PEARCY — With 25 seconds left to play, Allison Steen grabbed the rebound off a teammate’s missed shot and scored to give the Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team a 21-20 lead over the Lake Hamilton Lady Wolves, who came into the game on Tuesday night, unbeaten in Central Arkansas Junior High Conference play and tied for first place.
Lake Hamilton called a timeout with :09 on the clock to set up a last-second shot.
“We got the ball out of their best player’s hands,” recounted Bryant coach Nathan Castaldi. “When she tried to take it back, we went for the ball too and a foul was called.”
Two free throws put the Lady Wolves back on top, 22-21 with :04 to go.
“We got a really good look from about 16 feet that was just short,” Castaldi related.
So Lake Hamilton survived with the one-point win over the resurgent Lady Hornet, who appear to be peaking at the right time with three home games left on their schedule ahead of the conference championship tournament in Russellville on Feb. 17.
“ I could not have been proud of the way the girls played,” Castaldi stated. “The girls executed our game plan perfectly. Defensively we played outstanding. We held them to 3 points in a half and only 7 points through three quarters.
“We knew that Lake Hamilton would make a run and we did a good job answering their run in the fourth,” he added. “I thought we did a good job the last minute or so of scrambling on defense and giving ourselves a chance to win. I thought our look at the end was about as good as we could’ve gotten. It looked good, just a little short.”
Bryant led 4-3 after the first quarter and held Lake Hamilton scoreless in the second quarter, building the lead to 9-3. It was 11-7 going into the final stanza.
Meagan Chism led the Lady Hornets with 8 points. Kalia Walker added 5. Steen and Mary Catherine Selig scored 4 each.
The Lady Hornets came into the game off back-to-back wins over Conway Blue and Mount St. Mary Academy.
“We talked after the Mount game about gaining momentum and the team moving in the right direction and I think we still are,” Castaldi asserted. “The girls were upset after the game for obvious reasons, but we played well and have to turn our attention to Russellville on Thursday.”