Carter’s buzzer-beater lifts Lady Hornets to win over Sheridan
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
SHERIDAN — Head coach Blake Condley got the timeout just in time, sophomore Anna Simpson got the pass away just in time and junior Jasmine Carter got a final shot to go in just in time as the Bryant Lady Hornets opened the 2006-07 basketball season with a thrilling 45-44 win over the Sheridan Lady Yellowjackets on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
In a game that Bryant led most of the way, Sheridan had rallied and, thanks to a short jumper down the left baseline with :10.3 showing by point guard Stephanie Clark, had taken a 44-43 lead. The Lady Hornets inbounded the ball and, against Sheridan’s fullcourt pressure which had contributed mightily to Bryant’s 37 turnovers, got the ball into the front court. They were working the ball into the high post when Condley called a timeout. Because of the noise from the crowd, few heard the whistle stopping play including the Lady Hornets who launched a shot. Most Sheridan fans cheered, thinking the game had ended. But the officials put :01.8 back on the clock.
Condley and assistant coach Monica Parish set up an inbounds play. When play resumed, Simpson, playing in her first high school game, was to inbound it on the left sideline. Sheridan’s defense remained sticky but near the timeline in the middle of the court, junior center Amber Westbrook set a screen that Carter used to get wide open as she broke to the basket.
Simpson patiently waited for the play to develop and, with no more than a second or two to get it in before a violation, saw Carter get free and fired the ball to her. Carter caught it with her back to the basket underneath the hoop, twisted around and made a tough bank shot just before the final buzzer, starting Bryant’s victory celebration.
“That’s big,” declared Condley, who was making his debut as the head coach after the Lady Hornets struggled mightily through a 9-18 season a year ago. “I’ve been trying to talk to the girls about mentality and just trying to find a way to win. And that’s what I really believe, that winning’s a mentality. You get it in your head and you just start carrying yourself that way. Hopefully, this will build some of that to where we’ll start feeling like we’re supposed to win these games when it comes down to the end.”
The Lady Hornets made up for their 37 turnovers (to 16 by Sheridan) with a dominating performance on the boards. A few days after a pre-season contest at Lake Hamilton in which they had been dominated inside, the Lady Hornets out-rebounded Sheridan 44-24, a 20-rebound difference to offset the 21-turnover difference.
“After that benefit game Tuesday night (at Lake Hamilton), we’ve really been talking about rebounding,” Condley asserted. “I feel like rebounding is all about your heart. You want the ball, you want to go get it and you have to do it. We’re going to have to address the turnovers. We’re not going to be able to play every game making that many turnovers but, I tell you what, I’m proud of their effort going and rebounding. We really showed that we wanted the ball tonight. We were going after it.”
Carter finished with 12 caroms to go with 18 points, both were game-highs. Bryant point guard Caitlyn Cato got in on seven boards. In fact, 11 different Lady Hornets had at least one rebound and eight different players contributed to the scoring with Brittany Mills and Lindsey Cason second to Carter with 6 points each.
Condley went deep on his bench. Twelve Lady Hornets contributed to the action, many inside where they had to contend with Sheridan’s sizable post players.
“We got into foul trouble and we had girls come in off the bench and they played well,” Condley noted. “I was so proud of those girls, when I looked over and said, ‘Hey, we need you. Get in there and play,’ they were ready, they got in there and they did what we needed them to.”
It also helped that Sheridan struggled shooting the ball including a 15 for 36 night at the free throw line (while Bryant was 9 of 13).
The Lady Hornets played well early just as they had at Lake Hamilton where they led 11-5 in the first quarter before eventually falling 47-30.
Against Sheridan, Amber Gibbs hit a 10-foot jumper with 3:03 left in the first quarter to tie the game at 7. A 3 by Carter gave the Lady Hornets the lead. Moments later, senior guard Brittany Grant fed Cason for a short jumper and Kristen Alford beat the buzzer with a layup to give Bryant a 14-7 lead going into the second quarter.
Sheridan’s Hollie Ashcraft snapped her team’s cold spell to start the second quarter but a 3 by Mills answered. Mills then fed Carter for a basket and the Lady Hornets had a double-digit lead, 19-9.
The lead eventually grew to 16. It was 22-12 before Carter scored off an inbounds play and, after Sheridan missed a pair of free throws, Anna Simpson was fouled on a drive with :11.2 left in the half. She converted twice at the line to make it 26-12 at the break. And when big sister Sydney Simpson canned a 12-foot jumper to start the second-half scoring, the Lady Hornets had their largest lead at 28-12.
That’s when Sheridan picked up the defensive intensity. An offensive foul had given Bryant a chance to bump the lead up even further but Kerriann Ketchum made a steal that led to a pair of free throws and sparked a 17-0 blitz that was capped by a 3-pointer from M’Leah Lindsey which gave the Lady Jackets a 29-28 lead with 2:38 left in the third quarter.
Sheridan had a couple of chances to build on that margin only to have Westbrook make a steal that led to a basket by Cason off a nice feed from Carter, putting the Lady Hornets back on top.
It was nip-and-tuck the rest of the way. Sheridan led 33-32 going into the fourth quarter. Mills hit a 3 but Sheridan’s Kristen Mosley answered, tying it at 35. The game was tied at 37 before Ketchum posted up for a bucket to put her team up by 2 with 5:22 left to play. It was Sheridan’s largest lead.
And it didn’t last long. Cason’s offensive-rebound basket tied it at 39. It was tied for the last time at 41 with 3:49 left. Ketchum hit a free throw to put Sheridan ahead then it was a scramble until Carter’s stickback with 1:50 to go put Bryant back on top. It stayed 43-42 until, with :17.3 left, Mosley was fouled. She missed both shots and Mills came down with the rebound. She was surrounded by Lady Jackets and fell (or knocked?) to the ground. The officials called it walking and Sheridan got another chance leading to the go-ahead basket by Clark (her only points of the game) and the final series of events.
Fresh from edging one long-time rival, the Lady Hornets were scheduled to host another, the Benton Lady Panthers, on Tuesday, Nov. 21, before breaking for Thanksgiving.