Photos by Kevin Nagle
LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant Lady Hornets are tougher, more battle-tested and more prepared to make a run at the post-season and some success there at 15-4 now than they were when they were 14-0.
Out of the adversity of three consecutive losses in the 7A/6A-Central Conference, the Lady Hornets acquired what head coach Blake Condley called “a much greater sense of urgency.” They showed it as they tested undefeated North Little Rock on Tuesday, Jan. 25, before absorbing loss number four, 48-40. And they carried that over to Friday night when they took on a Little Rock Central Lady Tigers team that came in ahead of Bryant in the standings.
The Lady Hornets made their first step up the ladder towards the upper levels of the league standings by stifling the Lady Tigers on their home floor in a skid-halting 54-26 win.
They’ll try to take care of business against two teams below them in the standings over the next 10 days, host Van Buren in a make-up game on Tuesday, Feb. 1, then starting the second round of the league schedule against Mount St. Mary on Friday at the Hornets Nest before returning the trip to Van Buren on Tuesday, Feb. 8.
“We played hard on defense, rebounded well as a team, and executed our offense,” noted Conley. “I thought the girls played with a much greater sense of urgency tonight. Hopefully, this gets us headed in the right direction as far as the conference is concerned.”
Bryant led just 12-8 after a quarter but pushed the lead to 28-14 by halftime. The game was well in hand by the end of the third quarter with the Lady Hornets up 40-21.
They held the Lady Tigers to just 11 percent shooting (6 of 54) from the field.
Sophomore McKenzie Adams filled up the stat sheet with 24 points including 7 of 11 free throws to go with six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.Senior Abbi Stearns added 8 points with five boards, three assists and two blocks. Sophomore Kiara Moore pitched in with 7 points, junior London Abernathy 6 and junior Breanna Blundell 5.
Moore went 4 of 6 from the line added five rebounds, three assists and three blocks. Abernathy knocked down a 3 and added an old-fashioned three-point play at, what Condley called, “a crucial time in the third quarter.” She also had five rebounds.
Blundell led the team with seven caroms and connected on three of her four shots from the charity stripe.