Lady Hornets halt Alma, snap skid

Desperately needing a win after four losses in row, including nail-biters at Siloam Springs (in overtime) and Russellville, the Bryant Lady Hornets put together a 24-3 run in the first half and never looked back on the way to a 58-31 victory over the Alma Airedalettes Tuesday night.

It was a make-up game after the original date on Friday, Jan. 22, was snowed out.

Raija Todd and Emily Ridgell combined for 39 points for the Lady Hornets who forced 24 Alma turnovers and out-rebounded the Airedalettes 43-30. Rachael Miller had nine boards, Kendall Rogers and Ridgell eight each.

“The grind of the conference season — we needed a win,” acknowledged Bryant coach Brad Matthews. “We played really well in the first half. I thought we rebounded well. We were able to get out in transition some. That kind of loosened us up a bit offensively. It was a good win.

“I thought we executed a little bit better, hit the boards a little bit better,” he added. “And when you get some easy baskets, you feel the rhythm; you feel some positivity. We had success early and success breeds success.”

Alma’s leading scorer was Alyssa Hoyle with 7 points. The Airedalettes, who usually depend on hitting 3-point shots, went just 4 of 19 from beyond the arc.

“They have three or four kids that have had games where they hit three, four, five 3’s,” Matthews related. “They have multiple kids that are capable. I thought we did a good job forcing them a little bit out of rhythm. And they didn’t shoot as well as they normally do.

“They were running some offensive stuff that we hadn’t played against lately,” he mentioned. “I thought once we kind of got into a rhythm guarding them, we were able to contest.”

Alma led 6-4 when Bryant’s game-breaking blitz began, extending all the way to the end of the first half. It started with a basket by Raven Loveless who nabbled a sweet bullet pass from Ridgell down the paint.

Todd followed with a driving jumper then drained a 3. After a series of turnovers, Ridgell beat the buzzer to end the quarter with a triple, making it 14-6.

After Miller blocked a shot on Alma’s end, Todd nailed another trey to start the second period. Sydney Dunbar managed a free throw but Ridgell scored off a drive to make it 19-7, capping a 15-1 surge.

Cassie Cochran scored Alma’s only field goal of the second quarter — and just the third of the half — at the 6:03 mark. It stayed 19-9 for over five minutes before Todd was fouled, went to the line and converted twice.

She would later hit a driving layup and two more free throws. Loveless knocked down a free throw then Miller hit a jump hook with :11 left in the half to give Bryant a commanding 28-9 lead.

Cochran had the first basket of the second half then Bryant got on a roll again. Rogers made a steal and earned a trip to the line for a free throw. Moments later, she fed Destiny Martin for a basket as the lead reached 20 points with 5:24 left in the third quarter.

After grabbing an offensive rebound, Rogers was fouled on the follow shot and converted twice at the stripe. A steal and layup by Ridgell and a free throw by Loveless capped off an 8-0 push that had the Lady Hornets up 36-11.

Tatum Willhite hit a 3 to get Alma going again but Todd and Ridgell each scored to extend the lead to its zenith, 40-14.

It was 43-17 going into the fourth quarter. Sparked by back-to-back 3’s from Kailey Fagan, the Airedalettes rallied a bit. Hoyle scored to make it 43-25, moving Matthews to call timeout.

Alma cut it to 16 on free throws by Abbye Ostrander and a bucket by Hoyle but that would be as close as it would get. Bryant hit 11 of 17 free throws in the fourth quarter, pushing the advantage back out to 27 at one point before both coaches emptied their benches.

The Lady Hornets, now 7-11 overall and 2-5 in 7A/6A-Central Conference play, will try to get a road win on Friday when they visit Greenwood. The Lady Bulldogs got by Bryant 51-42 in the conference opener for both teams on Jan. 8.

LADY HORNETS 58, AIREDALETTES 31

Score by quarters

Alma               6          3          8          15 — 31

BRYANT          14       14       15       15 — 58

AIREDALETTES (9-9, 2-5, 1-2) 31

Hoyle 3-5 1-3 7, Cochran 2-6 0-0 4, Ostrander 1-5 2-4 5, Tobler 0-2 0-0 0, Fagan 2-7 0-0 6, Dunbar 1-7 2-6 4, Collyar 0-1 0-0 0, Willhite 2-8 0-0 5, Bailey 0-0 0-2 0, Hoffsommer 0-0 1-2 1, Gray 0-3 0-0 0, Longmate 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-44 (25%) 6-17 (35%) 31.

LADY HORNETS (7-11, 2-5, 1-2) 58

Todd 6-14 6-8 20, Ridgell 5-18 8-12 19, Martin 2-4 0-3 4, Rogers 1-3 5-6 7, Miller 1-2 2-2 4, Loveless 1-2 2-6 4, Patton 0-0 0-0 0, T.Hill 0-0 0-0 0, R.Hill 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Turpin 0-0 0-0 0, Reeves 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-43 (37%) 23-37 (62%) 58.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 3-13 (Todd 2-5, Ridgell 1-6, Martin 0-1, Miller 0-1), Alma 4-19 (Fagan 2-4, Ostrander 1-4, Willhite 1-7, Dunbar 0-2, Cochran 0-1, Gray 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 21, Alma 24. Rebounds: Bryant 14-29 43 (Miller 3-6 9, Ridgell 1-7 8, Rogers 3-5 8, Todd 1-4 5, Loveless 2-3 5, Patton 0-2 2, Martin 1-0 1, team 3-2 5), Alma 11-19 30 (Toble 2-8 10, Cochran 1-3 4, Ostrander 0-2 2, Collyar 1-1 2, Hoffsommer 1-1 2, Hoyle 0-1 1, Fagan 1-0 1, Dunbar 0-1 1, Willhite 0-1 1, Bailey 1-0 1, Gray 1-0 1, team 3-1 4). Team fouls: Bryant 17, Alma 24. Fouled out: Alma, Hoyle, Cochran. Technical foul: Bryant, Ridgell.

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