Lady Hornets unable to slow down Tolefree, Conway

CONWAY — Here’s all you need to know about the Conway Lady Cats and their game against the Bryant Lady Hornets at Buzz Bolding Arena on Tuesday night. On Senior Night, guard Alexis Tolefree fired in 34 points and it wasn’t even a season-high total let alone a career-high. And the Lady Cats scored 83 points and that wasn’t a season-high either.

Bryant became the latest victim of the Conway juggernaut with an 83-47 loss that included 12 3-pointers for the Lady Cats, six by Tolefree, as they improved to 27-1 on the season with one more game to go, against Alma, before they begin their bid for the Class 7A State Tournament championship.

Conway’s only loss this season was to Plano West in Texas on Dec. 29. Tuesday’s victory extended the Lady Cats’ winning streak to 15 in a row.

One of those was at Bryant on Jan. 26, a game in which the Lady Hornets challenged until the late going.

This time, Conway made sure to break it open early, grabbing a 25-10 lead by the end of the first quarter when they converted 11 of 18 shots — a scorching 61 percent — including a trio of 3’s. In fact, of the seven missed shots in the quarter for the Lady Cats, five of them were 3-point attempts.

The Lady Hornets’ senior Rachael Miller hit a pair of 3’s and, along with a 10-foot jumper by Kendal Rogers, trailed just 15-8 with 2:22 to go in the quarter. A 10-2 run that included 3’s by Savannah Lowe as well as Tolefree, made it a 15-point margin going into the second quarter.

Conway then scored the first 6 points of the second period to push the lead past 20.

After a timeout, the Lady Hornets found a spark. Taylor Hill fed Raven Loveless for a basket and Raija Todd made a steal and canned a short jumper to make it 31-14.

Lowe and Todd traded 3’s before Tolefree, who’s headed to play at UCA, scored the next 8 points including another pair of triples, pushing the lead to 42-17.

A 12-footer by Emily Ridgell and another 3 for Todd whittled the margin to 20 but Tolefree drained a 3 to start a push that made it 46-25 at the half.

Bryant cut the lead under 20 early in the third quarter. Hailey Estes started the half with a 3 for Conway but Todd scored in the lane and, off a drive and dish by Destiny Martin, Miller knocked down her three trey to make it 49-30.

But another surge by the Lady Cats produced a 71-39 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Bryant will try to bounce back this Friday with its own Senior Night as Siloam Springs visits. It’ll be a chance for the Lady Hornets to avenge a 54-51 overtime loss at Siloam and head into State on a winning note.

As the No. 3 seed from the Central Conference, the Lady Hornets are set to open State on Wednesday, March 2, at 7 p.m., against the No. 4 seed from the 7A-West, probably Bentonville.

LADY CATS 83, LADY HORNETS 47

Score by quarters

BRYANT          10       15       14       8 — 47

Conway          25       21       25       12 — 83

LADY HORNETS (9-15, 4-9, 2-4) 47

Todd 6-14 0-0 14, Ridgell 4-7 1-2 10, Martin 0-2 0-0 0, Rogers 1-2 0-0 2, Miller 4-9 2-2 13, Loveless 3-5 2-6 8, Hill 0-1 0-0 0, Patton 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-42 (43%) 5-10 (50%) 47.

LADY CATS (27-1, 13-0, 6-0) 83

Tolefree 13-20 2-2 34, Foster 1-3 0-0 3, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Estes 2-9 0-0 5, Lumley 2-7 0-0 5, Lowe 6-11 0-0 15, Evans 1-1 1-2 3, Banks 6-7 2-8 14, B.Wells 0-1 0-0 0, A.Wells 2-3 0-0 4, Nolen 0-0 0-0 0, Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Tufu 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-63 (52%) 5-12 (42%) 83.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 6-16 (Miller 3-5, Todd 2-6, Ridgell 1-2, Rogers 0-1, Patton 0-1, Williams 0-1), Conway 12-25 (Tolefree 6-9, Lowe 3-4, Lumley 1-4, Estes 1-4, Foster 1-3, Brown 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 16, Conway 4. Rebounds: Bryant 10-16 26 (Ridgell 3-2 5, Miller 2-3 5, Loveless 2-3 5, Todd 0-2 2, Martin 1-1 2, Rogers 0-1 1, Hill 0-1 1, Patton 0-1 1, team 2-2 4), Conway 18-15 33 (Banks 7-3 10, Lumley 4-1 5, Estes 0-4 4, Brown 0-3 3, Lowe 2-1 3, B.Wells 1-1 2, Tolefree 0-1 1, Evans 0-1 1, A.Wells 1-0 1, team 3-0 3). Team fouls: Bryant 12, Conway 15.

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