December 9 in Bryant athletic history: 2009

Lesson learned, Lady Hornets smother North Pulaski early to open Joe T. tourney

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

By Rob Patrick

LITTLE ROCK — Most of what the Bryant Lady Hornets basketball team does in 2009 is really all about 2010.

That’s because the talented, senior-laden squad has aspirations that are all about the 7A-Central Conference, which begins in January 2010, and the Class 7A State Tournament, which happens in March.

So, when the Lady Hornets started their Tuesday game at Lake Hamilton with a pair of 3-pointers and a quick lead, then like a cat plays with a mouse before it eats it, they went back and forth — sort of a cat-and-mouse, if you will — with the Lady Wolves before finishing them off with a big fourth-quarter gulp.Bryant head coach Blake Condley talked to his team about the approach, challenging them to go for the kill early.

Fast forward to Wednesday, when the Lady Hornets opened the 64th annual Joe T. Robinson Invitational Tournament against the North Pulaski Lady Falcons. Again, the Lady Hornets broke quickly with senior Hannah Goshien drilling a pair of 3’s but, this time, there was no drop in intensity, no cruise control, no playing with their victim. They raced to a 26-10 lead by the end of the quarter on the way to a 59-30 win in which none of the starters played in the second half.

Now 5-0, the Lady Hornets advanced to the tourney semifinals tonight at 7 against Arkadelphia. The tourney championship will be played Friday.

“We were a little more focused,” Condley acknowledged. “We went through the first quarter and we only missed one free throw. We’re concentrating. And it’s not a matter of the scoreboard we’re looking at, it’s a matter of the little things that we work on every day that could come back to haunt you later. We just want to do those things well and just be focused and concentrate and make sure we take care of those things.”

Granted, the Lady Falcons did not measure up to the Lady Wolves let along the Lady Hornets but Condley said that it wasn’t about the opponent.

“It’s about what we’re doing,” he emphasized, “the goals we have for ourselves as the season goes on, and the things we have to do to accomplish those.”

Goshien finished with 13 points as did Shanika Johnson. Alana Morris had 7 to go with four rebounds, two assists and two steals, and Haley Montgomery 6 points and five assists, all in the first half. In all, 12 players contributed to the scoring for Bryant including Casey Lee and Kayla Sory with 4 each in the second half. Lee had five rebounds to match Kenzee Calley for the team high.

After Goshien’s barrage to start the game, Calley made a steal that led to a trip to the free-throw line for Montgomery who converted twice. Kayla Seward scored for North Pulaski but Morris fed Calley inside at the other end resulting in another trip to the line where Calley too converted twice to make it 10-4.

Laura Dortch, who led the Lady Falcons with 10 points, drove for her first hoop of the game then the Lady Hornets took off on an 11-0 spree.

A nice kick-out pass by Brooke Parish set up Johnson’s 18-footer to start the run. Later, Morris grabbed an offensive rebound and whipped a pass to Johnson who scored and was fouled. The three-point play made it 17-6.

A North Pulaski turnover led to a 3-point miss by Johnson. But an offensive rebound by Morris set up her drive for a basket. Johnson followed with a steal and got the ball ahead to Montgomery who was fouled and converted twice to make it 21-6.

“We were in much more of an attack mode offensively and defensively,” Condley said. “We attacked defensively but I thought, offensively, we were attacking and getting to the rim. The foul count was 7 to 2 early with seven on them. You get those fouls by attacking the basket and being aggressive. If you set back and don’t attack, you’re never going to get the other team in foul trouble and get yourself to the free-throw line.”

Before the quarter was through Johnson hit a layup after Montgomery claimed the rebound when Abbi Stearns blocked a North Pulaski shot. Calley added a free throw after hitting the offensive glass and Johnson hit another layup off a turnover to make it 26-10.

In the second quarter, it was 28-14 before the Lady Hornets got on a roll again, sparked by Goshien’s third triple. Stearns made a steal and a layup then Goshien’s theft led to a drive up the baseline for a layup, making it 35-14.

Seward scored off an offensive rebound at the other end but Morris’ driving jumper answered.

Over the final three minutes of the half with North Pulaski mustering only free throws by Dortch and Briaren Harper, Johnson scored off a feed from Morris who, in turn, got a three-point play off an assist from Montgomery. In the final minute, Montgomery fed Parish for a layup then got her own with :09 left to cap off the 46-18 blitz.

In the second half, junior point guard Taylor Neal made a number of splendid passes to set up her teammates. Her assist on a bucket by Lee made it 49-22 as the Lady Hornets flirted with the mercy rule. It was 51-24 with 1:41 left in the third quarter then Lee scored following her own miss and Neal fed Brittany Ball for the basket that did the trick, making it 55-24 going into the final eight minutes which rolled off the clock unabated. Sory and London Abernathy added to Bryant’s scoring down the stretch.

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