Lady Hornets frosh sew up regular-season championship with 23rd win

By Rob Patrick

It’s a testament, really, to the Cabot South Lady Panthers freshman team that despite going undefeated through the South Division of the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference, it took the Bryant Lady Hornets until the second-to-last game of the league schedule to clinch the conference championship.

Cabot South has lost just three games all season and two of them have been at the hands of the Lady Hornets who improved to 23-0 on the season with the title-clinching 35-26 win over the Lady Panthers on Thursday, Feb. 4.

Phenomenally, it was the first game all season that Bryant did not win by double figures. The closest games prior to Thursday were a 47-34 win at Cabot South on Jan. 7 and a 32-19 win at home over Benton on Jan. 11.[more]

Bryant will try to close out an unbeaten regular season against the rival Benton Lady Panthers at Benton on Monday, Feb. 8. The CAJHC post-season tournament, which brings together the teams from the North Divison and the South Division, will commence in Sheridan on Saturday, Feb. 13.

“It means a lot, it means a lot to the kids,” said Lady Hornets coach Eric Andrews of his team’s accomplishment, “but this group of kids, they’re pretty focused on what they want to get done. I congratulated them after the game and I just sat there and looked at them and they just kept that same look on their faces. Then a couple of them spoke up and said, ‘We’re not done yet.’ I like that attitude. That’s a nice thing to hear. And whenever those kids are focused like that, they can do anything they want to.”

About Cabot South, Andrews added, “We knew going into the game, they’re a very good team. They’re not just any old team walking into our gym. We knew we had to respect their game and play ours.”

It was not easy. In fact, just over two minutes into the second half, the Lady Hornets were clinging to a 20-19 lead. Andrews called a timeout and got his team’s attention.

“We just talked about increasing our intensity on defense,” he recalled. “They were setting a lot of ball screens to get their good players open. We had to have other players do a good job of helping off on those screens, not giving them open looks. Once we started doing that, we started giving up a few offensive rebounds. After that timeout, we kind of woke up a little bit. We started crashing the boards hard, taking care of the ball once we got it, and executing on offense.”

It helped that the Lady Hornets got some big baskets from the outside from Logan Davis, Lauren Buck and a hustling follow shot after a miss from outside by Courtney Davidson over the next few minutes to burn Cabot South’s defense which was intent on slowing down leading scorer, McKenzie Adams.

“Like so many other teams do, they put so much attention on McKenzie and shaded her all night,” Andrews explained. “They were in a 1-3-1 with the girl on the point of it, shading over on McKenzie’s side, trying to keep the ball away from her. Then whenever we threw the ball into the corner, the girl on the back of the 1-3-1 that would normally guard the corners, she stayed in the lane.

“But, when you’ve got a team like ours, we’ve got other people that can score,” he noted. “Logan’s been fighting the shin splints for a few weeks now but she’s feeling a lot better and she came up big tonight. I talked to her before the game and said, ‘Just get yourself into the rhythm of the game.’ And she did that perfect. She didn’t try to rush anything in the first half. She came out in the second half. They left her open and she hit some big shots to get us rolling again.

Adams still led the Lady Hornets with 11 points. Davis pitched in with 8, Davidson 7 and Kiara Moore 6.

“Kiara hit a big shot in the first half when they don’t come out and guard her,” Andrews noted. “We had several people step up. We had several score between 6 and 10 points. Whenever you do that, you’re pretty hard to guard. They can’t focus on just one person and stop us.”

Cabot’s Jaylin Bridges led all scorers with 14 but no one else for the Lady Panthers had more than 4.

Despite keeping it close into the third quarter, Cabot South never led. The teams were tied 4-4 but Davis knocked down a jumper from the corner and, after Bridges drew an offensive foul trying to fend off the defensive pressure by Adams, Davidson drove for a layup to make it 8-4.

After a timeout, Bridges cut it to 8-6 but that’s when Moore, left open in the left corner, gunned in a 3 to make it 11-6 going into the second period.

Adams scored two quick baskets to start the new quarter then Davidson got loose inside for a bucket that gave Bryant it’s first double-digit lead at 17-6.

But, behind Bridges’ aggressive drives to the hole, the Lady Panthers pulled within 18-15 by halftime.

And when Lauren Morris scored to start the second half, the Bryant lead was down to 1.

That’s when Davis initially stepped up, draining a jumper from just inside the 3-point line. Cabot’s Abbey Allgood answered a little too easily to suit Andrews who took a timeout at that point.

His team responded with its 10-0 run. Davis hit a 15-footer and, after a Cabot miss, Adams got loose in the left corner for a 3. Davis followed with a steal that led to another jumper from the wing, making it 27-19. Morris misfired at the other end and Davis rebounded. At the other end, Buck stepped out to knock down a jumper from right at the 3-point line to make it 29-19 going into the fourth quarter.

Moore added a free throw and, after Bridges scored, Davidson followed her own miss to make it 32-21 with 4:45 left.

A flurry of turnovers ensued until, with 2:33 to go, Bridges got a 3-pointer to go, trimming Bryant’s lead to 8. And, after a held ball went to Cabot South on alternating possessions, the Lady Panthers had a chance to get closer.

They couldn’t get a shot to go, however, and McKenzie Rice was fouled with 1:44 left. She converted one of her free throws. Adams followed up with a driving layup with 1:00 showing to put the game out of reach.


Score by quarters

Cabot South  6 9 4 7 — 26

BRYANT 11 7 11 6 — 35


Bridges 5-14 3-5 14, Morris 2-3 0-0 4, Allen 0-2 0-0 0, Allgood 2-4 0-0 4, Taylor 1-6 1-2 3, Strickland 0-1 1-2 1, Raveling 0-0 0-0 0, Ellison 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 10-31 5-9 26.


Moore 2-6 1-2 6, Adams 5-10 0-1 11, Davis 4-6 0-1 8, Davidson 3-9 1-2 7, Buck 1-6 0-0 2, Meyer 0-2 0-0 0, Rice 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 15-41 3-8 35.

Three-point field goals: Cabot South 1-5 (Bridges 1-5), Bryant 2-7 (Moore 1-2, Adams 1-1, Davidson 0-3, Buck 0-1). Rebounds: Cabot South 20, Bryant 30. Turnovers: Cabot South 13, Bryant 11. Team fouls: Cabot South 14, Bryant 15. Fouled out: Cabot South, Taylor.  

1 comment

  1. Rick Meyer

    Frosh Ladys awesome 23-0. You’ve stayed focused and have achieved your first goal. Great job. Look forward to watching you play throughout your Bryant high school career.

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