RUSSELLVILLE — A second-half burst that turned a 10-point deficit in the second half into a 10-point lead by the Bryant White Lady Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School highlighted a 47-32 victory over the Russellville Lady Gales on Tuesday night.
“The girls played tough against a good competitor,” stated Lady Hornets head coach Ben Perry. “I had several girls a little roughed up and even two that were cut and bleeding. They stayed tough and surged on to a good win. I was very proud of how they played and how aggressively they attacked the ball.”
The Lady Hornets surged to a 6-0 lead in the opening moments of the contest.
“Defensively, we started in our 1-2-2 but noticed that Russellville had very good and quick ball movement around our zone after their timeout,” Perry related. “They jumped up ahead of us 8-6.
“We adjusted back to man and were able to finish the quarter ahead 11-8,” he added. “In the second quarter, we found ourselves in a shooting slump and went into the locker room down 18-15.
“I told them in the locker room to shake off the first quarter and that they were going to win this game,” the coach said. “I told them we were going to press them hard the second half and get them with our quickness.
“We started off a little slow in the third quarter and so, in the fourth quarter, I subbed in some quick personnel and the defensive press shined through,” he continued. “At one point, we were down 10 points and the defense took a 20-point turn and we were able to be up by 10 points with about 1:30 left to play.”
Both teams subbed in and the Lady Hornets pushed the lead to the final total.
Jordan Hancock led the way with 14 points. Caitlin LaCerra and V’Mya Palmer added 7 each. Regan Dillon andJayla Keith picked up 3 each while Daria Greer had 2 and Jayla Purifoy 1.
“We shot 13 free throws and made 9 of them,” Perry said. “Russellville shot nine free throws and made one of them. I always want to make more free throws than the other team shoots and we were almost there. We shot 69 percent from the line and I think that is very good for a young eighth grade girls team.
“I was very proud of how they played and how aggressively they attacked the ball,” he concluded. “We need to clean up our man and help-side defense as well as getting into the right offensive movement but we are close. We just need to put it all together at the same time and not have letdown quarters or periods of time within quarters.
“We just need to keep the play going forward into Thursday against Bethel and Tuesday against Cabot North,” he said.
Bryant White plays at Bryant Blue (Bethel) on Thursday before heading to Cabot North on Tuesday, Dec. 12.