Photos by Kevin Nagle
Though they led much of the game, the Bryant Hornets freshman team just couldn’t shake the Vilonia Eagles in the season opener for both teams Monday night. That was mostly because the Hornets were having a rough night shooting the ball — 11 of 40 through three quarters from the field and 3 of 18 at the line — as well as the play of the Eagles’ 6-5 do-it-all post Matt Stanley.
In fact, when Stanley hit a 3 as he was fouled and converted a free throw for a 4-point play, the Eagles trailed just 30-23 with 4:34 left to play.
When the Hornets were unable to convert at the other end, Tyler Kelly came up with a steal and got the ball to Kaleb Turner who turned it into a three-point play and a 33-23 lead.
Moments later, Stanley came barreling into the lane on a drive. But there was Marvin Moody to absorb a charge. And, with just over three minutes to play, Stanley had fouled out. He still wound up the game’s leading scorer with 16 points but the Hornets took advantage, closing out the game on a 13-1 surge, easing to a 43-24 win.
“I liked the fact that we stayed with it,” said new Hornets coach Tyler Posey. “We didn’t show the best first half of basketball but we kept with it, stayed strong and we finally put it away there at the end.
“We play 12, 15 deep and it’s a good thing,” he noted. “We wear teams down like that.”
The Hornets were out-rebounded 31-25 but they more than made up for it by forcing a whopping 27 turnovers while committing just 11. That led to 51 shot attempts for Bryant to Vilonia’s 23.
Calvin Allen led the Hornets with 9 points. Turner wound up with 7, all in the fourth quarter. John Winston and Brandon Harris pitched in with 6 each as 10 different players scored.
The Eagles held the early advantage because of the Hornets’ difficulty finding the range. It was 6-2 after Stanley’s second basket of the game at the 4:37 mark of the first quarter.
Jonathan Allen answered for Bryant off a feed from Winston, off his offensive rebound. With 2:42 left in the period, Harris drilled a 3 to give the Hornets their first lead.
Stanley, who had been hit with a technical for hanging on the rim moments before, tied the game with a free throw and the Eagles had a chance to regain the edge. But Garrett Cowart and Calvin Allen combined on a steal that led to a layup. That put the Hornets ahead to stay.
Winston hit the offensive glass for a bucket to make it 11-7 going into the second period.
Stanley canned a pair at the line to start the new quarter then Bryant missed four straight free throws. But they still managed to keep the lead with their defense. Landon Kays hit a layup off a feed from Turner to extend the margin but Vilonia kept hanging around and the half ended with the Hornets up 17-13.
Though they missed some more free throws, the Hornets put together an 8-0 start to the second half. Kyle Sahr scored off an assist from Cowart. Harris fed Cowart for a bucket then drilled a 3 to make it 25-13.
Stanley finally moved the dial for Vilonia with :59 left in the quarter but Kelly flushed a triple to pump the lead to 13.
But 3’s by Jacob Otto and Stanley (part of his 4-point play) had the Eagles within 7 before the Hornets ran off with it down the stretch. Along with his three-point play, Turner would drain a 15-footer. Baskets by Christian McIntosh, Calvin Allen, Jonathan Allen and Winston highlighted the closing blitz.
Posey stated his team still has work to do.
“I want to see a more complete game,” he said. “On the defensive end, we need to stay in front. We let them out several times in our full-court press. We didn’t convert on our opportunities under the goal and on layups. And we’ve got to knock some free throws in.”
The Hornets are set to take part in the first Tip-Off Night at the Bryant Middle School gym this evening. They host Watson Chapel on Thursday then begin play in the annual Bryant Invitational Tournament next week.
BRYANT 43, VILONIA 24
Score by quarters
Vilonia 7 6 3 8 — 24
Bryant 11 6 11 15 — 43
JUNIOR EAGLES 24
Patterson 0-3 1-3 1, Norman 0-1 2-2 2, Madden 1-4 0-0 2, Stanley 5-11 5-8 16, Williford 0-2 0-2 0, Foster 0-0 0-0 0, Otto 1-1 0-0 3, Burton 0-1 0-0 0, Garrison 0-0 0-0 0, Clower 0-0 0-0 0, Britton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 7-23 8-15 24.
JUNIOR HORNETS 43
Cowart 1-5 0-0 2, C.Allen 3-10 3-7 9, J.Allen 2-5 0-0 4, Winston 3-4 0-1 6, Harris 2-8 0-0 6, Sahr 1-1 0-0 2, McIntosh 1-4 0-2 2, Moody 0-2 0-0 0, Turner 3-8 1-1 7, Kays 1-1 0-0 2, Handly 0-0 0-0 0, Kelly 1-2 0-0 3, Abernathy 0-0 0-0 0, Adams 0-0 0-0 0, Slater 0-1 0-0 0, Blake 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-51 4-11 43.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 3-17 (Harris 2-6, Kelly 1-1, Cowart 0-4, Turner 0-3, C.Allen 0-1, McIntosh 0-1, Moody 0-1), Vilonia 2-4 (Stanley 1-2, Otto 1-1, Norman 0-1). Rebounds: Bryant 25 (C.Allen, Harris 6), Vilonia 31 (Williford 8). Turnovers: Bryant 11, Vilonia 27. Team fouls: Bryant 17, Vilonia 16. Fouled out: Vilonia, Stanley.