Lake Hamilton ends freshman Lady Hornets’ season

For more photos from this event by Kevin Nagle, go here

Addison Funk shoots over Lake Hamilton’s Aryn Hughes. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The top two or three girls’ teams in the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference were just flat-out better than the rest of the league. The fact that the Lake Hamilton Lady Wolves and the Conway Blue Lady Cats were 16-1 against the league is stark evidence of that.

And North Little Rock was 13-4 with their losses all coming against those first two teams.

So, when the Bryant Lady Hornets couldn’t find a way to finish in fifth instead of seventh during the regular season, they were faced with playing one of those teams in the first round of the CAJHC tournament on Monday at the Bryant High School gym.

It wound up being Lake Hamilton and the Lady Wolves zipped to an 18-2 lead by the end of the first quarter and the proverbial hay was in the barn. Lake Hamilton advanced to the second round with a 46-16 victory that ended the season for the Lady Hornets.

Megan Brown (23) gets her shot blocked in front of teammate Jaiyah Jackson. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

“They’re really skilled,” acknowledged Lady Hornets’ coach Nathan Castaldi. “They’ve got five girls on the floor that can shoot it, pass it, play defense. Top to bottom, I think they’re the best team in the conference.”

And, if they still had the 6-1 girl that moved to Fort Smith Northside and starts for the varsity up there, there would be even less doubt about that.

“I looked the other day and, a possession here, a possession there, would’ve definitely made a difference in the seeding,” Castaldi said.

The Lady Hornets just struggled to find shots and, when they found them, they struggled to find the bottom of the net. At 7 of 37 from the field, they shot just 19 percent.

But Castaldi reflected on his team, saying, “I think they got better. I hate tonight went the way it did. I don’t think it was a representation of the type of team we are.

“I think they improved,” he reiterated, “coming together from Bryant and Bethel (middle schools) then kind of meshing. I think you saw that as the season went along.”

Addison Funk scored the game’s first basket so Bryant held a 2-0 lead early but Lake Hamilton went on a 20-0 run into the second quarter before Rachel Buck knocked down a shot for Bryant with 4:58 left in the half.

Rachel Buck follows through on a shot. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Aspen Thornton drove for a basket for the Lady Wolves then Aryn Hughes popped her second of three 3’s in the game to make it 25-4. A baseline jumper by Abbey Inman interrupted but, before the Lady Hornets could score again, Lake Hamilton extended the margin to 31-6.

With :41 left in the half, Kristyn Weng drilled Bryant’s lone 3 of the game to make it 31-9. A buzzer-beater by Thornton made it 33-9 at the half.

It was 42-12 going into the fourth quarter and the mercy rule went into affect.

Bryant went 6-18 on the season, 5-13 in league play.

LADY WOLVES 46, LADY HORNETS 16

Score by quarters

BRYANT          2          7          3          4 — 16

Lake Hamilton 18        15        9          4 — 46

LADY HORNETS 16

Ka.Weng 2-5 0-0 4, Kr.Weng 1-7 0-0 3, Ab.Inman 1-3 0-0 2, As.Inman 1-5 1-4 3, Funk 1-6 0-0 2 Jackson 0-5 0-0 0, Buck 1-4 0-0 2, Laughlin 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Grice 0-1 0-0 0, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Kirkley 0-0 0-0 0, Schaefer 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Feagin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 7-37 (19%) 1-4 (25%) 16.

LADY WOLVES 46

Higginbotham 1-4 1-2 3, Mullenix 3-3 1-3 7, Thornton 6-8 0-0 12, Wyrick 2-6 0-0 4, Hughes 4-6 3-4 14, Nash 0-4 0-0 0, Humphreys 1-2 0-0 2, Stewart 0-1 0-0 0, Winfrey 0-2 2-2 2, Gilleran 0-0 2-4 2, Coppedge 0-0 0-0 0, Richens 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-31 (55%) 9-15 (60%) 46.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 1-11 (Kr.Weng 1-5, Ka.Weng 0-2, As.Inman 0-2, Buck 0-1), Lake Hamilton 3-10 (Hughes 3-4, Higginbotham 0-3, Nash 0-2, Stewart 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 15, Lake Hamilton 9. Rebounds: Bryant 14-11 25 (As.Inman 3-2 5, Ab.Inman 1-2 3, Brown 2-1 3, Kr.Weng 1-1 2, Kr.Weng 0-1 1, Funk 1-0 1, Jackson 1-0 1, Buck 0-1 1, Laughlin 1-0 1, team 4-3 7), Lake Hamilton 12-18 30 (Wyrick 3-2 5, Higginbotham 1-4 5, Mullenix 0-3 3, Thornton 2-1 3, Hughes 0-2 2, Stewart 0-2 2, Winfrey 2-0 2, Humphreys 1-0 1, Gilleran 1-0 1, team 2-4 6). Team fouls: Bryant 16, Lake Hamilton 9.

Abbey Inman fires a shot in the lane. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Kristyn Weng eyes a 3-pointer. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)



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