Missed free throws at the end cost Lady Hornets

BENTON — Even though Benton’s Alyssa Houston scored 18 points and hauled down a whopping 23 rebounds, the Bryant Lady Hornets could’ve pulled out a victory in the annual Saline County Shootout on Tuesday night at the Benton Arena.

Just another free throw or two would’ve done it.

But the Lady Hornets were just 4 of 12 at the charity stripe including 3 of 9 in the fourth quarter when they were trying to expand a narrow lead.

Trailing at the end of regulation, 43-42, Bryant’s Parris Atkins drove the lane and was fouled with :05.4 remaining. She converted the first free throw to tie the game but missed what might’ve been the game-winner and the game went to overtime.

Benton then outscored the Lady Hornets, 10-4, in the extra period to extract a 53-47 victory.

It was a deeply disappointing loss for Bryant, now 4-2, heading into a home game on Friday against El Dorado.

Zayyah Buford connected on all four of her free throws in the overtime to help fend off Bryant in the final 30 seconds.

The Lady Hornets were unable to score after regulation until just 20 seconds remained.

Tuesday Melton added 14 points for the Lady Panthers and Pressley Chism had 13.

Emileigh Muse scored 19 for Bryant with Atkins adding 16 and Brilynn Findley 7.

Though the Lady Hornets forced 17 turnovers while committing 13, they were out rebounded 44-25. Benton had 18 offensive boards including seven by Houston.

The Lady Panthers still only led for brief moments throughout regulation. 

Behind a pair of 3’s from Muse, Bryant build an early advantage, but Benton was able to hang around. The Lady Panthers’ first lead was 13-12 on a stickback by Houston that came on the heels of a basket by Melton. 

But Findley hit a 3 with 1:05 left in the quarter to give her team a 15-13 edge going into the second stanza.

After Atkins scored to make it 17-13, Houston scored off another offensive rebound and Wesley Ferguson knocked down a 3 to put Benton up 18-17.

But Muse took a feed from Atkins and canned another triple and the Lady Panthers were unable to regain the upper hand until, with 2:28 left in the half, Chism followed up a basket by Houston (again, off an offensive rebound) to give Benton a 24-22 edge.

But Muse canned her fourth trey of the half and Bryant took a 25-24 lead into the break.

Houston hit a jumper in the lane to put Benton up at the opening of the third quarter. But then the Lady Hornets made a bid to break the game open. Atkins drove for a basket, Benton turned the ball over, and Findley fed Natalie Edmonson for a 3. Atkins took a charge to get the ball back. Muse cashed in with a drive to the rack.

Benton called a timeout trailing 32-26.

The Lady Panthers went on a 10-0 run out of the timeout. A three-point play by Atkins with :19.3 showing had Bryant down a point, 36-35, going into the fourth quarter.

It took a while for either team to score in the final stanza. But, with 4:42 left in the game, Muse struck again from long range then Atkins made a steal and layup. Bryant led 40-36 and forced a turnover.

A trip to the free throw line with 3:05 to go produced just one point to make it 41-36. Houston scored then a trip to the line for two shots came up empty for Atkins. Muse had a chance to increase the advantage with a one-and-one at the 1:57 mark, but the first shot rimmed out.

Ferguson hit a free throw and, after Muse’s try at a sixth 3 refused to fall, Melton tied the game with :54 left.

Atkins added a free throw at the :28 mark to put Bryant on top but Melton scored again to provide the Lady Panthers with the one-point lead before Atkins was fouled in the closing moments of regulation.


Score by quarters

Bryant             15        10        10        8          4 — 47

Benton            13        11        12        7          10 — 53


Lain 1-4 0-0 2, Atkins 6-12 4-9 16, Edmonson 1-6 0-0 3, Findley 3-9 0-1 7, Muse 7-17 0-2 19, Ka.Weng 0-1 0-0 0, Kr.Weng 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-50 (36%) 4-12 (33%) 47.


McIntyre 0-2 0-0 0, Chism 5-13 0-1 13, Ferguson 1-13 1-2 4, Melton 7-9 0-0 14, Houston 8-14 2-2 18, Buford 0-0 4-4 4, Davis 0-1 0-0 0, Calaway 0-0 0-0 0, Swindle 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-53 (40%) 7-9 (78%) 53.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 7-22 (Muse 5-10, Edmonson 1-5, Findley 1-4, Atkins 0-2, Ka.Weng 0-1), Benton 4-17 (Chism 3-8, Ferguson 1-6, McIntyre 0-1, Davis 0-1, Swindle 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 13, Benton 17. Rebounds: Bryant 9-16 25 (Atkins 2-5 7, Lain 3-2 5, Edmonson 0-3 3, Muse 1-2 3, Findley 1-1 2, Kr.Weng 0-1 1, team 2-2 4), Benton 18-26 44 (Houston 7-16 23, Melton 3-3 6, Ferguson 4-2 6, Chism 2-3 5, McIntyre 1-0 1, Davis 0-1 1, team 1-1 2). Team fouls: Bryant 13, Benton 14. 

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