Defense keys Hornets’ success in season opener
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
Senior swingman Micah Farish scored 22 points for the Bryant Hornets in their opener against the Sheridan Yellowjackets on Thursday, Nov. 17. But it was his defense that may have provided the key to the team’s 45-33 victory.
Farish, charged with guarding Sheridan’s outside bomber T.J. Wreyford when the Hornets played man-to-man, helped limit him to 7 points. Wreyford attempted nine 3-pointers but converted just twice including one in the final minute after the game was decided.
As a team, the Hornets frustrated the Jackets, who hit just 21 percent from the field (8 of 39).
Still, the win was not secure until the Hornets started taking advantage of Sheridan’s extended defense by working the ball and burning them with back-door cuts. Point guard Phillip Porchay worked the give-and-go with Chris Chumley on three consecutive trips and scored all 5 of his points during a stretch in the final three minutes in which the Bryant lead went from 39-28 to 44-28.
“We played hard but not as smart as I would like for them to play,” said Hornets coach Mark Smith. “I thought our defense was good, especially Micah. Our major concern was our decision making. We took some shots when we should have been working the clock a little more.”
Bryant never trailed after Farish hit a 3-pointer that overcame a 3-2 deficit in the first quarter. Porchay took a charge on defense and Jeremy Nordman cashed in with a 3. Nordman finished with 8 points, Chumley had 6 to go with a game-high 10 rebounds.
Jesse Cole, who converted just 3 of 15 shots from the field but kept getting to the line by attacking the basket, led Sheridan with 17 points including 11 of 14 from the line.
Cole’s basket to start the second quarter had the Jackets within 8-7 but Farish knocked down a 3 and followed up with a baseline jumper to extend the margin.
Sheridan was never that close again. It was 21-15 going into the final 30 seconds of the half when Nordman fed Chumley for a bucket then sophomore Chad Knight made a steal and hit a free throw to make it 24-15 at the break.
And when Farish hit from the corner and Chumley hit the offensive glass for the first two baskets of the second half, the Hornets’ lead had ballooned to 28-15.
Sheridan rallied to cut it to 10 three times in the late stages of the third period but each time, the Hornets had an answer. When it was 28-18, Farish worked a nice give-and-go with Chase Shaw for a layup. When it was 30-20, Porchay found Farish for a reverse layup. And when it was 32-22, Shaw powered for an offensive rebound and scored.
It was 34-24 going into the fourth quarter and Cole hit a free throw to open the final eight minutes, finally getting the margin under double digits. Sheridan had two chances to get closer but Wreyford missed a 3 then Nordman blocked a shot by Cole. After the block, Nordman canned a 3. The lead wavered between 10 and 12 until Porchay sparked the late surge that put the game away.
The Hornets, 1-0, were set to return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at Benton before breaking for Thanksgiving.