Late push gets Panthers past Blue Hornets in eighth grade battle

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

Jaylen Williams launches a 3. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

With three minutes left to play, the Bryant Blue Hornets eighth grade team of Bethel Middle School trailed the rival Benton Panthers eighth grade team 42-41. They’d fought back from a 9-point deficit late in the third quarter.

But they never were able to get in front of the Panthers down the stretch. Benton closed out a 49-43 win with a 7-2 surge at the end.

Andre Lane scored 22 points to lead Benton. Bethel’s Dee Sanders had 15 points and 10 rebounds while Jaylen Williams added 14 points on 4 of 5 from the 3-point arc.

Between the teams, there were 14 3’s, including eight by the Panthers.

The loss came on the heels of a 50-41 win over the Sheridan Stingers on Saturday for the Hornets, who are now 5-7 going into a game at North Little Rock Gold on Thursday.

The game was back-and-forth early. Bethel’s first 9 points came on 3’s by Williams. The third one snapped a 6-6 tie.

Benton led 13-11 but Sanders drove for a basket and, after two free throws for Benton evened it up, Jefferson Calicott nailed a triple to give the Hornets a 16-13 lead.

Isaac Devine tries to get a shot over the Benton defense. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Before Bryant Blue could score in the second quarter, however, Lane scored 7 points and, after Sanders got the Hornets on the board with a pair at the line, Benton scored the next 5 points including a 3 from Lane.

Williams hit his fourth 3 with :57 left in the half. Lane hit a free throw then Sanders drove for a basket. Benton’s lead was 26-23 at the midpoint.

Lane hit a driving jumper to start the second half but Isaac Devine drained a triple from the corner and Zach Foote made a steal and two free throws to even the game at 28.

After a Benton 3, Brooks Edmonson hit a free throw and Williams drove for a basket and a 31-31 tie.

A consecutive trio of 3’s by the Panthers at that point created their 9-point advantage, the largest of the game. With :05.1 showing, Sanders was fouled and connected on his first free throw. On the second shot, Devine hustled after the rebound and, on an alley-oop pass from out of bounds, Sanders scored again to trim the margin to 40-34.

To start the fourth quarter, Bethel’s Daniel Taylor bombed in a 3 and, a minute later, Edmonson scored and the Hornets were within 40-39.

Jefferson Calicott releases a 3-point shot in front of teammate Daniel Taylor (15). (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Benton scored but Sanders’ layup got it back to 42-41 with 3:05 left.

That’s when the Panthers began their closing surge. Before the Hornets could score again, it was 47-41. Sanders interrupted the run but Lane closed out the win with :31 left.

PANTHERS 49, HORNETS 43

Eighth grade

Score by quarters

Benton            13        13        14        9 — 49

Bryant Blue     16        7          11        9 — 43

PANTHERS 49

Bradley 0-3 0-2 0, Lane 9-15 1-6 22, Harrison 5-10 0-0 14, Williamson 1-4 0-0 2, Trapp 3-6 0-0 6, Simmons 0-0 0-0 0, Cobb 1-1 0-2 2, Burles 1-1 0-0 3, Snellings 0-0 0-0 0, Ginther 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-40 (50%) 1-10 (10%) 49.

HORNETS 43

Foote 0-5 2-2 2, Devine 1-4 0-0 3, Sanders 5-13 5-6 15, Williams 5-11 0-0 14, Edmonson 1-2 1-2 3, Blackmon 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Calicott 1-1 0-0 3, Taylor 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 14-37 (38%) 8-10 (80%) 43.

Three-point field goals: Bryant Blue 6-11 (Williams 4-8, Calicott 1-1, Taylor 1-1, Foote 0-1), Benton 8-16 (Harrison 4-8, Lane 3-6, Burles 1-1, Bradley 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant Blue 20, Benton 11. Rebounds: Bryant Blue 11-17 (Sanders 3-7 10, Devine 5-2 7, Edmonson 2-4 6, Foote 1-2 3, Miller 0-1 1, team 0-1 1), Benton 4-14 (Trapp 4-6 10, Lane 0-3 3, Williamson 0-2 2, Simmons 0-1, team 0-2 2). Team fouls: Bryant Blue 6, Benton 9.

Demetrius Sanders reaches back to release a shot off a drive to the basket. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)



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