Lady Hornets’ first-half struggles lead to setback to Bentonville

BENTONVILLE — With the revised schedule of the Crabtree Invitational Classic, the Bryant Lady Hornets wound up facing the host Bentonville Lady Tigers right off the bat on Thursday night. And it took them a little while to get their bearings as Bentonville piled up a 27-6 lead by halftime on the way to a 48-23 win.

The second quarter proved to be the Lady Hornets’ downfall. They trailed just 12-6 at the first break but couldn’t get anything to go in the second quarter.

In the second half, the Lady Tigers’ advantage was just 21-17.

“They were very aggressive and I thought we were on our heels a little bit,” said Bryant head coach Brad Matthews. “We didn’t match their aggressiveness. We let their aggressiveness get us out of our comfort zone.

“The second half, I thought we were a little bit more aggressive, taking it at them a little bit more when they were aggressive. It was a little bit better,” he related.

Raven Loveless, Kendal Rogers and Deja Rayford accounted for Bryant’s first-half points. Loveless finished the game with 6 points, Kelly Williams 5 and Mary Catherine Selig 4. Rogers, Kalia Walker, Lania Ratliff and Rayford wound up with 2 each.

“Bentonville’s a really good team,” Matthews said. “By far the best team we’ve played yet. That’s what we hope we get again to day in Clarksville.”
Tip-off for the game is 3:30 this afternoon. The Lady Hornets wrap up the event on Saturday morning at 8 a.m., played early so the Wynne team can get back to Little Rock for the Class 5A State championship football game.

“What our kids need is reps and reps and reps and reps against good teams that put us in position to grow,” Matthews continued.

“We were just a little timid,” he reflected regarding Thursday’s game. “Bentonville’s really good in transition. We did a poor job in transition defense. We gave up probably 20 of their points in transition. Something, obviously, we’ve got to go back and work on in practice.

“The second half, I thought we did some things offensively that we hadn’t done yet so hopefully that’s a good sign as we head into the next game,” he said.

The Lady Hornets scored the first 5 points of the second half but couldn’t whittle the lead any further the rest of the way.

Lauren Hargis led Bentonville with 13 points. Abby Roberts and Avery Hughes each had 10.

“Once we got them in the half-court, we were able to hold our own a little bit,” Matthews mentioned. “We played much better than we did against Greenbrier, that’s for sure. Our intensity was better. It’s just that we came out in the first quarter or quarter and a half, they were playing man and just getting all up in us and we didn’t handle it very well.

“That’s just something we haven’t seen yet,” he added. “So it’s good. Hopefully we’ll see that again (against Clarksville). It’s opportunities to learn from it. You can do it all you want in practice but there’s a different comfort level when you get out there in a game.”

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