Robinson’s 35 spurs Hornets to win over Rogers Heritage

Khalen Robinson was named Player of the Game after scoring 35 points.

CONWAY — Khalen Robinson set a mighty high standard for the players on the rest of the teams in the annual Bank OZK/John Stanton Invitational Classic in the very opening game of the event, pouring in 35 points to lead the Bryant Hornets to a 74-52 victory over the Rogers Heritage War Eagles on Friday afternoon.

Each game is sponsored, and the Hornets claimed the Mallard Ready Mix Challenge trophy.

Robinson knocked down five of Bryant’s 12 3-pointers in the game. The two teams combined for 23 triples and just 10 free throws between them.

Treylon Payne finished with 14 points and Catrell Wallace had 8 for the Hornets. Ethan Carpenter paced the War Eagles with 12 points on four 3’s.

The tournament, which included seven of the eight teams from the 6A-Central Conference (with only Cabot elsewhere) and 12 of the 16 teams in Class 6A (formerly Class 7A) on hand, is being played with a 35-second shot clock, something that’s under consideration by the Arkansas Activities Association for inclusion in all games.

“I’m a proponent of the shot clock in high school,” said Hornets head coach Mike Abrahamson. “I like the idea. But I don’t think it hurt them (Heritage) because they played in a tournament with a shot clock already this year, just as we have.

The Hornets gather around head coach Mike Abrahamson during a timeout in Friday’s game.

“It doesn’t bother us, the way we want to play,” he added. “At the same time, I don’t think it was an advantage.”

Defense, a concern for the Bryant coach entering the season, did however force a pair of clock violations as Heritage was unable to get a shot away.

“The kids gave great effort today,” Abrahamson acknowledged. “I’ve got to give some credit to (assistant) Coach (John) Harrison, just helping us prepare, going a little above and beyond, put us through the scouting report yesterday and had our guys run through their (Heritage’s) stuff they like to do, a lot of ‘iso’ situations. He helped us a lot.”

Offensively, the Hornets shot 57 percent from the field (29 of 51) including 12 of 23 on 3’s.

“He might not score 30 in every game,” Abrahamson said. “But he showed the aggression that I want him to have. I’ve been trying to get it to come out. And I had a little talk with him and Treylon the first timeout of the game about being a little bit more aggressive. K.K. took that to heart. I loved seeing his mentality today.”

The duo got off to a good start. Payne hit a 3 off the tap then, after Carpenter missed from long range, Robinson drilled one. He followed up with a steal and a drive to the rack to make it 8-0 and moving Heritage coach Tom Olsen to call a timeout.

And that helped the War Eagles. Carpenter got them on the board with a 3 and, although they trailed 12-3 after a couple of more baskets by Robinson, they rallied to within 15-14 at the first break.

And when Jason Kimball drove for a basket to start the second quarter, Heritage held the lead. Payne and the War Eagles’ point guard Ernesto Rodriguez traded baskets leaving the Hornets down 18-17. 

But that’s when the Hornets caught fire. Robinson drove for a layup and it started a 16-0 run that included a pair of 3’s each by Payne and Robinson as well as one of those shot-clock violations.

Heritage broke a five-minute dry spell when Logan Clines scored to make it 33-20 at the half.

Wallace, in just his second game since joining the team from football, blocked a shot early in the third quarter and it led to a 3 by Payne off a feed from Rodney Lambert.

Rodriguez popped a triple, but Robinson countered in kind. Payne then fed Wallace for a layup to make it 41-23.

“He brings so much to our team,” Abrahamson said of Wallace. “He does bring size (at 6’7”) but he’s a talker. He’s a competitor. He’s a tough kid and he wants to win. And he works, so he brings a lot to what we’re trying to do. I was happy he was able to get a couple of buckets today to go along with his great defense.”

The first two free throws of the entire game were shot by the War Eagles’ Kyle Ingram with 4:06 left in the third quarter, cutting Bryant’s lead to 41-24. A.J. Jenkins hit the offensive glass for a basket and, after Rodriguez hit another 3, Robinson canned a driving jumper, Khasen Robinson made a steal and cashed it in with a 3 to make it 48-27, the first 20-point lead.

It was 50-32 going into the fourth quarter. Heritage whittled it to 58-41 before the Hornets put together a final 13-2 salvo, which produced the largest lead of the game at 71-43.

The reserves played it out after it got under two minutes. Jalen Montgomery had a layup off a steal and Run Hefley drained a 3 from the corner to finish off the scoring.

The Hornets, who improved to 5-3 on the season, will play Springdale Har-Ber on Saturday at 6 p.m., to finish the event.


Score by quarters

Heritage          14        6          12        20 — 52

BRYANT           15        18        17        24 — 74

WAR EAGLES (4-3) 52

Rodriguez 3-5 0-0 8, Furuseth 0-1 0-0 0, Carpenter 4-10 0-0 12, Clines 2-9 0-0 5, Kimball 2-9 0-0 5, Ingram 3-5 3-4 9, Saucier 0-0 0-0 0, Burch 0-1 0-0 0, Snider 0-1 0-0 0, Glenn 4-6 0-0 10, Paxton 0-1 0-0 0, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, McCoy 0-0 0-0 0, Hill 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 19-46 (41%) 3-6 (50%) 52.

HORNETS (5-3) 74

Payne 5-9 0-0 14, Kl.Robinsin 14-18 2-2 35, Lambers 0-5 0-0 0, Jenkins 2-3 0-0 4, Wallace 4-6 0-0 8, Ks.Robinson 2-5 0-0 6, Hall 0-1 2-2 2, Montgomery 1-1 0-0 2, A.Adams 0-0 0-0 0, Washington 0-0 0-0 0, West 0-1 0-0 0, Hefley 1-1 0-0 3, Schroeder 0-0 0-0 0. Totals29-51 (57%) 4-4 (100%) 74.

Three-point field goals:Bryant 12-23 (Kl.Robinson 5-9, Payne 4-6, Ks.Robinson 2-3, Hefley 1-1, Lambert 0-3, West 0-1), Rogers Heritage 11-27 (Carpenter 4-8, Rodriguez 2-4, Glenn 2-4, Kimball 1-4, Clines 1-3, Hill 1-1, Burch 0-1, Paxton 0-1, Snider 0-1). Turnovers:Bryant 10, Rogers Heritage 15. Rebounds:Bryant 7-17 24 (Kl.Robinson 0-7, Jenkins 3-3 6, Lambert 1-2 3, Wallace 2-1 3, Hall 1-2 3, Payne 0-1 1, Ks.Robinson 0-1 1), Rogers Heritage 9-14 23 (Clines 2-5 7, Carpenter 1-3 4, Ingram 2-1 3, Kimball 1-1 2, Saucier 0-1 1, Burch 0-1 1, Hill 1-0 1, team 2-1 3). Team fouls:Bryant 10, Rogers Heritage 6.

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