Lady Hornets conquer Sheridan in 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
Ashley Grappe was the Bryant Lady Hornets second leading scorer during the 2002-03 season as a sophomore. But her scoring wasn’t the only reason she earned all-State honors and designation as the state’s Sophomore of the Year by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
She showed that emphatically Thursday, in the Lady Hornets’ 2003-04 debut against the rival Sheridan Lady Jackets.
Grappe didn’t score a point. In fact, she only attempted two shots and a couple of free throws. But she led the Lady Hornets to a 64-37 victory by dishing out 11 assists, hauling down a game-high eight rebounds and, generally, controlling the game.
The beneficiaries of Ashley’s sparkling passes were primarily her sister Amanda, forward Kalin Dreher and guard Amie Hubbard. Dreher led Bryant with 16 points, Amanda Grappe had 14 and Hubbard 11. In all, nine Lady Hornets scored in the game including Melissa Spring who scored a career-high 7 points in the late going.
All of that made for an impressive debut for new Lady Hornets head coach Rhonda Hall.
“I think we had a little bit to prove after the way we played in our jamboree,” Hall commented, recalling the Lady Hornets’ pre-season scrimmages with Lonoke and Carlisle on Nov. 8. “We knew we were a lot better ball team than that. I think we took some things for granted there and I don’t think we took anything for granted tonight. We came with the idea that Sheridan was going to come in here to beat us and we weren’t going to settle for anything less than winning.
“The kids all played great,” she added. “Their intensity level was really good. Our blocking out was much better. I thought that was probably the biggest difference. If you look back at it, (Sheridan) got very few second shots in the first half. I thought that was a big difference, a big part of us pulling out (to a lead) in the first half.”
In fact, the Lady Hornets collected a whopping 49 rebounds in the game. Sheridan collected just 27, including only three at the offensive end in the first half.
“It never even crossed my mind that Ashley hadn’t scored, she played so well,” Hall noted. “There’s no telling how many points other people scored because of her. She played really well and didn’t try to make things that weren’t there. (Sheridan) probably did a good job on her as far as keeping her from scoring but she’ll always find a way to beat you.”
After Sheridan scored the first 2 points of Thursday’s game and Dreher hit a layup to tie it, Allison Grappe drilled a 3-pointer that put Bryant ahead for good.
It was 9-2 before Sheridan scored again. Hubbard hit a 3, Allison Grappe made a steal and fed Hubbard for a layup to make it 14-5.
Courtney Clark beat the buzzer for a basket to make it 14-7 at the end of the quarter the opened the second period with a stickback bucket to make it a 5-point game, but Sheridan was never closer again. An 8-0 run followed, beginning with a short jumper by Elizabeth Farrish off a nice feed from Megan Kennedy and concluding with a layup by Dreher off an eye-catching feed from Ashley Grappe which was set up when Farrish and Dreher combined on a steal.
By the time the half ended, Bryant led 32-15. Dreher scored half of her points in the second quarter.
Twice in the second half, Sheridan managed to trim the lead to 13 but never closer. The last time came in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter on an offensive-rebound basket by Clark. Hubbard answered with a pair of free throws as Amanda Grappe, playing with four fouls, returned to play after a stint on the bench. The next hoop was set up by Hubbard’s block of a shot by Sheridan’s Cassie Volner. At the other end, Farrish scored to make it 44-27.
After free throws by Volner and Madisun Anglin cut it to 14, Ashley Grappe threaded a pass to Amanda Grappe for a layup. Free throws by Amanda Grappe, a basket by Kennedy off another nice feed from Ashley Grappe, and a second bucket by Kennedy off a nice give-and-go with Amanda Grappe made it 52-30, forcing a Sheridan timeout with 3:40 left to play.
Hall went to the bench after that and the Bryant reserves continued the onslaught, led by Spring. Jessie Sutton and Robin Speake also contributed baskets.