February 6 in Bryant athletic history: 2014

Otey, Lady Hornets shock Lady Panthers, 51-50

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).

Photos by Kevin Nagle and Rick Nation

The Bryant Lady Hornets and Benton Lady Panthers watch pensively as Bryant's Jakeria Otey launches a free throw with no time left in the game. She converted both shots to make the Lady Hornets 51-50 winners. (Photo by Rick Nation)

The Bryant Lady Hornets and Benton Lady Panthers watch pensively as Bryant’s Jakeria Otey launches a free throw with no time left in the game. She converted both shots to make the Lady Hornets 51-50 winners. (Photo by Rick Nation)

The whistle and the buzzer came in rapid succession. So much so that the fans of the Benton Lady Panthers fans erupted in celebration of what they thought was come-from-behind one-point win while the Bryant Lady Hornets’ fans erupted in celebration of what they thought was a chance to tie the game or win it with no time left on the clock.

As it turned out, the whistle that indicated the foul came first. So, Bryant junior point guard Jakeria Otey, who had taken the ball coast-to-coast against the Benton press in the final :06.3 only to miss a flying bank shot under duress, went to the free-throw line with no time left on the clock.

Aubree Allen (23) puts up a shot inside of Benton's Tia Brazelle. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Aubree Allen (23) puts up a shot inside of Benton’s Tia Brazelle. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

With her teammates and the Lady Panthers standing at midcourt and the packed house at the Saline County Shootout on their feet, Otey, along at the line, calmly sank the first free throw. That tied the game 50-50.

Then, much to the agony of the Benton folks, Otey knocked down the second shot to provide the winning margin for Bryant in a 51-50 stunner with a wild finish. The clutch free throws capped a 29-point spree by Otey, who also had six steals and five assists.

The Lady Panthers came into the game 5-2 in conference play, 14-4 overall. The Lady Hornets were 2-5 and 6-11.

“You know, rivalry games, crazy things happen,” acknowledged Bryant coach Brad Matthews. “I thought the end of that game was unlike the end of any game I’ve seen. And I’ve coached a while.

“It was a really good team win,” he asserted. “When you’re struggling to get the wins you think you need, and your kids are still coming to practice and working hard — I think over the last few games you see steady improvement. I think that’s a testament to their hard work. Showing up every day, working hard and buying into the scouting reports. We’ve still got a long way to go but this was a good win.”

Aubree Allen added 10 points for the Lady Hornets. Jayla Anderson added 6, Maddie Baxter 4 and Erica Smith 2.

For Benton, Braxton Chumley led the way with 15 points including a big three-point play with :06.3 to go, which gave her team a 50-49 lead, the first for the Lady Panthers since late in the third quarter.

Allison Reynolds added 12 points, Ashlie Dintleman and Skylar Davis 9.

“You know, Peyton Weaver didn’t score tonight but she did a really good job defensively on Chumley,” Matthews noted. “I think Chumley’s so talented. But Peyton did a really good job. I know she still ended up with 15 but 4 or 5 of that was right at the end when stuff was going crazy.”

Jakeria Otey (10) fires up a shot in a crowd on her way to 29 points in Wednesday's game. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Jakeria Otey (10) fires up a shot in a crowd on her way to 29 points in Wednesday’s game. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

“I thought Aubree really came back after sitting out so much of the first half with foul trouble,” he added. “She gave us a spark there in the second half. Jayla got a couple of steals and made a big play. I can’t say enough about Erica Smith.

Of Otey, the coach stated, “I think probably the last four, five, six games, she’s been more solid. She’s got so much potential, a really high ceiling. She can just continue to get better. And I think she’s starting to believe in herself a little bit more. When she plays like that I think our kids feed off of it. We’re able to get out and get some confidence.

“All our kids played so well,” said Matthews. “I thought our defensive effort was really good. We’re rebounding so much better than what we did.

“That’s when we play well and that lets our kids relax,” he related. “I thought our kids fought so hard. Benton’s so talented. We knew (the Lady Panthers) play in spurts. Every game I’ve seen them play — and it’s been five or six or seven this year — they go on 10-0 runs. You’ve got to be mentally tough enough to kind of shorten their run.”

