Depth helps Lady Hornets get past rival Lady Jackets
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 — Over the years, the Bryant Lady Hornets have developed plenty of rivalries while playing in the AAAAA-South Conference. Of course, the feud with Benton extends to all sports at Bryant and, to a certain extent, so does the one with Sheridan.
In the past, those rivalry games have come at crucial times in the season. Lately, the Lady Hornets have been starting both rounds of the double-round robin conference schedule with Sheridan and ending them with Benton. And, more often than not, the Bryant-Sheridan match-ups have had State Tournament implications. In fact, since Sheridan joined the AAAAA-South in 1996-97 both teams had represented the league at State.
That’s why it was so odd for the two teams to be playing on Bryant’s first date of the season on Thursday, Nov. 21. In what will probably be their only meeting of the (regular) season, the Lady Hornets, now a member of the AAAAA-Central, forged a 50-42 win.
And the difference may have been Bryant’s quality depth. Shackled by foul trouble in the first half, Lady Hornets’ head coach Carla Crowder had to go deep into her bench. Four of her five starters picked up two fouls before intermission, an automatic trip to the sidelines for Crowder’s players.
Sheridan, which trailed by as much as 7 in the half, rallied to take a 28-26 halftime lead, but just that. A third-quarter surge by the Lady Hornets re-established their advantage and Sheridan, which never led again, fell back down the stretch.
“I think we didn’t play real well,” Crowder commented. “I don’t know if I had them prepared or not. We played hard but we got into foul trouble early. But once we got going I think we started to play well. We had a lot of people play well in spurts but we’ve got to be more consistent.
“This is a tough place to play for us,” she allowed. “I was real pleased with our effort. Everybody played really hard.”
Senior Jennifer Slack and sophomore Amanda Grappe each had 15 points for the Lady Hornets. Slack’s all came in the second half. Guards Rachel Blakley, a senior, and Ashley Grappe, a sophomore, pitched in with 11 each and junior Yousra Elhagemoussa scored 8 points and hauled down a game-high 12 rebounds before fouling out.
Though they only accounted for 2 points, reserve players Starr Crow, Jeanne Randall, Amie Hubbard, Kalin Dreher and Elizabeth Farish prevented Sheridan from making a big run in the second quarter.
Amanda Grappe had a couple of baskets and Blakley hit a 3 during a 9-4 spurt to start the game for Bryant. The Lady Hornets led 12-9 at the first break.
Randall fed Amanda Grappe for a layup to start the second quarter and, after a free throw by Sheridan’s Samantha Anglin, a three-point play by Amanda Grappe gave Bryant the 17-10 lead.
With a pair of 3-pointers by Ashley Ward and another by Lauren Alexander, Sheridan eventually pulled ahead 22-21 but Elhagemoussa came through with a three-point play and Hubbard made a steal and short jumper to put Bryant back on top 26-22 going into the final minute of the half.
Sheridan finished with a flurry, however, to reclaim the lead. Anglin, the Lady Jackets’ senior point guard had two assists, two free throws after grabbing an defensive rebound and a steal to spark the 6-0 run.
Baskets by Ashley Grappe and Slack regained the advantage for Bryant early in the third quarter. Shareece Blanks tied it at 30 but when Ashley Grappe hit a jumper from the wing then fed Slack inside for a hoop with 4:53 to play, Bryant led 34-30 and Sheridan had to have a timeout.
The Lady Hornets never trailed again. Sheridan was within 39-38 with 1:36 left in the period but Blakley canned her third triple of the game to make it 42-38 going into the fourth quarter.
Sheridan cut it to 46-43 on a 3 by Anglin with 6:38 left and Sheridan had a chance to get closer. But a steal by Amanda Grappe produced a three-point play which started a decisive 9-0 run for Bryant. Sheridan didn’t score again until Anglin hit a 3 with 1:42 to go. Free throws by Ashley Grappe, Slack and Blakley kept Bryant in control.