Photos by Kevin Nagle
More than just height, they talk about basketball players having “length” these days. It indicates more than just height. It’s the arms, the so-called “wing-span,” the way a player moves and disrupts things.
The Russellville Whirlwinds eighth grade team had length and plenty of it. On Monday night, that length gave the Bryant Blue Hornets eighth grade team of Bethel Middle School all kinds of trouble. It enabled the Whirlwinds to get shots while, at the other end, preventing the Hornets from getting good looks.
As a result, the Whirlwinds built as big as a 20-point lead before a 3-point barrage was unleashed by the Hornets’ reserves after both coaches had gone to their benches. They lead was whittled down to 10 before Russellville put the game away with a late push, 41-28.
The game was the final one for Bryant Blue, now 4-4, before the Christmas break. They’ll return to action on Jan. 8, 2015, with A and B games against Bryant White at Bethel.
Randy Thomas led the Hornets with 9 points over the first three quarters. Logan Chambers scored 8 in the fourth quarter including a 3-pointer and a three-point play during the late surge. He, Jett Nelson and Micah Holyfield each hit 3’s.
Russellville was led by Langston Parker’s 9 points and seven by Bryson Kordsmeier.
The Whirlwinds scored the first 5 points of the game and held Bryant without a field goal until Thomas banked in a short jumper at the 2:28 mark of the first period.
The lead was 13-3 at the first break.
Parker extended the margin to start the second quarter. Tyler O’Neal countered with a free throw but Kordsmeier drained a 3. A driving jumper by Holyfield made it 18-6 but, again, Parker scored and, after an exchange of turnovers, Brian Mathis knocked down a 3 to make it 23-6 advantage.
Thomas drove for a basket but Mathis canned another triple. A final free throw before the half by Alex Blair for the Hornets, left it 26-9 at the half.
The Whirlwinds outscored the Hornets 7-4 in the third quarter to extend the margin to 20.
The coaches started working in reserves before the quarter was over and that continued as the fourth period unfolded. Chambers opened the fourth with his 3. After the Whirlwinds answered with a drive to the bucket, Nelson canned his trey and Chambers drove for a hoop to make it 37-24.
After Russellville missed a pair of free throws, Chambers drove the baseline, scored and was fouled. His free throw made it 37-27 with 1:35 left.
The Hornets had a chance to get closer after a Whirlwinds miss but a steal by Jordan Palmer and a layup extended the margin again. Michael Chatman hit a free throw then made a steal. But Russellville forced a return turnover and Jason Collins scored to set the final score.