Lady Hornets shocked by Russellville

By Rob Patrick

RUSSELLVILLE — It probably wasn’t the place where the Bryant Lady Hornets and their fans thought it could happen but, then again, the Russellville Lady Cyclones — with nearly everyone back from the year before — came into the game[more] 12-2 overall with their lone losses coming to unbeaten defending Class 7A State champion North Little Rock.

Bryant, which came in 14-0, struggled early on offense and with foul trouble, fell behind and, though they rallied to tie the game late, never led. Kaylee Wiedower knocked down a pair of clutch jumpers then the Lady Cyclones hit just enough of their free throws in the final 1:30 to hold on for a 44-39 win on Friday night.

It was a stunner for the Lady Hornets, particularly the core group of sophomores who had been a part of 60 consecutive wins through eighth grade, ninth grade and so far this season.

“There were a lot of teary eyes in the locker room after the game was over,” acknowledged Bryant coach Blake Condley. “You could tell, these girls are not used to losing. They don’t care for it. So I’m anxious to see what’s going to happen in practice on Monday. I think they’ll come in ready to go to work and ready to play Conway Tuesday.”

Conway, which defeated Little Rock Central Friday night, comes in with a 13-2 mark, 1-1 versus the league.

“We knew — I knew and I think the girls did too — it’s going to be a battle every night,” Condley said. “We’re going to have to play well and we didn’t do that early tonight. We dug ourselves a big hole, got down 13 at halftime. You just can’t do that against a good team. We had to expend all our energy trying to come back. The girls didn’t give up. They fought back to give us a chance late. But when you’ve used all that energy to come back, it’s hard to get over the hump against a good team.”

Russellville held two of Bryant’s key players on offense, leading scorer McKenzie Adams and three-point gunner Landon Abernathy scoreless in the first half. It didn’t help that both — along with lone senior Abbi Stearns, the team’s leading rebounder — picked up two fouls in the first half.

Stearns had tried to take up the slack with Adams and Abernathy out, making a number of strong moves into the lane only to have her shots ring out. The Lady Hornets trailed 7-2 before Stearns grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a basket and a foul. Though she missed the free throw, moments later, Kiara Moore hit a 3 to trim the lead to 9-7.

But Russellville, with a height advantage at almost every position, closed out the half with a 15-4 surge interrupted only by a drive for a layup by Breanna Blundell and two free throws by Stearns which had the Lady Hornets within 16-11 with 2:41 left in the half.

Jaimie Long followed with a three-point play then Mary Carol Davis hit a 15-footer and Wiedower canned a 3 to build up the 24-11 halftime lead.

The Lady Hornets were 3 of 20 from the field in the first half. 

“They were keying on (Adams) defensively,” Condley mentioned. “They were trying to do some things to disrupt her and that hurt. But Kenzie did a good job in the second quarter coming back in and playing with those two fouls. But we just never got anything going early. We couldn’t get anything offensively done and a lot of that was we weren’t executing what we needed to. One or two possessions that we scored on, we moved our motion up high because we were able to get to the basket. But then we kept drifting back down into the lane. I had to tell the girls, ‘Move up, move up.’ But we kept drifting back down.

“And that’s something we’ve got to get back to practice on,” he added. “We’ve got to look at the film. We’ve got to know what the defense is giving us and just take that instead of trying to force things that maybe are not there. We’ve just got to be patient and take what the defense is giving us.”

Adams would score all of her 15 points in the second half including 9 of 10 from the free-throw line, and Abernathy would get all of her 7 as well.

Russellville still led by 13 as late as the 5:25 mark of the third quarter. Abernathy got her first points of the game then, hitting a 3 to cut the lead to 10. Lindsey Glover hit a pair of free throws but Stearns drained a jumper in reply. It stayed 30-20 for two minutes before Adams hit two free throws to get the lead under double digits.

After a good defensive stand in which the Lady Hornets nearly swiped the ball three times, the Lady Hornets finally forced a turnover. Stearns was fouled on a drive and hit one of her two shots with :59 left in the quarter. Wiedower countered with a free throw in two tries but Adams drove the baseline for a basket with :11 to go, making it 31-25 going into the final period.

And when Abernathy poured in her second triple to start the fourth quarter, the lead was just 3. Both teams had opportunities after that but it wasn’t until Wiedower scored with 5:22 to play that the score changed. Moore countered with a three-point play that had the lead down to 2. Moments later, Adams converted twice at the line to tie it 33-33.

Susan Taylor and Adams traded free throws and it stayed 35-35 until the clock ran down to under three minutes. That’s when Wiedower knocked down back-to-back shots to push the lead back to 4.

With 1:35 left, Adams hit a free throw to make it 39-36 but, at the other end, Stearns committed her fifth foul and Long took advantage by converting both shots.

Adams’ driving jumper made it a one-possession game again at the 1:06 mark. Russellville kept the window open for the Lady Hornets when Long missed the front end of a one-and-one with :42.1 showing. But Bryant turned the ball over and Taylor hit a free throw to make it a 4-point lead at the :29.7 mark.

A free throw by Adams made it 42-39 but, with :17.8 left, she fouled out on a marginal call. Davis converted once to make it a two-possession game again but when Abernathy’s 3-point try was blocked and Long was fouled, another free throw sealed the final score with :05.5 on the clock.


Score by quarter

BRYANT 7 4 14 14 — 39

Russellville 11 13 7 13 — 44

LADY HORNETS (14-1, 1-1) 39

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts


Moore  2-6 3-3 0-1 1 3 8

Adams 3-9 9-10 2-1 3 5 15

Abernathy 2-6 1-2 1-6 7 3 7

Stearns 2-9 3-7 0-7 7 5 7

Blundell 1-5 0-0 3-3 6 1 2

L.Davis 0-2 0-0 0-2 2 0 0

Davidson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Hogancamp 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Team 0-4 4

Totals 10-37  16-22 6-24 30 17 39

LADY CYCLONES (13-2, 1-1) 44

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts


Taylor  0-5 3-4 0-0 0 3 3

Shockey 1-9 0-0 1-4 5 1 2

Wiedower 7-12 1-2 1-7 8 1 17

M.C.Davis 4-7 1-3 2-5 7 4 9

Glover 2-6 2-4 0-4 4 3 7

Long 1-6 4-6 3-3 6 3 6

Prochazka 0-3 0-0 2-0 2 3 0

Team 2-1 3 

Totals 15-48 11-19 11-24 35 18 44

Three-point field goals: Bryant 3-13 (Abernathy 2-5, Moore 1-3, Stearns 0-2, Adams 0-1, Blundell 0-1, L.Davis 0-1), Russellville 3-12 (Wiedower 2-4, Glover 1-1, Shockey 0-4, M.C. Davis 0-1, Long 0-1, Prochazka 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 15, Russellville 11. 

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