By Rob Patrick
SHERIDAN — At halftime of their game Thursday night, the unbeaten Bryant Lady Hornets, tops in the South Division of the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference, trailed the Sheridan Lady Stingers, the league’s last-place team, 16-15.
Not surprisingly, things changed in the second half.
Whether it was something head coach Eric Andrews said at the half or the fact that the Lady Stingers had gotten the Lady Hornets’ attention or a little of both, Bryant came out and held Sheridan scoreless in the third quarter and to just 4 points in the second half as they surged to a 39-20 win.[more]
They are now 19-0 overall, 9-0 in the division going into a home game against Mount St. Mary Academy of Little Rock on Monday, Jan. 25.
And it’s an indication of just how impressive at least that 9-0 is that Sheridan, though holding up the rest of the league, played so tough.
The Lady Stingers got three of the Bryant starters in foul trouble in the first half which helped even though that only translated into a 2-for-5 production at the free-throw line.
The game was called pretty close in the first half and, with the foul trouble, the Lady Hornets were forced to tone down their pressure defense. They gave it another shot in the second half and wound up only being charged with three teams fouls while forcing 11 turnovers, bumping Sheridan's turnover total to 19.
The Lady Hornets struggled to hit shots in the first half, though. They were 7 of 21 at intermission and they’d been out-rebounded 13-6.
Even then, the Lady Stingers didn’t manage a lead until late in the half.
The game was tied at 4 early before McKenzie Adams scored off a feed from Courtney Davidson to give Bryant the lead. McKenzie Rice, making her first start fo the season, followed with a steal and a layup to make it 8-4.
And despite the fact that point guard Kiara Moore and Adams both picked up their second fouls before the end of the quarter, Bryant maintained a 10-6 lead thanks to a buzzer-beating layup by Logan Davis.
But Sheridan’s Lauren Mitchell and Josey Love knocked down consecutive 3’s to start the second to give their team the lead. Adams tied it with a pull-up jumper but a bankshot by Rochelle Aguilar kept the Lady Stingers on top. Rice hit a free throw but Love scored off a drive up the baseline to make it 16-13. Adams, on her way to game-high 17 points, cut it to 16-15 before the end of the half.
Bryant then outscored Sheridan 13-0 in the third quarter, limiting the Lady Stingers to just five field goal attempts and forcing six turnovers during the period.
Moore, back after sitting most of the game to that point, drove the right side of the lane for the first bucket of the half, putting the Lady Hornets ahead.
Adams followed with a three-point play, Davidson made a steal that eventually led to her 3-point basket and a 23-16 lead. Rice added a free throw and, after the Lady Stingers were unable to inbound the ball against the Bryant press, Rice took a feed from Adams on the subsequent inbounds play and drained a jumper from the corner. In the final minute, Rice made a nice pass inside to Lauren Buck for a basket, making it 28-16.
Love opened the fourth-quarter scoring and broke Sheridan’s drought but the Lady Stingers would manage just one more field goal the rest of the game, a jumper by Mikala Kelley with 2:27 left.
Adams, however, drilled a 3 in response and baskets by Davidson and Moore wrapped up the scoring.
LADY HORNETS 39, LADY STINGERS 20
Score by quarters
BRYANT 10 5 13 11 — 39
Sheridan 6 10 0 4 — 20
LADY HORNETS 39
Moore 4-7 0-0 8, Adams 6-14 4-7 17, Davidson 2-7 0-0 5, Rice 2-6 1-2 5, Meyer 0-0 0-0 0, Davis 1-3 0-0 2, Buck 1-1 0-0 2, Murphy 0-0 0-0 0, Scarlett 0-0 0-0 0, Combs 0-0 0-0 0, Henderson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-38 5-9 39.
LADY STINGERS 20
Mitchell 1-2 0-0 3, Love 4-9 2-4 11, Kelley 1-3 0-0 2, Aguilar 2-6 0-0 4, Hubble 0-2 0-1 0, Clothier 0-0 0-0 0, Rowland 0-1 0-0 0, Clark 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 8-24 2-5 20.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 2-4 (Davidson 1-2, Adams 1-1, Davis 0-1), Sheridan 2-5 (Love 1-2, Mitchell 1-1, Aguilar 0-1, Rowland 0-1). Rebounds: Bryant 17 (Davidson 5, Adams 3), Sheridan 24 (Hubble 9). Turnovers: Bryant 4, Sheridan 19. Total fouls: Bryant 11, Sheridan 10.