Lady Hornets clip Benton
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
BENTON — No doubt, Allison Grappe would’ve loved to convert all four of the free throws she attempted in the final 25 seconds of the Bryant Lady Hornets’ game against the rival Benton Lady Panthers on Tuesday, Nov. 26.
Ah, but that would’ve made for a far less dramatic finish.
As it was, Grappe converted two of the four, one on each of her two trips. The first snapped a 48-48 tie.
In turn, Benton’s top scorer Caroline Starr misfired and Amanda Grappe rebounded. The pressing Lady Panthers, who had rallied from a 12-point deficit in the final four minutes, knocked the ball out of bounds. After a Benton timeout with :11.6 showing, Allison Grappe was fouled just three seconds after the inbounds pass.
Her first free throw made it 50-48 but the Lady Panthers had enough time to get it to the gifted Starr who drove to the other end in time to put up a scoop shot from in front of the basket that would’ve tied the game.
But the shot rimmed out and Bryant celebrated a 50-48 win on the Lady Panthers’ floor.
The win improved the Lady Hornets to 2-1 going into the Thanksgiving break. It was their first game without starting forward Kalin Dreher, who suffered a season-ending knee injury the night before in Cabot.
Amanda Grappe scored 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the way. Allison Grappe added 10 points. For Benton, Starr finished with 23 points and Leslie Larsen 11 to go with nine boards.
Benton’s furious rally was fueled by 10 fourth-quarter turnovers by the Lady Hornets against a press that the Bryant coaches and fans often felt was allowed to be more physical that it should’ve been. It also helped that the Lady Hornets were just 11 of 20 at the line in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Hornets actually led 46-36 with three minutes to play but back-to-back offensive-rebound baskets by Larsen got the rally going strong.
After a pair of missed free throws at Bryant’s end and a Benton miss, Starr hit a layup off a Bryant turnover to make it 46-42.
Two free throws by Ashley Grappe eased some of the pressure. She then came close to a steal only to have the deflection picked up by Benton’s Jo Jo Grant for a layup that made it 48-44.
After another missed opportunity at the line, Bryant took that edge into the final minute. Starr cut it to 2 then after Larsen took a charge defending Amanda Grappe, Starr hit two free throws to tie it with :26 left.
The win came despite the fact that Bryant’s all-state point guard Ashley Grappe fouled out when Starr hit the tying free throws.
The game was close early. Starr put the Lady Panthers ahead 9-7 but a 3-pointer by Hubbard and a basket by Melissa Spring off a feed from Megan Kennedy made it 12-9 and Bryant held a 13-11 edge going into the second quarter.
Benton surged to an 18-15 advantage with 4:35 left in the half but Amanda Grappe scored inside and Allison Grappe hit a jumper from the corner to put Bryant ahead, starting a14-2 run to end the half that was highlighted by 3-pointers from Allison and Ashley Grappe and finished up with a 12-foot jumper by sophomore Bridgette McPeak.
Larsen started the second half scoring but when Allison Grappe fed Liz Farish for a basket then, on the next trip, Farish hit two free throws, Bryant’s lead had ballooned to 11.
It was 35-26 going into the fourth quarter and, with Amanda Grappe doing a lot of the damage, the Lady Hornets built the lead to as much as 44-32 before Benton’s rally produced the thrilling finish.