Lady Hornets impressive in debut vs. Pine Bluff
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By ROB PATRICK
Year after year, there are few teams in the state’s high school basketball ranks that are more aggressive than the Pine Bluff Fillies. They attack the basket, the glass and a ball-handler with tenacity and high energy, full tilt.
This season appears to be no different as evidenced in the Fillies’ benefit game against the Bryant Lady Hornets at the Hornets Nest on Tuesday, Nov. 11.
That said, the Lady Hornets out-fillied the Fillies.
Bryant forced 27 turnovers, out-rebounded Pine Bluff 47-39 and shot 52 free throws to the Fillies’ 31 on the way to a convincing 80-57 win fueled by a career-high 28 points from senior Anna Simpson.
Depth was evident on both teams. Of the 15 players that got into the game for Bryant, 12 scored, and all but one of the 13 Fillies didn’t scratch.
“I feel like we’re going to really be able to get up and down the floor, try to play hard, non-stop,” stated Lady Hornets head coach Blake Condley. “And when a girl gets tired, I feel comfortable that we’ve got somebody that can give her a break and not miss a beat.”
And the coach chose to play former 7A-Central Conference e rival Pine Bluff for a reason: They’re a lot like many of the teams his will face in the league this season.
“They’re so athletic, they rebound so well,” he concurred. “Now, they were a little smaller than a couple of teams we’ll play but as far as athletically they’ve got as good athletes as anybody we play.”
And the coach was pleased with the result.
“We just needed to play somebody else to kind of see where we’re at, see the things that we need to work on,” he said. “This lets the girls see what we’re trying to do against somebody else. It’s one thing to talk about it when we get together every day in practice but, when we finally play somebody else, you can look at what we’re really trying to do, how we’re trying to scheme, what kind of game plan we’re trying to execute.”
Of course, don’t expect the Lady Hornets to get 52 free throws every game no matter how aggressively they play. The officiating has a history of loosening up by conference time after the first of the year. That will actually made good free-throw shooting more invaluable. Against Pine Bluff, the Lady Hornets only connected on 27 of those 52 freebies and, if you take away Simpson’s 12 of 15 at the line, the percentage goes under 50.
Simpson got all of her points in three quarters. She also had seven rebounds. Alana Morris added 13 points and 12 rebounds, Kenzee Calley added 8 points off the bench and Haley Montgomery pitching in with 6.
Bryant never trailed after Simpson hit a layup in the early going to make it 3-2. She followed up with a steal that led to a layup by Morris. Eventually, the Lady Hornets led by as much as 9 in the first quarter, settling for a 19-13 edge going into the second period.
Pine Bluff rallied to tie it at 26 in the second quarter but a 15-foot jumper by Simpson broke the deadlock. At the other end, sophomore Abbie Stearns blocked a shot and Simpson leaked out for a layup ahead of the defense on the other end and the Lady Hornets were ahead to stay.
A 13-2 run at the end of the second and start of the third quarter pushed the lead to double digits. Stearns hit a layup off a nice feed from Morris to get the roll started. Calley and Taylor Hughes added free throws and Simpson pitched in with 7 unanswered points.
The lead eventually ballooned to 30 points on a Lindsey Nelson layup with 4:38 left to play capping a 27-7 blitz.
The Lady Hornets were set to officially open their season at Pine Bluff on Monday, Nov. 17 in a tournament against the survivor of a first-round game between Pulaski Robinson and Hamburg. A game on Thursday would follow.