By Rob Patrick
A 12-0 run at the end of the first quarter and start of the second gave the Bryant Blue Lady Hornets eighth grade team of Bethel Middle School the upper hand in their battle with crosstown rival Bryant White of Bryant Middle School. The White Lady Hornets rallied to get within 9 before the end of the first half but a three-point play by Dezarea Duckworth and a hoop inside by Erica Smith in the final minute spurred the Blue Lady Hornets on their way to a 36-15 victory at the Bethel gym.
Duckworth wound up with 12 points and 13 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end, for the victors who improved to 6-1 this season. Smith had 8 points, Rori Whittaker 6. Keedy Harrison and Andrea Buford added 3 each and Jessica Alliston and Ashlee Caton pitched in with 2 apiece.
Katie Whitworth led Bryant White with 4 points. Katy Stillman added 3 with Kaitlyn Greer, Melinda Murdock, Alex Wright and DeShadrian Mosby contributing 2 each.
The game was tied at 4 going into the final three minutes of the first quarter. Whitworth and Wright had scored for White while Alliston and Duckworth had Blue on the board.
A jumper in the lane by Caton snapped the tie and Smith added a pair of free throws to start the decisive run.
Bryant White had a chance to pick up some points at the free-throw line but it was a night in which they were only able to get 1 of 10 to go from the stripe.
Smith’s basket in the final minute made it 10-4 going into the second quarter.
Destin Nichols made a steal to start the second quarter for White but couldn’t get her shot to fall. At the other end, Whittaker canned a 12-footer to get Blue going again. A basket by Buford, a steal by Duckworth and a layup by Whittaker completed the skein.
A free throw by Stillman snapped her team’s dryspell. And, after Harrison hit a free throw for Blue, Murdock scored on an inbounds play. Duckworth added a free throw but Greer hit a jumper from the lane and the lead was down to 18-9.It was as close as the White Lady Hornets would get, however.
It was 23-9 at the half then Duckworth and Whittaker bumped the margin to 29-9 before Stillman got White’s next field goal.
“Our eighth graders started the game trying ‘too hard’ but finally settled down and gave the effort and intensity that we want from them,” commented Blue coach Rhonda Hall. “Erica Smith came out of her shell and started putting in the easy buckets, Duckworth gave her usual great effort on the boards and played hard. I was pleased with the way Rori Whittaker and Ashley Caton took care of the ball. We had very few turnovers if any from the guard position.
“This group continues to show improvement and maturity,” she added.
Blue led 33-13 going into the fourth quarter. Down the stretch, everybody got in for both teams. Buford hit a free throw and Harrison canned a 10-footer for Blue while Mosby’s basket off the offensive boards added to White’s total.
“I was proud of the girls,” commented White coach DeAnna Ward. “They knew they were up against a good Bethel team but they went in determined to make a good showing.
“My guards, Melinda Murdock and Addie Chaloupka, did a great job of containing Duckworth. She consistently scores in the twenties,” Ward added. “We knew for it to be a close game we would have to be strong defensively.
“We didn't make as many mistakes offensively,” she mentioned. “Our turnovers were much lower than the previous games. Destin Nichols did a great job of getting the ball down the court against Bethel's press. We have really been working on making good passes and not throwing the ball away. Shooting killed us. It is hard to win a game when you don't score points. We have got to get better at putting the ball in the hole.”
Bryant White is set to return to action at home against Sheridan on Thursday then travels to Sheridan on Saturday. The next outing for Bryant Blue will be Monday, Dec. 14, at the Bryant Middle School gym against Conway White.
BRYANT BLUE 36, BRYANT WHITE 15
Score by quarters
White 4 5 4 2 — 15
Blue 10 13 10 3 — 36
WHITE LADY HORNETS 15
Nichols 0-5 0-0 0, Stillman 1-3 1-2 3, Greer 1-4 0-0 2, Murdock 1-5 0-0 2, Whitworth 2-4 0-4 4, Wright 1-2 0-2 2, Chaloupka 0-0 0-0 0, Privett 0-1 0-0 0, Shaddon 0-2 0-0 0, Jolley 0-0 0-0 0, Matthews 0-0 0-0 0, Mosby 1-1 0-0 2, Burchfield 0-1 0-0 0, Bulthius 0-1 0-0 0, Cathey 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 7-30 1-10 15.
BLUE LADY HORNETS 36
Whittaker 2-7 2-2 6, Alliston 1-2 0-0 2, Duckworth 5-11 2-3 12, Caton 1-6 0-0 2, Smith 3-4 2-6 8, Buford 1-3 1-2 3, Harrison 1-3 1-2 3, Coppock 0-2 0-0 0, Rose 0-4 0-0 0, Forsyth 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 14-44 8-15 36.
Three-point field goals: none. Rebounds: Bryant White 28 (Whitworth 5, Mosby 4), Bryant Blue 33 (Duckworth 13, Smith 3). Turnovers: Bryant White 20, Bryant Blue 14. Fouls: Bryant White 14, Bryant Blue 10.