For more photos of this event by Kevin Nagle, go here
Hayleigh Wyrick, a three-year veteran of freshman basketball, poured in 26 points, just over half of her team’s total as the Lady Hamilton Lady Wolves held off the Bryant Lady Hornets 41-36 in Central Arkansas Junior High Conference play on Thursday night at the Bryant Middle School gym.
It was the second 5-point win for Lake Hamilton over Bryant this season. Back on Nov. 12, in the Lady Hornets’ second game of the season, the Lady Wolves had prevailed 35-30.
But this time, it was league play and the Lady Hornets fell to 1-2 versus the conference, going into a trip to Mount St. Mary Academy on Monday.
Parris Atkins, despite considerable defensive attention from the Lady Wolves, scored 13 points and gathered seven rebounds to lead Bryant. Daria Greer added 12 and Jordan Hancock 7.
Ginny Higganbotham finished with 8 points for the Lady Wolves. Audri Winfrey had 6.
“They’ve got two that have been starting since seventh grade and you can tell,” said Lady Hornets coach Nathan Castaldi, referring to Wyrick and Higganbotham. “They’re tough to guard. And I thought we did a good job tonight guarding them. I thought we made them work for every basket they got. They didn’t get a lot of easy looks. We contested shots. Still, they’re going to get theirs.”
Regarding the defense on Atkins, the coach said, “She’s done a pretty good job. She sees defenses kind of shifting towards her. I thought we did a good job tonight. I thought Daria played really well. She saw that, and she attacked instead of just kind of settling for things.”
Bryant actually finished the game with one more field goal than Lake Hamilton. Both teams hit two 3-pointers. The difference, statistically, came down to the free-throw line where the Lady Wolves were 11 of 16 including Wyrick’s 7 of 8. The Lady Hornets were just 4 of 13.
“We can go back and — we missed a couple of easy ones in the first half,” Castaldi said. “We didn’t shoot free throws well all game long. We’ve worked on that. We shot some free throws the first time we played them.
“When you play close games like we have, pretty much all year long, it’s going to come down to free throws,” he noted. “They made theirs. Fourth quarter, when they had to have them, they put them in the hole.
“There’s a lot of things we can look back and say we should’ve done this, could’ve done that, make this shot, make that shot. But free throws were definitely a factor,” the coach concluded.
Bryant held Wyrick to 5 points in the first half and stayed even with the Lady Wolves. The Lady Hornets trailed 6-5 late in the first quarter when Caitlin LaCerra connected on a 3-pointer. Atkins made a steal and a layup and Bryant led 10-6.
Winfrey hit a layup for Lake Hamilton, but Greer drove for a hoop to keep Bryant ahead. Higginbotham scored and, after ShaMya Jordan added a free throw, Wyrick beat the buzzer with a basket as she was fouled. Completing the three-point play pulled Lake Hamilton even at 13.
The teams struggled to score in the second quarter which ended 17-17. Greer had both of Bryant’s buckets. Higganbotham had the only Lake Hamilton basket, but Winfrey and Natalie Tedder each had a free throw.
With Wyrick scored 9 points, the Lady Wolves went on an 11-2 run to start the third quarter. Greer had the only basket for Bryant. Down 28-19, the Lady Hornets rallied. Greer drove for a bucket then, off a Lake Hamilton miss, Atkins grabbed a defensive rebound and raced coast-to-coast for a basket.
With Wyrick scored her team’s first 7 in the final period, Lake Hamilton built a 38-31 lead. Five consecutive missed free throws hurt the Lady Hornets as they tried to rally. Atkins finally made one and Greer connected on a pair to cut the lead back to 4 with :43.6 left.
Off another turnover, Atkins hit another layup and, moments later, Hancock scored and was fouled, cutting the lead to 28-27. Her free throw for a three-point play refused to fall so when Wyrick came through with a three-point play with :08 left in the quarter, the Lady Wolves led 31-27.
But both Higganbotham and Wyrick hit free throws after that as the Lady Wolves held on for the win.
LADY WOLVES 41, LADY HORNETS 36
Lake Hamilton13 4 14 10 — 41
BRYANT 13 4 10 9 — 36
LADY WOLVES 41
Higginbotham 3-9 1-2 8, Coppedge 0-2 0-0 0, Humphries 0-2 0-0 0, Winfrey 2-6 2-4 6, Wyrick 9-16 7-8 26, Todder 0-0 1-2 1, Green 0-0 0-0 0, Pielemeier 0-1 0-0 0. Totals14-36 (39%) 11-16 (69%) 41.
LADY HORNETS 36
Hancock 3-10 0-1 7, Greer 5-10 2-6 12, LaCerra 1-1 0-0 3, Atkins 6-10 1-2 13, Chappell 0-0 0-0 0, Jordan 0-4 1-2 1, Dillon 0-0 0-0 0, Palmer 0-0 0-2 0. Totals15-38 (39%) 4-13 (31%) 36.
Three-point field goals:Bryant 2-8 (Hancock 1-4, LaCerra 1-1, Greer 0-2, Jordan 0-1), Lake Hamilton 2-7 (Higginbotham 1-4, Wyrick 1-2, Winfrey 0-1). Turnovers:Bryant 13, Lake Hamilton 10. Rebounds:Bryant 11-17 28 (Atkins 4-3 7, Hancock 1-4 5, Greer 2-3 5, Dillon 2-3 5, Jordan 1-1 2, Chappell 0-1 1, Palmer 0-1 1, team 1-1 2), Lake Hamilton 7-16 23 (Wyrick 1-6 7, Higginbotham 1-4 5, Humphries 2-2 4, Coppedge 0-2 2, Winfrey 1-1 2, team 2-1 3). Team fouls:Bryant 13, Lake Hamilton 11.