Lady Panthers pull away late from pesky Lady Hornets

Photos by Rick Nation

BENTON — For the longest time, the Benton Lady Panthers just couldn’t seem to shake the Bryant Lady Hornets Friday night. Every time it looked like the Lady Panthers were about to blow open their conference-opening battle, the Lady Hornets would rally. Benton finally got it done by finishing the game with an 18-4 run resulting in a 62-38 win.

Jakeria Otey had 9 points, three rebounds, five assists and three steals Friday night. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Jakeria Otey had 9 points, three rebounds, five assists and three steals Friday night. (Photo by Rick Nation)

The Lady Panthers improved to 9-2 overall and 1-0 in the South Conference while the Lady Hornets dropped to 4-7 and 0-1. Benton continues league play at Little Rock J.A. Fair on Tuesday while Bryant hosts another tough foe, Pine Bluff.

Bryant trailed by as much as 16 twice in the first half. It was 23-8 at the end of the first quarter but the Lady Hornets whittled that margin down to 10. Benton pushed it back out but Bryant rallied again and when junior Maddie Baxter sank a 3-pointer from halfcourt at the buzzer, the margin was down to 9.

Point guard Jakeria Otey fed Aubree Allen for a basket to get the comeback started. Jayla Anderson drove for a bucket then Allen got a stickback to make it 35-25. Two free throws by Benton’s Ashlie Dintleman interrupted before Baxter’s fling to make it 37-28 at the intermission.

A steal and layup by Otey started the second half. Allison Reynolds countered for the Lady Panthers but when Otey canned a 12-footer, it was back to 39-32. She made another steal but her pull-up jumper attempting to trim the margin to 5, rimmed out.

A layup by Tia Brazell answered only to have Otey feed Erica Smith for a basket inside to get the Lady Hornets within 7 for the third time. Again they got a chance to get closer but Reynolds blocked a shot by Allen inside. Bryant retained possession when the ball went out of bounds and Peyton Weaver got a look at a 3-pointer but it refused to go in.

A tie on the rebound produced a third opportunity for the Lady Hornets but Benton forced a turnover — one of 24 for Bryant. Brazell cashed in with a 3.

Aubree Allen (23) finished with 13 points and nine rebounds for Bryant. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Aubree Allen (23) finished with 13 points and nine rebounds for Bryant. (Photo by Rick Nation)

At the other end, Anderson drove to the basket and was knocked down as she shot. No foul was called, the shot missed and, moments later, Reynolds drained a triple to make it 47-34 with 3:19 left in the third quarter.

After a timeout, Anderson found Allen for a layup that had the lead back to 11. Otey and Anderson forced a turnover but the Lady Hornets returned the favor. Reynolds misfired but, again, a turnover haunted Bryant. Braylee Landreth missed a shot for Benton but yet another turnover cost the Lady Hornets.

This time, the Lady Panthers cashed in when Landreth drove for a bucket.

Bryant wound up with turnovers on five consecutive trips up the floor. Dintleman hit a basket at the buzzer to make it 51-36.

To open the fourth period, Anderson made a steal but Bryant’s turnover resulted in Benton resuming its closing blitz. The Lady Hornets’ only points of the fourth quarter were two free throws by Rachel Miller.

“I thought we did some good stuff that I think we can build on,” commented Lady Hornets coach Brad Matthews after the game. “We’re slowly but surely starting to eliminate some of those breakdowns on both ends of the floor. Our kids fought hard.

“We’ve got a tough game Tuesday against Pine Bluff so we’ve got to make sure we’re ready to move forward and make sure that we learn from our mistakes,” he emphasized. “Conference is a long season. It’s not a sprint. We’ve got to make sure that we have the mentality that every game is a grind, every game is one to itself, and not get caught up in what happened last week or what we’ve got next week. We’ve got to get to where we grind it out. I thought we did some of that tonight in spurts but it just wasn’t enough against a very good team.”

Bryant's Maddie Baxter and Benton's Bella Slaughter (1) go to the floor to try to secure the ball. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Bryant’s Maddie Baxter and Benton’s Bella Slaughter (1) go to the floor to try to secure the ball. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Allen finished with 13 points and nine rebounds for Bryant. Otey and Anderson finished with 9 points each.

Dintleman led Benton with 13 points and seven boards. Braxton Chumley finished with 10 points, Reynolds and Skylar Davis 8 each.

Benton led 8-2 early but free throws by Allen and a basket inside by Anderson off an assist from Otey cut it to 8-6.

The Lady Panthers then put together a 15-2 burst sparked by Chumley who hit a pair of 3’s and a layup along the way.

Otey had another of her five assists on a basket by Allen to start the second quarter. Brazell and Allen traded baskets then Otey made a steal and a layup to make it 25-14. Later in the period, when Otey drove for a basket and Anderson converted a pair of free throws, the Lady Hornets were within 29-19.

But Davis, who played until she through her freshman season at Bryant, canned consecutive 3’s to pump the Lady Panthers lead back to 16 before the Lady Hornets’ surge to close out the half.

“The first quarter, we dug ourselves a hole,” Matthews said. “We had some breakdowns. We turned it over more and we had some breakdowns on defense. We didn’t do a very good job at times of playing to the scouting report.

“But I thought we showed some character to fight back, fight back, clawing and hanging on,” he related. “(Benton) made shots. Give them credit. I thought they played well. Coach (Jerry) Chumley does a great job. They’ve got a lot of good players.”

The two teams meet again in Bryant on Feb. 4.


Score by quarters

BRYANT          8          20       8          2 — 38

Benton            23       14       14       11 — 62

LADY HORNETS (4-7, 0-1) 38

Otey 4-8 1-3 9, Weaver 0-4 0-0 0, Anderson 3-7 3-4 9, Allen 4-8 5-6 13, Smith 1-1 0-0 2, Miller 0-0 2-2 2, Baxter 1-2 0-0 3, Patton 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-31 11-15 38.

LADY PANTHERS (9-2, 1-0) 62

Davis 3-8 0-0 8, Chumley 4-9 0-0 10, Dintelman 5-9 3-4 13, Landreth 3-5 3-4 9, Reynolds 3-6 1-2 8, Brazell 3-5 0-0 7, Martin 1-1 0-0 2, Burchfield 2-2 1-1 5, Oglesby 0-0 0-0 0, Slaughter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-43 8-11 62.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 1-4 (Baxter 1-1, Weaver 0-2, Patton 0-1), Benton 6-14 (Davis 2-6, Chumley 2-5, Reynolds 1-2, Brazell 1-1). Rebounds: Bryant 24 (Allen 9, Otey, Smith 3), Benton 16 (Dintelman 7). Turnovers: Bryant 24, Benton 14. Team fouls: Bryant 11, Benton 10.

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