Lady Hornets knock off rust, dismiss Searcy again

BEEBE — “You never know how a team will play after being off for 11 days,” noted Bryant Lady Hornets coach Brad Matthews after his returned to action at the Beebe First Security Bank/Rep. Jeremy Gillam Holiday Tournament on Saturday.

Though they were a little rusty in the first half, the Lady Hornets found their stride after intermission and spurred by a 15-point half by senior Jakeria Otey, rallied to down the Searcy Lady Lions, 53-48.

It was the Lady Hornets’ fourth win in a row and sixth in their last seven games including a 54-51 win over Searcy on Dec. 13 in tournament play in Conway.

Bryant is set to play in the semifinals at Beebe on Monday against the host team, starting at 7 p.m.

“We were a little sluggish in the first half,” Matthews said.

The Lady Hornets fell behind 13-9 in the first quarter and trailed 24-20 at the half.

“We had too many turnovers in the first half (nine),” the coach mentioned. “We seemed a step slow and out of position.”

But they returned to the floor in the third quarter and put up 17 points to surge to a 37-36 edge going into the final period.

Otey finished with 22 points. Lauren Carroll added 9 with Rachel Miller and Emily Ridgell pitching in with 6 each. Raija Todd and Maddie Baxter scored 5 apiece.

The Lady Hornets are now 6-4 overall. With a win on Monday, they’ll advance to the tournament finals on Tuesday against the winner of Monday’s other semifinal between Harding Academy and Riverview. A loss to Beebe would put Bryant in the third-place game against the loser of the other semifinal.

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