Hornets scorch the nets, Yellowjackets
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 — The Bryant Hornets drained nine 3-pointers and played stifling defense as the opened the 2006-07 season with a 58-41 romp at Sheridan on Friday, Nov. 17. Senior Jeremy Nordman led the way with 22 points including four triples and 11 of the 14 Hornets that got into the game added to the scoring.
“I’m very proud of the guys,” stated Hornets head coach Mark Smith. “I thought we hustled real well. Execution-wise, I think we can do a little bit better job, especially in our man offense. That wasn’t real smooth. We need to do that a little bit better. Defensively, it was a real good team effort. We didn’t do bad in man. But I don’t know if it was anything great that we did, it may have been just one of those nights. Our shots went in and theirs didn’t.”
In man-to-man early, post man Hunter Sample and guard Zach Lewis were particularly tough matched up against Sheridan’s top two scorers, center Jesse Cole and swingman Ben Ford. Though Cole eventually scored 20, 13 of that game in the second half and he needed 15 shot attempts and a 10 for 14 night at the line to get it. Ford added 11 but went just 3 of 17 from the field.
The Hornets got into a little foul trouble and the switch was made to a 1-3-1 halfcourt zone that practically shut Sheridan down as Bryant built as much as a 29-point lead before the Jackets finished with a 13-2 run.
“(Going to the 1-3-1) that’s a credit to (assistant) coach (Chad) Withers,” Smith asserted. “He called that. (Sheridan) was struggling a little bit from the field, especially from the perimeter and I guess the longer we ran it the more frustrating maybe they became.”
Smith said his team showed improvement over their pre-season scrimmage at Lake Hamilton earlier in the week that the rugged Wolves won 57-47.
“There was better ball movement,” he said. “We may have been a little bit more patient than what we were at Lake Hamilton. I felt like we did a good job of not giving up too many second chances on shots. We gave up a few offensive rebounds but not a lot.
“For the most part, it was a great way to start out,” Smith concluded. “Everyone got to get in and that’s great and I’m very proud of all the guys.”
Bryant trailed 1-0 but when point guard Brandon Cowart nailed a 3, never again. The game was tied at 6 but when Nordman hit his first trey, the Hornets were ahead to stay. It was 13-12 going into the second quarter.
Sample hit a pair of free throws to start the second quarter then swiped a pass into the post which led to a pair of free throws by Lewis which made it 17-12. Ford hit a free throw then the Hornets went on a 14-0 blitz. Working against the 1-3-1, Sheridan went the entire second quarter without converting a field goal.
Nordman contributed 10 points to the run including a pair of 3’s. Cowart knocked down another troika along the way and Ryan Butzlaff contributed a free throw.
After Cole hit two free throws to end his team’s dryspell, Cowart fed Butzlaff who canned a jumper from the corner to make it 33-15. It was 34-16 at the half.
Sheridan wound up going from the 1:28 mark of the first quarter when Zach Taylor hit a layup until the 4:30 mark of the fourth quarter when Taylor stuck back an offensive rebound without a field goal. When Nordman buried his fourth trey with 4:49 left in the third quarter, the Bryant lead was 20 for the first time, 39-19. After Taylor’s bucket, Cowart drove for a layup and Chad Knight drained a 3 to make it 44-21.
The Hornets led 48-23 going into the final period. Ford hit the first basket of the fourth quarter but Luke Lucas trumped that with Bryant’s ninth 3. When Lucas fed Dijon Benton for a basket and Brad Grisham added a free throw after hitting the offensive glass, the margin had reached it’s zenith, 54-25, with 5:35 left in the game.
Sheridan, led by Cole, scored the rest of the points in the game except for a pair of free throws by Gray Robertson for the Hornets.
Bryant was set to return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at home against the rival Benton Panthers.