Lady Hornets overwhelm Harding Academy at Beebe

BEEBE — Forcing 27 turnovers and making considerably more deflections, the Bryant Lady Hornets played havoc with the offense of the Harding Academy Lady Wildcats for much of their game to open the annual Badger Holiday Classic at Beebe High School on Thursday.
The Lady Hornets, who improved to 9-1 on the season, turned that effort into a 69-40 victory over a Lady Wildcats team that came in with a strong 9-3 record that included four wins in five conference games.
The Lady Hornets had four girls score in double figures with nine overall contributing to the scoring. McKenzie Muse finished with 15 points, India Atkins added 13 off the bench while Celena Martin scored 12 and Tierra Trotter 11. Kalia Walker pitched in with 7.
“Harding Academy is really good,” asserted Lady Hornets coach Brad Matthews. “They’ve got some kids that can really shoot it well. We were really worried about (Alden Graves), (Caroline Citty), (Brittany Harlow) who are really good.”
Graves and post Sloan Wiedower each scored 9 to lead the Lady Wildcats. Citty finished with 8. Mallory Gowen and Harlow each had 7 to complete Harding’s scoring. Harlow hauled down a game-high 12 rebounds.
“I thought defensively there were some possessions we looked really good and some other possessions we looked like we’d been off a week,” Matthews said. “We’re really emphasizing deflections. This year, we’ve got more height, more length than we’ve had in the past. That’s something, when we play well, we need to be out in transition. It just loosens us up and lets us play a little bit more free. So, when we do those kind of things, it feeds over to every other part of our game.”
“Offensively, I thought we executed pretty well,” he said. “All our kids played well considering we hadn’t played in 14, 15, 16 days, whatever it is, and Christmas in between. It was a good way to come back, a good way to start this portion of our little three-game stretch here before we get to conference.”
Bryant plays on Friday at 4 in the Classic semifinals against a 10-1 Little Rock Christian team that buried Blytheville 62-30 on Thursday and has defeated Bryant’s conference rivals North Little Rock and Conway this season.
The Lady Hornets never trailed in Thursday’s game. It was tied 2-2 then Muse hit the first of her trio of 3-pointers and Robyn Gordon followed up with an offensive-rebound basket.
Graves hit a 3 to make it 705 but then Gordon added a free throw after being fouled on another offensive rebound. Martin made a steal and a layup and, after Gordon blocked a shot by Gowen, Muse bombed her second trey. Moments later, Atkins popped a triple and it was 16-5.
Harding Academy cut that margin to 7 twice before the opening quarter was done but, at the end, Muse hit three free throws with :00.7 on the clock to make it 22-12 going into the second stanza.
Free throws by Wiedower, Citty and Harlow, along with a basket inside by Wiedower had the lead down to 6 midway through the period. But, after a timeout, Walker popped a 3 to start a half-ending surge. Allison Steen hit a free throw after grabbing one of her eight rebounds. In the final 30 seconds, Walker and Trotter had layups off Harding turnovers to make it 33-20 at the midway point.
To start the third quarter, Walker canned a 15-footer then Trotter hit a pair of layups in transition to push the lead to 39-20.
The teams traded points for awhile until Gowen hit two free throws and Graves followed with a 3 to make it 45-31.
But Muse hit her third 3 then added a free throw. Atkins made a steal and cashed it in with a triple and it was 52-31. Harlow scored to make it a 19-point game going into the fourth quarter.
The final period started with a basket by Atkins off a nice feed from Martin, who followed with a steal and a layup. Trotter swiped a pass and Muse fed Atkins for a layup to make it 58-33.
Matthews turned to his reserves in the final 4:28 and they increased the margin. Lexie Taylor drove for a basket then, later, Steen hit the offensive glass for a three-point play and Jade Denton drove for a layup off a steal to set the final score, which was the largest lead of the game.
Score by quarters
BRYANT 22 11 19 17 — 69
Harding 12 8 13 7 — 40
T.Trotter 5-9 1-2 11, Taylor 1-8 0-0 2, Martin 6-9 0-1 12, Gordon 1-5 1-2 3, Muse 4-12 4-5 15, Steen 1-1 2-3 4, Atkins 5-9 1-2 13, Walker 3-12 0-0 7, Russ 0-0 0-0 0, Denton 1-1 0-0 2, S.Trotter 0-1 0-0 0, Scifres 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-68 (40%) 9-15 (60%) 69.
City 1-6 6-11 8, Gowen 1-6 5-7 7, Graves 3-9 0-0 9, Wiedower 3-3 3-4 9, Harlow 2-4 2-2 7, Harris 0-0 0-0 0, Bolding 0-0 0-0 0, Cullins 0-1 0-0 0, Ferrie 0-1 0-0 0, Nesbit 0-1 0-0 0, Clements 0-0 0-0 0, McFatridge 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 10-32 (31%) 16-24 (67%) 40.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 6-29 (Muse 3-10, Atkins 2-2, Walker 1-8, Taylor 0-6, T.Trotter 0-2, S.Trotter 0-1), Harding Academy 4-17 (Graves 3-9, Harlow 1-1, Citty 0-3, Gowen 0-2, Cullins 0-1, Nesbit 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 5, Harding Academy 27. Rebounds: Bryant 17-18 35 (Steen 6-2 8, Martin 2-4 6, T.Trotter 0-4 4, Gordon 2-2 4, Muse 2-1 3, Walker 3-0 3, Russ 1-1 2, Taylor 0-1 1, Denton 0-1 1, Scifres 1-0 1, team 0-2 2), Harding Academy 10-25 35 (Harlow 3-9 12, Citty 2-3 5, Harris 0-5 5, Wiedower 2-1 3, Graves 1-1 2, Bolding 0-2 2, Ferrie 1-1 2, Gowen 0-1 1, Nesbit 0-1 1, team 1-1 2). Team fouls: Bryant 19, Harding Academy 13.

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