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FORT SMITH — With 3:37 left in the third quarter, Bryant Lady Hornets senior Riley Hill splashed a 3-pointer — her third of the game — putting her team ahead of the Fort Smith Southside Mavericks girls, 30-27.
But for the rest of the quarter, the Lady Hornets were unable to score, much of the time trading turnovers with the Mavericks. Southside’s Montana Smith hit a tying 3 at the 3:14 to go in the quarter then neither team scored until Hannah Rainwater poured in a 3 with :50 left to put her team ahead 33-30.
The Lady Hornets’s frustrations were illustrated by the fact that between those two 3’s, they had six possessions with nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. Turnovers and missed shots plagued them.
And they couldn’t get to the free-throw line. After hitting 3 of 6 from the charity stripe in the first quarter, Bryant attempted just one free throw the rest of the entire game.
The fourth quarter began with a basket on a post-up jumper by Lynley Sharum as the Mavericks went inside with the Lady Hornets switching from their 3-2 zone to man-to-man, hoping to slow down Southside’s long-range shooting.
A short jumper by Kalia Walker off a feed from Mary Catherine Selig cut the 5-point margin to 3 and, off a Southside turnover, Walker pulled up off a drive into the lane and canned a jumper.
That had the Lady Hornets within 35-34 with 6:53 left and it looked like it was anybody’s game.
But that was the last Bryant basket. Southside didn’t fare much better but a layup by Kelly Carson with 3:14 left to play and a free throw by Carson with :38.2 left, provided some padding as the Mavericks escaped with a 38-34 victory.
The Lady Hornets missed their last 10 shots from the field. The toughest sequence came when they were still just one point down. They had a trip in which they missed four shots, each by a different player.
In turn, Southside misfired but Bryant turned the ball back over. Selig combined with Allison Steen on a steal to give the Lady Hornets another chance but a turnover resulted. Steen and Hill combined to force a turnover but, the Lady Hornets lost the ball again. Steen made a steal but, once again, a turnover cost them, leading to Carson’s basket, which was the only field goal by either team in that last 6:53.
Bryant head coach Brad Matthews called timeout to set up a play but, when they resumed, a 3-pointer by Kelly Williams that looked true, rimmed out. Selig rebounded but, moments later, another turnover burned the Lady Hornets.
They got another shot to trim the margin by forcing a Southside miscue. A foul against the Mavericks resulted in another futile trip to the free-throw line with 1:56 left.
Carson hit her free throw with 0:38 remaining, making it a two-possession game.
In the final :17.7, the Lady Hornets attempted four shots, coming up empty on all of them as Southside held on.
It was a rugged loss for Bryant, which led much of the game seeking its first 7A-Central Conference win. Southside improved to 2-1 in the league.
Carson paced the Mavericks with 10 points. Montana Smith added 9 on a trio of 3’s. Sharum finished with 8 points and Rainwater 7.
For Bryant, Selig, a sophomore, finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Hill had 9 points.
The Lady Hornets finished with a 39-28 advantage on the boards. Lania Ratliff and Steen each had seven caroms.
A three-point play by Sharum started the contest but then the Lady Hornets went on a 9-0 run to gain the upper hand. Kendal Rogers started the surge at the free-throw line. Later, he capped it off with a following shot.
In between, Selig converted twice at the line with Rogers and Ratliff each pitching in with field goals.
Two free throws by Carson ended the run and it was 9-5 going into the second quarter.
Though Rogers started the scoring in that period off a nice feed from Walker, Southside began to find the range from beyond the three-point arc. Three’s by Carson and Smith helped the Mavericks surge past Bryant.
Though down 16-11, the Lady Hornets rallied. Rogers fed Selig and, after a Southside free throw, Hill drained a 3 making it 17-16.
Moments later, Southside was leading 21-18. Selig started the rally with an offensive-rebound bucket, clipping the lead to 1. With :01 left, Rogers grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, giving the Lady Hornets a 22-21 advantage at the break.
Bryant maintained an edge in the third quarter as Hill hit her second triple. Though Smith countered with a 3 and Rainwater hit a free throw to tie it, Selig followed her own miss by canning a jumper in the lane. Sharum scored to make it 27-27 and it stayed that score for two minutes of the game as both teams scrambled.
That dry spell ended with Hill’s third 3 that produced the Lady Hornets’ last lead.
Bryant will be back at home this Friday when conference rival Cabot pays a visit.
MAVERICKS 38, LADY HORNETS 34
Score by quarters
BRYANT 9 13 8 4 — 34
Southside 5 16 12 5 — 38
LADY HORNETS (3-12, 0-3) 34
Ratliff 1-2 0-0 2, Williams 1-12 0-0 2, Selig 4-10 4-8 12, Hill 3-5 0-0 9, Rogers 2-5 1-2 5, Walker 2-5 0-0 4, Steen 0-5 0-0 0, Adams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-44 5-10 34.
MAVERICKS (6-9, 2-1) 38
Carson 3-16 3-4 10, Smith 3-5 0-0 9, Lockhart 0-0 0-0 0, Rainwater 1-2 4-5 7, Sharum 3-10 2-5 8, Hernandez 1-5 0-0 2, Schmidt 0-1 0-0 0, Klock 0-2 0-0 0, Soder 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 12-42 9-14 38.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 3-8 (Hill 3-4, Williams 0-2, Rogers 0-1, Walker 0-1), Southside 5-14 (Smith 3-5, Carson 1-7, Rainwater 1-2). Turnovers: Bryant 21, Southside 16. Rebounds: Bryant 16-23 39 (Selig 6-5 11, Steen 4-3 7, Ratliff 1-6 7, Rogers 1-2 3, Walker 1-2 3, Hill 1-1 2, Williams 2-0 2, team 0-4 4), Southside 9-19 28 (Sharum 4-3 7, Rainwater 1-4 5, Hernandez 1-4 5, Lockhard 0-3 3, Carson 1-0 1, Schmidt 1-0 1, Klock 0-1 1, team 1-4 5). Team fouls: Bryant 13, Southside 15.