Loaded North Little Rock team edges freshman Lady Hornets

Not many freshman girls basketball teams have a 6-2 post player nor the scads of talented players around her like the North Little Rock Junior Lady Wildcats this year. They were good enough to win the Bryant Invitational Tournament earlier this year, dominating with 20-plus margins of victory in each of their three games.

On Thursday night, the Lady Charging Wildcats returned to Bryant Middle School gym to take on the Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team and they had to fight to escape with a 41-32 win (including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to pad a 6-point lead).

“I was pleased with the way we played,” stated Bryant coach Nathan Castaldi. “We knew going into the game that we had our hands full but we responded well.

“Just like Cabot South, North Little Rock relies on pressure and turnovers to get easy baskets,” the coach related, referencing Wednesday’s game against the Junior Lady Panthers. “But we limited those opportunities for them. We made them work for everything they got and really frustrated them the entire game.”

In fact, the Lady Hornets had the Lady Cats down 10-6 after a quarter. North Little Rock surged in the second quarter and pulled ahead 21-16 by the intermission. It was 31-24 going into the fourth quarter.

“We played very good half-court defense, especially on their post player,” Castaldi said. “Riley Hill and Kennedy Harris did a good job of limiting her touches and she only scored 6 points.”

Destiny Martin poured in 18 points for the Lady Hornets. Kendal Rogers added 6, Sarah Kennedy and Harris 4 each.

“I thought we got a little tired the second half,” Castaldi mentioned. “Playing a tough Cabot team on Wednesday had a lot to do with that. Some of our shots were short but we cannot use that as an excuse.”

Now 4-5 overall, the Lady Hornets are set to host Mount St. Mary Academy’s Mounties on Monday night.

“They have a very good team,” Castaldi said. “So we have to get past these last two games — both close games — and get ready for them.”

The game will be the final one before the Christmas break for the Lady Hornets who will compete in the annual Kameron Hale Invitational Tournament at Lake Hamilton Dec. 27-30.

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