Lady Hornets to play for Spa City championship game after turning 15-point deficit into 13-point win over Lakeside
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, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By Rob Patrick
HOT SPRINGS — Hoping to preserve his team’s energy during its three games in three days assignment in the Summit Bank Spa City Shootout, Bryant Lady Hornets head coach Blake Condley just had his team do some shooting prior to making the trip to Hot Springs’ Summit Arena on Tuesday.
Usually, the team goes through a workout, though most often a light one, on game day.
Chances are, the shoot-around won’t be in future plans.
The Lady Hornets got off to a sluggish start against the Hot Springs Lakeside Lady Rams in Tuesday’s semifinal and found themselves as much as 15 points down in the first half. Lakeside converted on 67 percent of its shots during the half and still led 31-20 in the final minute.
But when Haley Montgomery drained a 3 with :14 left, it marked the beginning of what turned into a 19-0 run. Bryant, forcing 14 turnovers in the second half, and heating up on offense, surged to a 56-43 win.[more]
Now 11-0 on the season, the Lady Hornets will attempt to capture their third tournament title tonight at 7 p.m. against the Central Arkansas Christian Lady Mustangs.
“We weren’t getting as many steals out of our press as we wanted,” Condley noted. “So, we were frustrated and didn’t guard as well in the front court. And Lakeside did a good job of executing their half-court offense.
“Our press feeds our offense,” he added. “But you have to score to press and we didn’t do that. We settled for too many perimeter shots. You have to attack a zone like theirs from the inside out.
“It’s a game of runs and we had a bigger run than they did and that was the deciding factor,” Condley observed. “We want to be better after each game we play. We were put into a situation we hadn’t been in before so this made us better for the experience of it.”
Indeed, the 15-point deficit was the deepest hole the Lady Hornets had been in this season, a season in which they’ve actually not had to play from behind that much at all.
But there was no panic. The Lady Hornets calmly and confidently turned the tide and created what turned into a 28-point swing the rest of the game.
They did it not only by forcing 22 turnovers in the game but out-rebounding the Lady Rams 30-20 with 14 of their boards coming on the offensive end. Alana Morris had 11 rebounds and 11 points while Abbi Stearns finished with 10 rebounds to go with her 8 points and five blocked shots.
Montgomery wound up leading all scorers with 17 points. Hannah Goshien added 9 as all seven Lady Hornets that played contributed to the scoring.
Lakeside was sparked early by Macy Wiley, who scored 8 of her team-high 15 points in the first quarter. She hit a pair of 3’s as the Lady Rams ran out to a 10-2 lead. They held a 14-6 advantage at the end of the opening period.
The teams traded baskets through the first 2:30 of the second quarter before Lakeside pushed the lead from 20-12 to 27-12 on a stickback by Wiley, a 3-pointer by Keri Manning (11 points) and a bucket inside by Sarah Hamilton.
Morris got her team back on track with a three-point play off a nice feed from Stearns. Montgomery made a steal that led to a trip to the free-throw line where she trimmed another point off the margin. Another quick steal by Montgomery and her subsequent layup had Bryant within 27-18. With a chance to get closer, however, the Lady Hornets turned the ball over and Mary Rachel Wolf scored. Stearns and Lakeside’s Lainey Todorovic traded hoops to make it 31-20 before Montgomery’s 3-pointer finished the first half.
And the Lady Hornets ramped up the intensity to start the second half. Kenzee Calley nailed a 15-footer and, after a Lakeside miss, Stearns rebounded and found Montgomery ahead of the pack going the other way for a layup. A Lady Rams turnover led to a layup for Goshien and suddenly the Lakeside lead was just 31-29.
A timeout failed to affect things though the teams traded turnovers before Montgomery drained her second trey from the right wing to put the Lady Hornets ahead for the first time.
At the other end, Montgomery stood in to take a charge against the bigger Wiley. Though the Bryant guard misfired at the other end, Stearns blocked Manning’s shot and that led to a 3 from Goshien and a 35-31 advantage.
Stearns followed with a baseline jumper that provoked another Lakeside timeout. When play resumed, Stearns made a steal and, though the Lady Hornets didn’t take advantage at that point (missing a shot), Morris came up with another theft. Her eye-popping no-look pass to Shanika Johnson produced a basket that completed the 19-0 blitz with Bryant up 39-31.
The Lady Hornets had a chance to continue but Manning made a steal and a layup to end a drought of almost six minutes.
Brooke Parish answered with a baseline jay off a drive and kick by Montgomery and, after a free throw by Hamilton, Johnson found Parish under the hoop for a bucket that bumped the margin to 9.
Calley followed with a steal and Morris fed Johnson behind the Lakeside zone that gave the Lady Hornets their first double-digit lead. Johnson swiped a pass and Parish, hitting the offensive boards, cashed in with a free throw that made it 46-34.
Manning finished the quarter with just the second Lakeside field goal of the half, trimming the margin to 10.
That started a 7-2 run by the Lady Rams that had them within 48-43 going into the final three minutes but they could get no closer. Montgomery converted a pair at the line and the Lady Hornets forced a turnover that Morris turned into a layup. Another Lakeside miscue had Goshien at the line with 2:23 to go. Though she missed the front end, Morris hustled for the rebound and, moments later, Stearns found Goshien under the bucket for a layup that had Bryant back up 54-43.
Goshien would put the final touches on the victory with a pair of free throws.
LADY HORNETS 56, LADY RAMS 43
Score by quarters
Hot Springs Lakeside 14 17 5 7 — 43
BRYANT 6 17 23 10 — 56
LADY RAMS 43
Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts
Brown 0-1 0-1 0-1 1 3 0
Wolf 2-4 0-0 0-2 2 2 4
Manning 5-12 0-0 1-2 3 5 11
Wiley 6-9 1-6 3-4 7 4 15
Hamilton 4-4 1-2 0-0 0 1 9
Norman 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 1 2
Todorovic 1-2 0-0 0-2 2 0 2
Evans 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Stuart 0-1 0-0 1-0 1 0 0
Team 1-3 4
Totals 19-36 2-9 6-14 20 16 43
LADY HORNETS 56
Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts
Montgomery 5-8 5-6 1-0 1 2 17
Goshien 3-10 2-3 1-0 1 1 9
Calley 1-7 0-0 1-0 1 0 2
Stearns 4-6 0-0 5-5 10 3 8
Parish 2-3 1-2 2-1 3 2 5
Morris 5-9 1-1 2-9 11 1 11
Johnson 2-4 0-1 0-0 0 2 4
Team 2-1 3
Totals 22-47 9-13 14-16 30 11 56
Three-point field goals: Hot Springs Lakeside 3-5 (Wiley 2-3, Manning 1-1, Wolf 0-1), Bryant 3-12 (Montgomery 2-3, Goshien 1-6, Johnson 0-2, Morris 0-1). Turnovers: Hot Springs Lakeside 22, Bryant 15.