December 19 in Bryant athletic history: 2009

Lady Hornets keep record unblemished with Shootout win over Lady Panthers

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

2009 Salt Bowl Shootout champions, the Bryant Lady Hornets (Photo by Rick Nation)By Rob Patrick

LITTLE ROCK — Though the Benton Lady Panthers’ Ashley Martindale and Julie Davis each hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter, there was a long stretch in which they just couldn’t get a good look from beyond the arc as the Bryant Lady Hornets’ defense tightened things up on the outside. It forced the Lady Panthers to try to attack the basket but, when they did, all too often their shots were rejected by Bryant’s Abbi Stearns.

Much to their frustration.

Stearns blocked seven shots in the first half alone. She also gathered a game-high 16 rebounds to go with her 11 points as the Lady Hornets improved to 9-0 on the season with a 70-56 win over their rivals in the annual Salt Bowl Shootout at UALR’s Stephens Center on Friday night.[more]Bryant's Alana Morris fights through the double-team defense of Benton's Joanna Curtis and Rose McGuire (30). (Photo by Rick Nation)

The Lady Hornets, on offense, shared the load as they have much of the time this season. Hannah Goshien led the way with 13 points but seven Bryant players contributed 7 points or more. Alana Morris had 10 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals to spark the team. Haley Montgomery, Shanika Johnson and Brooke Parish added 8 points each and Kenzee Calley had 7. Parish had five rebounds, Calley 4 and Montgomery 3.

Taylor Neal hit a 3 for the Lady Hornets and Callie Hogancamp added a basket late in the contest.

Martindale, who hit four of her team’s seven 3’s, led the Lady Panthers with 20 points. Bailey Gately came off the bench to add 10. Davis finished with 8, Joanna Curtis 7, Booke Million 5, Kara Reynolds 4 and Bailey Smith 2.

“We tried to guard the 3-point line really well so I matched the four girls up out on the perimeter and we put Abbi down guarding inside,” explained Lady Hornets coach Blake Condley. “I told her to play behind the post and try to jump straight up, just try to contest it and her timing’s so good, she was able to get up and block some shots.”

Hannah Goshien launches a 3. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Benton never led in the game though it was tied at 5, 8 and 10 in the first quarter. A driving layup by Montgomery snapped the last of those deadlocks in the late stages of the opening period. Goshen followed up with a steal and a layup to make it 14-10 going into the second quarter.

The lead grew to 8 in the early stages of the second period but a stickback by Gately and a driving bucket by Curtis had the margin back to 4 with just under four minutes left in the half.

Parish hit two free throws with 3:21 left and, after Stearns blocked a shot and Martindale missed a follow, Johnson drilled her second 3 of the half. Moments later, Stearns blocked two shots in row and pulled down the deflection on the second. At the other end, Goshen cashed in with a 3 and Bryant had its first double-digit lead at 29-18.

Curtis and Smith traded free throws with Morris and Calley before Neal finished off the scoring in the half with a 3 to set the intermission talley at 35-21.

“You know, with six seniors and a couple of juniors playing, I feel like these girls are pretty mature and they know what they have to do,” Condley commented. “Now, that doesn’t mean we won’t have letdowns at some points but I feel like they’re really doing what they need to do to set the tone and bring intensity and try to play, what I think, is the right way.”

Bryant's Shanika Johnson (32) drives around a Benton defender. (Photo by Rick Nation)

The Lady Panthers were within 39-26 with about five minutes left in the third quarter. Davis had hit a 3 to get her team that close. But Stearns scored by following her own miss then Johnson made a steal leading to a basket by Morris.

The onslaught continued when Calley hit one of high-arching jumpers from the wing to make it 45-26. And when Parish converted a free throw with 1:51 left in the third quarter, Bryant had its first 20-point advantage.

The Lady Hornets led 50-33 going into the fourth quarter after Million bombe a 3 at the buzzer ending the third. A three-point play by Stearns and a basket in traffic by Parish produced a 55-33 margin early in the final period.

Benton, sparked by Martindale who had 9 points during an 11-4 run, whittled the lead to 15 with 4:05 left. The Lady Panthers had a couple of chances to get even closer but a 3-point try refused to fall then, after a Bryant turnover on a charging foul, Stearns swatted away another field goal attempt, this time by Reynolds and, at the other end, Goshien was fouled. She made one but, moments later, Montgomery tacked on two from the line to bump the lead to 62-44 with 2:57 left in the game.

Martindale and Parish traded layups then Martindale hit a 3 only to have Calley drive for a hoop to make it 66-49 going into the final two minutes. Parish added two free throws with 1:41 left and the lead was all the way back up to 19.

After that, both coaches began to work in their reserves.

Both teams will return to action on Dec. 28, at the Summit Bank Spa City Shootout in Hot Springs. The Lady Panthers will play Mount St. Mary’s at 10 a.m. The Lady Hornets open against Lake Hamilton at 7 p.m.

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