to get better. We’re by no means close to peaking yet. We’re still not playing great. Hopefully, we can keep getting better over the next six weeks and be peaking at the right time.”
That would mean a return to Van Buren and Clair Bates Arena for the Class 7A State Tournament.
Bryant, which improved to 14-1 overall and 2-0 in the league, hosts Russellville on Friday. Van Buren, 7-9 and 0-2, hosts Mount St. Mary’s.
LADY HORNETS 40, LADY POINTERS 30
Score by quarters
BRYANT 8 14 10 8 — 40
Van Buren 7 2 11 10 — 30
LADY HORNETS (14-1, 2-0) 40
Player fg-fta ft-fta reb fls pts
Montgomery 2-4 0-0 1-0 1 3 5
Goshien 1-6 3-4 2-2 4 0 5
Calley 4-6 1-2 2-3 5 0 9
Stearns 1-4 1-1 1-1 2 3 3
Morris 2-4 3-4 2-4 6 3 7
Parish 1-3 0-0 2-1 3 0 2
Johnson 3-9 0-0 0-1 1 1 9
Team 0-1 1
Totals 14-36 8-11 10-13 23 10 40
LADY POINTERS (7-9, 0-2) 30
Player fg-fta ft-fta reb fls pts
Arnold 2-14 2-2 0-5 5 0 7
Blake 3-11 2-2 1-0 1 4 8
Harris 2-3 0-0 0-1 1 1 5
Jones 0-1 2-2 2-4 6 3 2
Brown 3-9 2-2 5-2 7 2 8
Richeson 0-0 0-0 2-0 2 0 0
Tucker 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
Team 3-2 5
Totals 10-38 8-8 13-14 27 11 30
Three-point field goals: Bryant 4-13 (Johnson 3-7, Montgomery 1-2, Goshien 0-4), Van Buren 2-9 (Arnold 1-5, Harris 1-2, Blake 0-1, Brown 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 16, Van Buren 23.