The Lady Hornets rolled to an 13-2 lead to start the game and held the upper hand throughout the first half. Benton made a push early in the third quarter, sparked by Davis, who hit back-to-back 3’s to give her team a 26-23 lead.

Annie Patton goes up for a shot. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Annie Patton goes up for a shot. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

That turned out to be the biggest advantage of the game for the Lady Panthers. Bryant rallied to regain the advantage but with 2:52 left, the game was tied 40-40.

Otey drained a clutch 3-pointer. Reynolds chipped 2 off the lead at the free-throw line but Otey answered with a jumper off a drive with 1:53 to go.

The Lady Hornets had one chance to extend the margin but came up empty so when Chumley drilled a 3 with 1:15 to go, the game was knotted again, 45-45.

With :50.8 showing, Otey fed Allen inside where she was fouled. The senior stepped to the line and converted twice to give Bryant the edge again.

Moments later, Anderson made a steal and drove for a layup to make it a two-possession game. Dintleman scored with :22 left then a mix-up on the inbounds play gave the Lady Panthers a chance to tie or take the lead.

Matthews called a timeout with :17.5 to go and, when play resumed, Otey made her sixth steal of the game. With just five team fouls in the half, Benton attacked Otey as she tried to push the ball up the floor. No foul call came, the ball was knocked loose and Chumley got to the basket, scored and was fouled. That set up the three-point play that had the Lady Panthers up before the dramatic, unlikely finish.

“When (Davis) started making 3’s, they got the lead, and I thought it was so important that we were able to hang in there and fight back,” Matthews said. “It gave our kids some confidence and kind of spurred us on there.”

In their previous meeting at Benton, a 62-38 win for the Lady Panthers, Bryant struggled against the press. This time, however, the Lady Hornets shredded it and forced Benton to abandon it until late in the game.

Peyton Weaver (14) takes a shot. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Peyton Weaver (14) takes a shot. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Otey slashed through the defense to score Bryant’s first 9 points. She then picked up her first assist on Smith’s short jumper that made it 11-2 with 2:38 left in the opening period.

After Dintleman missed a pair of free throws, Otey found Baxter for a short jumper and an 11-point lead. Benton’s first field goal came with :06 left in the opening quarter when Dintleman got free inside.

Chumley’s drive produced the first basket of the second period but Otey countered with her own move to the hoop to make it 15-6. After a three-point play by Chumley, Otey got a breather for a couple of minutes and the Lady Hornets were able to maintain. Baxter hit a pair from the line then Reynolds drove for a basket. She followed up with a steal and was fouled. As Otey returned, Reynolds converted once and the Bryant lead was 17-12.

Anderson made it 19-12 but then Benton scored the next 5 points to cut it to 2. Otey drained a 15-footer to keep the Lady Hornets ahead. It was 21-18 when the Lady Panthers got a chance for the final basket of the half only to have Smith block a shot by Reynolds to keep it a 3-point game.

Davis wound up hitting a trio of 3’s in the third quarter, two back-to-back to give the Lady Panthers their first lead. That’s when Allen stepped up in the post. She scored off a feed from Otey. Moments later, she got to the line off a dish from the Lady Hornets’ point guard. And with 2:44 left in the quarter, she followed her own miss and was fouled. With both free throws falling, Bryant was back on top 31-30.

Reynolds and Otey traded baskets then Davis connected on her third trey and the Lady Panthers regained the upper hand.

But it didn’t last long as Otey drained a triple with :30 left and the Lady Hornets had a 34-30 edge going into the final stanza. Allen made a steal and layup to start the fourth then the two teams traded points for a while until Dintleman’s free throws with 4:07 left were followed up by a jumper from Reynolds that locked it up 40-40.

The Lady Hornets will try to avenge another loss on Friday when they travel to Pine Bluff to take on the Fillies, who pulled away late in Bryant on Jan. 14, 43-28.



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