Photos by Kevin Nagle
Take away the first quarter and the Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team was right there with the Lake Hamilton Lady Wolves on Monday night as they returned to action after the Thanksgiving break.
Lake Hamilton, featuring players that were good enough to play on the freshman squad as eighth graders last season, rolled to an 11-0 lead in the first quarter then scored the first basket of the second to make it 13-0 before Bryant’s Kalia Walker made a steal and a layup for her team’s first points two minutes into the second quarter.
The Lady Wolves never could shake the pesky Bryant team but still wound up with a 27-18 victory.
“I thought we competed real well,” said Lady Hornets coach Nathan Castaldi. “It’d been real easy after the first quarter to duck our heads and not play hard but we continued to play hard. We battled, really throughout the entire game but especially after that first quarter. We kind of adjusted to their intensity and I thought we did well.
“You know you hate to talk about moral victories but I thought we proved tonight that we can compete with probably one of the top two teams in the conference,” he added.
The Lady Hornets missed all seven of their shot attempts in the first quarter including at least a couple of layups. And it wasn’t like they were turning the ball over a lot. They had four during the period.
Lake Hamilton was led by Jenny Peake who scored 7 of her game-high 12 points in the opening surge including a 3. Allison Trantham added 9 points and a team-high six rebounds in the game.
For Bryant, Mary Catherine Selig finished with 8 points and seven rebounds. Walker had 6 points and Allison Steen 4, with six boards.
Lake Hamilton pushed the margin out to 19-2 before Steen and Walker added baskets in the final 1:07 of the half.
Selig’s first bucket opened the third-quarter scoring. After Peake hit a free throw, Steen followed her own miss to make it 20-10.
It was 25-12 going into the fourth quarter after Selig drove for a layup to beat the buzzer ending the third period.
That started a Bryant rally. Neither team scored until the middle of the fourth when Steen made a steal and was fouled on her drive to the other end of the floor. A push in the back as she was going up for her layup was ruled an intentional foul so, even though Steen couldn’t get either of her free throws to fall, the Lady Hornets retained possession. On the inbounds play, Walker scored to trim the lead to 25-14.
After a Lake Hamilton timeout, Selig drilled a 15-footer and Bryant forced another turnover. Meagan Chism was fouled but her first shot on the one-and-one was wiped away by a lane violation.
Both teams came up empty on bonus opportunities before Peake and Selig traded baskets in the final minute to make it 27-18.
The loss dropped the Lady Hornets to 2-3 on the season going into a trip to North Little Rock on Thursday.