Matthews pleased with Lady Hornets’ debut in benefit game

Lady Hornets head coach Brad Matthews instructs his team during a break in Thursday’s action. (Photo by Rick Nation)

For more photos of this event by Rick Nation, go here

Last season, the Bryant Lady Hornets had any number of players that could hit an opponent with a double-digit scoring night. And most of them are back for 2019-20.

Mady Scifres fires a 3. (Photo by Rick Nation)

And several of them showed what they’re capable of in small doses Thursday night in a pre-season benefit game against the E-STEM Lady Mets at the old Hornets’ Nest. But it was senior point guard Tierra Trotter who had a big night with 17 points.

With all of that fire power, the Lady Hornets apparently have a new player capable of burning their rivals as sophomore Parris Atkins pumped in 20 points and gathered a team-high seven rebounds in the 64-34 romp.

Bryant out-rebounded the Lady Mets 41-31 and forced 27 turnovers, 26 of which came before head coach Brad Matthews went deep into his bench in the fourth quarter.

It was 61-27 going through three quarters.

“We’re trying to play a little faster this year, trying to press and trap and force tempo,” Matthews noted. “At first, we did a really good job of that. Obviously, this is the first game. There’s a lot of stuff we’ve got to clean up.

Lexie Taylor drives to the basket. (Photo by Rick Nation)

“I thought we played really hard,” he added. “We competed hard. We’ve got to do that. We’ve just got to keep coming at people. I thought we got off to a good start. It’s a good first game.”

Bryant scored 20 points or more in each of the first three quarters.

The game was tight until the Lady Hornets turned an 11-9 edge into a 21-9 lead. The spurt started with a pair of free throws by India Atkins. Trotter then drove for a layup off an E-STEM turnover. Parris Atkins made a steal and layup to push it to 17-9 as the Lady Mets took a timeout.

But that didn’t slow down Bryant. Another turnover led to free throws for Trotter, who converted once. Parris Atkins hit a 12-foot jumper and, with :23.8 left, went to the line after making a steal. She converted once to complete the 10-0 run.

E-STEM’s Blake Green canned an eight-footer in the closing seconds to end her team’s drought, making it 21-11 going into the second quarter.

Bryant forced eight turnovers in the period then nine more in the second.

McKenzie Muse eyes a 3-point shot. (Photo by Rick Nation)

“We play so much better when we’re up and down,” Matthews said. “We’ve just got to do the things that it takes to get up and down. We’ve got to defend. We’ve got to rebound. We’ve got to be disciplined in our pressure. 

“And I think that was the key,” he acknowledged. “We had really good spurts tonight where we were disciplined in our pressure and we’ve just got to get to that more and more and more.”

The Lady Hornets ended the half much in the same way they ended the opening stanza. A 3 by the Lady Mets’ Alexandria Johnson cut Bryant’s lead to 27-17. But Celena Martin answed for the Lady Hornets, starting a 14-3 burst.

Parris Atkins converted four free throws on consecutive possession and, after a three-point play by Johnson, she hit a 3. Trotter went to the line with :52.4 showing and, though she missed the front end of the one-and-one, Martin rebounded, got the ball back to Trotter and she scored inside. Lexie Taylor followed with a theft and India Atkins fed her younger sister for a layup that made it 41-20 at the intermission.

Parris Atkins drives the floor. (Photo by Rick Nation)

That onslaught continued in the third quarter. After Johnson, who led her team with 13 points despite going 1 of 13 from 3-point range, drove for a layup, Parris Atkins answered. India Atkins added a free throw off a steal before McKenzie Muse pumped in a 3-pointer to make it 47-22. 

Martin’s steal and layup kept the surge going. Taylor drove for a basket and Trotter hit the offensive glass to get fouled. She added both free throws to make it 53-22 before E-STEM scored again on a 3 by Mahogony Finley. Green added a free throw for the Lady Mets but then Mady Scifres made a steal for Bryant and fed Parris Atkins for a layup.

Bryant’s Ivory Russ traded free throws with Green then Scifres beat the buzzer with a 3 to send it to the fourth quarter with the mercy rule in effect.

The Lady Hornets begin the season in earnest on Monday, Nov. 18, at a tournament at Lake Hamilton. They’ll take on Greenwood, a strong 6A program, at 5 p.m.

LADY HORNETS 64, LADY METS 34

Benefit game

Score by quarters

E-STEM            11        9          7          7 — 34

BRYANT           21        20        20        3 — 64

LADY METS 34

Mitchell 2-12 0-2 5, Johnson 5-19 2-2 13, Green 3-10 2-4 8, Robinson 0-1 0-0 0, Hudson 2-3 0-2 4, Finley 1-3 1-2 4, Chambers 0-1 0-0 0, Wilborn 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-50 5-12 34.

LADY HORNETS 64

Trotter 5-9 7-9 17, P.Atkins 7-13 5-6 20, I.Atkins 1-5 3-4 5, Martin 3-3 0-0 8, Muse 2-6 0-0 5, Taylor 2-6 0-0 5, Scifres 1-3 0-0 3, Russ 0-1 1-2 1, Kr.Weng 0-0 0-0 0, Greer 0-3 0-0 0, Baker 0-1 0-0 0, Ka.Weng 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Hancock 0-2 0-0 0, Jordan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-51 16-21 64. 

Three-point field goals: Bryant 6-20 (Martin 2-2, Taylor 1-5, Muse 1-4, P.Atkins 1-3, Scifres 1-2, I.Atkins 0-2, Trotter 0-1, Greer 0-1), E-STEM 3-24 (Johnson 1-13, Mitchell 1-5, Finley 1-1, Green 0-5). Turnovers: Bryant 17, E-STEM 27. Rebounds: Bryant 10-31 41 (P.Atkins 1-6 7, Martin 2-3 5, Trotter 1-3 4, I.Atkins 1-3 4, Baker 1-3 4, Muse 1-2 3, Taylor 0-2 2, Scifres 0-2 2, Russ 1-1 2, Greer 2-0 2, Ka.Weng 0-2 2, Hancock 0-2 2, Taylor 0-1 1, team 0-1 1), E-STEM 8-25 33 (Johnson 1-6 7, Robinson 1-4 5, Mitchell 1-3 4, Finley 1-3 4, Green 1-2 3, Hudson 1-0 1, Chambers 0-1 1, Wilborn 1-0 1, team 1-6 7). Team fouls: Bryant 24, E-STEM 14.



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