Bryant girls taste first competition
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
The Bryant Lady Hornets and Junior Lady Hornets basketball teams inaugurated the new middle school gym on Saturday with a pre-season jamboree that included senior and junior high teams from Lonoke and Carlisle.
Both high school head coach Rhonda Hall and junior high coach Monica Parish were eager for a chance to get their teams in a competitive situation so they, and their players, could assess their progress. Both said it was a successful outing in that regard.
“That’s what you play today for, to work out some things,” Hall said. “You reach a point when you start practicing that you’re not making progress anymore. Then you come and you play in a jamboree and when you go back to practice on Monday, you hope you start making progress in the right direction again. That’s what we needed to do when we came to play today.”
As might be expected, the Lady Hornets had moments when they looked great and moments when it was apparent that it was early in the season, a season with a new coach to get used to, a season in which expectations are high and all the pressure that goes with that.
“We’ve had a lot of changes,” Hall noted. “Getting on the court today let us see where we needed to work the most, where we needed to improve the most. Now, they’ll have a good idea when they come to practice, individually, what they’ve got to work on, to focus on.”
In particular, Hall said, “Our blocking out’s got to be a lot better. We have to be more aggressive on defense, cut down on the number of fouls. Carlisle is the kind of team that plays a rough style of game and, unfortunately, sometimes you play just like your opponent. We kind of did some of that, particularly in the kinds of fouls we were committing. We can do a lot better job on those things. We have players that are good enough to be successful and we’re going to have a good team. We’re just going to have to realize that we’ve got to take steps forward and to try to get better.”
The Carlisle half, which Bryant won 26-23, included a whopping 30 free throws and only three field goals by the Lady Bison. Bryant shot 16 free throws and converted on nine field goal attempts. Amanda Grappe had 12 points for the Lady Hornets. Elizabeth Farrish had 4.
In the other half, Lonoke, which featured a pair of strong inside players, put together a 6-1 run in the final two minutes to pull out a 28-25 win. The Lady Hornets were 6 of 12 from the line in the half including 1 of 5 in those final two minutes.
The Lady Hornets are set to open the regular season on Nov. 21 at home against Sheridan.
The Junior Lady Hornets will host the annual Saline County Tournament to open the season. Their first game will be Thursday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m., against either Little Rock Mills or Malvern.
In their scrimmage against Lonoke, Sydney Simpson scored 4 points and Tyler Cox 3 to lead Bryant to a 15-10 win in which six different Junior Lady Hornets scored.
Against Carlisle, which featured an eighth-grade guard that could probably start on many high school teams, the Junior Lady Hornets were topped 17-9. Again Simpson had 4 points.
“I was pleased with how we came out and how we didn’t give up,” Parish stated. “We had some good spurts in there but we definitely have some things to work on. Carlisle has a scrappy bunch. I challenged the girls, though, afterwards and told them how we can be scrappy like that too. But we’ve got to step up to the next level and they all shook their head. We’re ready, we’re excited about this season.
“I’d like to see a little bit more intensity,” Parish added. “They’ve worked real, real hard but I don’t think they know the difference really in working hard and being aggressive and I’d like to have them more aggressive. I think we passed up some shots that we had, especially our post people. They were passing it back out when I felt they needed to go up with it. We’ll work on that. It’s fixable.”