For more photos from this event by Rick Nation, go here
LITTLE ROCK — Bryant Hornets head basketball coach Mike Abrahamson put together a tough schedule for his team this season. After all, he’s got a veteran group that made it a shot away from playing for a State championship last year and he wants no complacency. And, in order to get better, they have to be challenged.
Few will challenge the Hornets quite like the perennial powerhouse Little Rock Parkview Patriots, whom Bryant opened against in the annual Jammin’ For Jackets Tournament at Hall High School Thursday night.
Playing 16-minute halves instead of eight-minute quarters, the teams battled in the first half with Bryant coming away with a 28-27 lead. Playing man, the Patriots couldn’t contend with the Hornets’ slashing attack and spot up 3-point shooting. Four of Bryant’s five 3’s in the game came in the first half.
In the second half, however, Parkview deployed in a zone, got more aggressive offensively and finished with a 71-55 victory. The lead didn’t reach double figures until midway through the half but eventually grew to as much as 17 points.
“It was a good test,” said Abrahamson. “We’ll really grow from this because we’ve not played anybody like that. And may not again. With 6-8, 6-7, 6-6 that can get elbows at the rim, I don’t think that we’ll see that again. But we’ll see teams just as athletic maybe just not coupled with that size and length.
“I mean it’s not fun,” he asserted. “We don’t take any moral victories but we do have to get better from it.
“We’re in here for a reason,” the coach acknowledged. “We want to get better. We want to play the best and we’re not backing down from that.”
The loss was the first of the season for Bryant, now 4-1, going into this evening’s game at 5:30 against Little Rock McClellan, in the consolation round. They’ll wrap up the tourney on Saturday against either Little Rock Hall or Episcopal Collegiate of Little Rock.
Basketball parlance has evolved. Coaches no longer just note that a team has size or is tall. The former indicates girth, the latter just height. The team “length” is more descriptive of a team that has height and reach along with the ability to leap, which indicates that play taller and wider than their actual measurements.
Parkview had “length” and a lot of it, starters and just about everybody that came off the bench, 12 deep.
The Hornets took it to them in the first half, perhaps surprising the Patriots a bit when they built a 17-7 lead by the 9:39 mark.
Curtis White opened the game with the first of his trio of 3’s on the night but two free throws by Lowell Washington and a pull-up jumper by Romen Martin had Bryant up 4-3.
Javon Franklin scored then, after Washington tied it at the free-throw line, a 3-pointer by Braylen Steen gave the Hornets the lead. Kaleb Turner extended the margin with a layup off a nice feed from Calvin Allen.
Parkview subbed in a new five but, after Caleb Stokes scored, the Hornets’ run continued. Turner added two free throws, Steen got to the line for one and, when his second missed, Martin hustled after the carom and drove the baseline for a layup.
Allen made a steal and a layup to make it 17-7.
Martin would match Parkview’s Khalil Garland for scoring honors in the game with 18. Garland spurred the Patriots’ second big second half with 15 of his points. White finished with 17 including 12 in the first half. Franklin finished with 11. For Bryant, Allen had 12, Steen and Turner 8 each.
The Hornets didn’t score again after that early salvo until Parkview had surged to an 18-17 edge. Allen fed Steen to break the momentum then Martin took a charge on the high-flying Franklin. The Hornets had two chances to extend their one-point edge but came up empty. Parkview got a run-out dunk from Garland then the 6-8 Henderson threw one down. Franklin followed with a three-point play and the Patriots’ lead was 25-19.
But Turner canned a 3 from the corner to stem the tide and, with late 3’s from Allen and Martin, the Hornets pushed back ahead 28-27 at the break.
White and Martin traded 3’s to start the second half. Henderson scored off the offensive boards but Martin drove for a layup and the Hornets held a 33-32 edge at the 13:22 mark of the half.
Garland put Parkview back ahead, starting a surge that produced the initial double-digit lead, 43-33 by the 10:02 mark.
Steen broke the Bryant silence with a layup off a nice inbounds feed from Allen and the margin lingered from 10 to 14 points before an 8-3 push by Parkview got the lead to 17 at the 3:18 mark.
The Hornets stayed after it and cut it to 11 in the last two minutes but could get no closer.
“I thought we played hard,” Abrahamson said. “I thought there were a few times tonight that we abandoned our plan but, to Parkview’s credit, they make you do that. They take up so much space with their length, coupled with extreme athleticism, that a lot of times, we’re settling for 3’s instead of getting the type of 3’s that we want. I’m saying, ‘Don’t settle, don’t settle’ but, at the same time, we can’t get in there to sink everybody in then kick it out. We were just not in a rhythm.”
PATRIOTS 71, HORNETS 55
Score by halves
BRYANT 28 27 — 55
Parkview 27 44 — 71
HORNETS (4-1) 55
Allen 3-10 5-7 12, Martin 7-18 2-3 18, Turner 2-9 3-4 8, Steen 3-11 1-2 8, Washington 1-4 3-4 5, Chumley 0-0 0-0 0, Ma.Moody 0-1 2-2 2, Canada 0-0 0-0 0, McIntosh 1-2 0-1 2, Lambert 0-0 0-2 0, Terry 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-56 16-25 55.
PATRIOTS (6-1) 71
Farr 0-1 0-0 0, Garland 7-14 4-6 18, Franklin 5-9 1-4 11, White 7-11 0-1 17, Henderson 3-5 2-2 8, Flanigan 1-1 0-0 2, Stokes 2-5 0-0 4, Terry 0-1 0-0 0, Cooper 0-0 2-2 2, Mo.Moody 2-6 0-0 4, McElway 2-2 1-2 5, Cumming 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-55 10-17 71.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 5-26 (Martin 2-12, Turner 1-5, Allen 1-5, Steen 1-2, McIntosh 0-1, Terry 0-1), LR Parkview 3-10 (White 3-6, Mo.Moody 0-4). Turnovers: Bryant 13, Parkview 14. Rebounds: Bryant 17-20 37 (Steen 4-4 8, Martin 3-5 8, Washington 3-1 4, Ma.Moody 3-1 4, Turner 2-1 3, Allen 0-3 3, McIntosh 1-2 3, Canada 0-1 1, Lambert 1-0 1, team 2-0 2), LR Parkview 9-26 35 (Franklin 3-6 9, Henderson 2-6 8, Garland 1-4 5, White 1-2 3, Farr 1-1 2, Stokes 0-2 2, McElway 1-1 2, Flanigan 0-1 1, Mo.Moody 0-1 1, team 0-2 2). Team fouls: Bryant 17, Parkview 21.