Photos by Kevin Nagle and Rick Nation
By Rob Patrick
When the Bryant Lady Hornets and Benton Lady Panthers freshmen teams played last week in the[more] Bryant Invitational Tournament, the game was a nail-biter that went right down to the end. In fact, it look a 12-foot jumper by Kailey Nagle with :08 left for the Lady Hornets to pull out a 1-point win.
It was a different story on Monday night when the two teams tangled again at the Bryant Middle School gym in the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference opener for both.
After Benton’s Taylor Oglesby scored the first points of the game on a driving layup, the Lady Hornets hit their first four shots — by three different players — including a pair of 3’s by Skylar Davis. The 11-2 lead they established had them on their way to a 26-9 victory over their rivals.
Davis wound up drilling all four of her 3-point attempts. She finished with a game-high 15 points.
“We made shots. It’s as simple as that,” declared Bryant coach Nathan Castaldi.
“The first time we played them we were like 9 for 35. Tonight, we came out and made our first four shots, stretched their defense where they had to guard us and play us a little bit different which opened it up inside for us.
“We kind of game-planned to get the same shots but with different people shooting them,” he noted.
The key was how those first 11 points came about. The first two were scored by Britney Sahlmann inside on feeds by Nagle. Because Nagle had burned the Lady Panthers for 9 points mostly from the baseline and including the game winner in the first meeting, Benton had to extend the defense to cover her. The Lady Panthers were thus unable to double-team Sahlmann in the post.
As a result, she got that first basket to go and, moments later, Nagle fed her again and this time a foul led to a free throw and a 3-2 lead. At the other end, Sahlmann stole the ball and the Lady Hornets worked it to get Davis loose on the wing for her first triple.
The Lady Hornets got the ball back on a held ball and this time Nagle got the ball on the baseline and, with Benton’s defense trying to split the difference between her and Sahlmann in the post, she burned them with a 12-foot jumper that made it 8-2.
Davis then capped the run with 1:12 left in the opening quarter by drilling her second trey.
Benton turned the ball over and called timeout to regroup.
A basket by Oglesby, who had 7 of her team’s 9 points, scored to make it 11-4 with :11.4 showing. It ended a drought of over five minutes.
Davis hit a free throw with no time left on the clock and it was 12-4 going into the second quarter.
She made a steal, which led to her third 3 as the lead reached double digits for the first time.
Benton’s Abby Clay answered by sinking a jumper as she was fouled. She missed the subsequent free throw but, typical of Benton’s frustrations on the night, they rebounded twice but came up empty, first on a missed follow then on an offensive foul.
It stayed 15-6 until the final minute of the half when Davis and Sahlmann each hit two free throws to extend the margin to 19-6 at the break.
And when Davis opened the second half with her fourth troika, Benton took a quick timeout less than a minute into the third period.
Oglesby scored when play resumed. The field goal came with 5:11 left in the third quarter. It was the only one of the half for the Lady Panthers would would manage just a free throw (from Oglesby) the rest of the game.
Bryant didn’t do much more either. Sahlmann’s layup with 4:32 left in the third made it 24-8. The Lady Hornets didn’t score again until Carolyn Reeves scored inside with :11 left in the game.
The Lady Hornets improved to 3-3 with the victory. They’ll return to action on Monday, Nov. 26, at Lake Hamilton.
JUNIOR LADY HORNETS 26, JUNIOR LADY PANTHERS 9
Score by quarters
Benton 4 2 2 1 — 9
BRYANT 12 7 5 2 — 26
JUNIOR LADY PANTHERS 9
Pointer 0-1 0-0 0, Oglesby 3-13 1-4 7, Clay 1-1 0-3 2, Brasell 0-4 0-0 0, Landreth 0-2 0-0 0, Rodgers 0-2 0-0 0, Brown 0-3 0-0 0, Gardner 0-0 0-0 0, Hyatt 0-0 0-0 0, Long 0-1 0-0 0, Thornton 0-1 0-0 0, Newmann 0-0 0-0 0, McDuffin 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 4-29 1-9 9.
JUNIOR LADY HORNETS 26
Davis 4-6 3-6 15, Keith 0-2 0-0 0, Nagle 1-1 0-0 2, Sahlmann 2-4 3-4 7, Turpin 0-1 0-0 0, Lowery 0-0 0-0 0, Patton 0-1 0-0 0, Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Reeves 1-2 0-0 2, Ramsey 0-0 0-0 , Moser 0-0 0-0 0, Gentry 0-1 0-0 0, Bullington 0-0 0-0 0, McKnight 0-0 0-0 0, Hill 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 8-20 6-10 26.
Three-point field goals: Benton 0-5 (Oglesby 0-3, Pointer 0-1, Brown 0-1), Bryant 4-6 (Davis 4-4, Keith 0-1, Gentry 0-1). Rebounds: Benton 22 (Oglesby 5), Bryant 23 (Sahlmann 8). Turnovers: Benton 13, Bryant 13. Team fouls: Benton 13, Bryant 15.