For more photos of this event by Rick Nation, go here
It was appropriate that the Hall Lady Warriors of Little Rock were the opponents for the Bryant Lady Hornets on Tuesday night in what figures to be the final basketball game at the old Hornets’ Nest.
Since 1968 when it was opened, the court has been the site of some tremendous basketball including State championship teams that included among others, forward Selita Farr, who now coaches the Lady Warriors.
And it was appropriate too that the Lady Hornets turned the game in their favor with pressure defense, a hallmark of the program in its heyday. Bryant forced Hall into 30 turnovers including 18 in the second half that allowed them to rally for a 52-47 victory.
With their top scorers and rebounders McKenzie Muse and Parris Atkins sidelined with injuries, the Lady Hornets may not have shot the ball quite as well as those in the past. And they got out-rebounded 41-22. Yet, they launched a whopping 52 shots to Hall’s 37 because of those turnovers.
India Atkins led the scoring with 17 points to go with five steals and three assists. Tierra Trotter scored 15 points with three thefts and three assists. Celena Martin also had five steals and Lexi Taylor three.
Ivory Russ scored 7 points, Taylor 6, Martin 4 and Mady Scifres 3.
“The first half, we were really lethargic,” said Lady Hornets coach Brad Matthews. “They had more energy than we had, and we dug ourselves a big hole. On top of that, we didn’t finish on offense. It was not the best offensive first half that we’ve had.
“To start the game, we got beat on offensive rebounds a couple of times, had a breakdown on defense and gave up a couple of easy shots,” he mentioned. “We gave them a little momentum. We gave them life. To their credit, they took advantage of it.”
Hall closed out the first quarter with a 9-0 run to build an 18-7 lead. The Lady Warriors never trailed in the first half. Their lead was as much as 13, 28-15 going into the final two minutes of the second quarter.
“But, to our kids’ credit, we were down 10, 12 and our energy picked up and because of that our defense picked up,” Matthews related. “We were able to get some loose balls, some steals, get out in transition. Then we started to execute better on offense in the half court.”
That surge started at the end of the half. After a steal by Taylor, Trotter rebounded a miss and got to the free-throw line where she converted both of her shots. She followed up with a steal and, on a two-on-one break, hit a layup off a feed from Atkins, cutting the margin to 28-19.
Hall’s Aaron Yarbrough converted two free throws, but Trotter hit a layup that beat the buzzer off an assist from Atkins to make it 30-21 at the intermission.
The spree picked up where it left off as the third quarter began. Off a turnover, Atkins fed Martin for a layup. Hall’s Jada Johnson missed, and Atkins canned a jumper in the lane at the other end.
With their lead whittled to 30-25, the Lady Warriors took a timeout.
Asia Yarbrough interrupted Bryant’s run with a pair of free throws but, moments later, Martin kicked a pass out to Russ in the right corner. She buried a 3. Martin and Atkins combined on a steal that Trotter cashed in, cutting the lead to 2.
Kendra Pride hit a free throw for Hall. But the 3-point difference disappeared when Trotter took a dish from Atkins and nailed a triple with 4:47 left in the quarter.
Russ drove the baseline for a basket that put the Lady Hornets ahead. Martin followed with a steal and layup.
Pride, who led her team with 16 points, broke the ice for Hall but a driving layup by Trotter was the answer.
Still, the Lady Warriors managed to draw even at 39. Atkins traded baskets with Asia Yarbrough in the final seconds of the quarter and it was 41-41 going into the final period.
It stayed deadlocked until Aaron Yarbrough scored inside with 5:06 left. Russ hit a free throw to make it a one-point game. Martin’s next steal led to another trip to the line for Russ. She tied it by hitting one of two.
After a Hall turnover, Russ fed Atkins for a layup that put the Lady Hornets ahead to stay. Atkins’ steal and layup extended the margin. She followed up with a 3 off a kickout from Trotter.
The result was a 50-43 lead, Bryant’s largest of the game.
But the Lady Hornets only converted 4 of 11 free throws in the fourth quarter and that left the door open a crack for the Lady Warriors. With :23 showing, Pride scored to make it 50-47.
Trotter converted a pair from the line with :18.7 left to seal the victory.
“McKeycia Baker came in and gave us some good minutes,” Matthews stated. “Mady gave us really good minutes. Ivory is starting to get more and more minutes as every game goes along. Whatever the lineup, you know, we all practice. So, whoever’s number is called has got to be ready to come in and do their job and produce at a high level.
“We’ve just got to shore up some things in practice because that’s where you fix things,” he continued. “The game shows you what you’re not doing right and practice is where we go back and fix it.”
Now 4-2 on the season, the Lady Hornets will travel to Fayetteville where they’ll play Hot Springs on Friday and Farmington on Saturday.
LADY HORNETS 52, LADY WARRIORS 47
Score by quarters
LR Hall 18 13 11 6 — 47
BRYANT 7 14 20 11 — 52
LADY WARRIORS (0-8) 47
Pride 7-12 2-4 16, Johnson 2-7 2-4 6, Aa.Yarbrough 1-5 7-8 9, As.Yarbrough 5-8 2-2 12, Dismuke 1-3 2-2 4, Porter 0-2 0-0 0, Patterson 0-0 0-0 0, Hensley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-37 (43%) 15-20 (75%) 47
LADY HORNETS (4-2) 52
Trotter 5-17 4-8 15, Atkins 7-12 2-3 17, Martin 2-5 0-2 4, Scifres 1-3 0-0 3, Taylor 3-6 0-0 6, Russ 2-6 2-6 7, Baker 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 20-52 (38%) 8-19 (42%) 52.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 4-18 (Trotter 1-7, Atkins 1-3, Scifres 1-3, Russ 1-2, Taylor 0-2, Martin 0-1), LR Hall: none. Turnovers: Bryant 11, LR Hall 30. Rebounds: Bryant 11-11 22 (Trotter 3-2 5, Martin 1-2 3, Russ 1-2 3, Baker 1-2 3, Scifres 2-0 2, Atkins 1-1 2, Taylor 0-1 1, team 2-1 3), LR Hall 14-27 41 (Johnson 3-7 10, As.Yarbrough 5-4 9, Pride 1-7 8, Aa.Yarbrough 1-3 4, Dismuke 2-1 3, Porter 0-3 3, team 2-2 4). Team fouls: Bryant 15, LR Hall 17. Fouled out: LR Hall, Johnson.