Lady Hornets make the plays when needed to top Hot Springs
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
NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Every time the Hot Springs Lady Trojans got close, the Bryant Lady Hornets had an answer when the two teams met in the first round of the OrthoArkansas/CAC Invitational Tournament on Monday, Nov. 29. And the final answer — a 16-6 surge to the end the ballgame — resulted in a 60-47 win, the third in as many games this season for Bryant.
With the victory, the Lady Hornets advanced to a semifinal match on Wednesday, Dec. 1, with the Cabot Lady Panthers and former Bryant coach Carla Crowder.
Bryant’s Grappe triplets accounted for 42 of the team’s points, including 22 by forward Amanda who also collected a game-high 9 rebounds. Allison and Ashley each had 10 with Allison breaking out with a pair 3-pointers. Amie Hubbard added 8 points and 7 rebounds.
“Different players responded with big plays throughout the night,” noted Lady Hornets head coach Rhonda Hall. “That’s something we couldn’t have done last season.
“It looked like a Monday after Thanksgiving, kind of not real focused,” she added. “But I can’t and shouldn’t complain, Hot Springs makes you play different.”
The Lady Trojans’ only lead of the game was 9-7 in the first quarter. Amanda Grappe, showing her perimeter game, canned an 18-footer to tie it then combined with Ashley to force a turnover that resulted in a three-point play by Ashley and a 12-9 lead.
And when Amanda hit a 3 to end the opening quarter, the Lady Hornets were up by 6.
Hot Springs cut it to 2 early in the second quarter but Bridgette McPeak got loose inside, took a feed from Ashley Grappe and scored and, moments later, Amanda Grappe hit a jumper.
Hot Springs cut it to 3 but Allison Grappe buried a 3, then fed McPeak for a short jumper. And when Hubbard grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup, the Lady Hornets had their largest lead of the half, 26-16.
In the third quarter, Hot Springs, behind some hot 3-point shooting by Jennifer Colton (14 points), whittled the lead to 29-27. But Allison Grappe hit a 15-foot jumper and, after a Hot Springs miss, canned another triple to push the lead back up again.
In the final minute, Hot Springs was within 38-35 only to have Amanda Grappe feed McPeak for a basket inside. Ashley Grappe followed with a buzzer-beating lean-in jay from 15 and the Lady Hornets led 42-35 going into the final eight minutes.
Again, Hot Springs surged to within 44-41 but Hubbard stepped up this time with a 3-point bomb. Ashley Grappe blocked a jumper by Colton and grabbed the ricochet to gain possession. And, at the other end, she too knocked down a trey to make it 50-41.
That was the beginning of Bryant’s closing blitz that included baskets by Kalin Dreher and Amanda Grappe along with free throws by Allison and Ashley Grappe.