Second-half defense sparks freshman Lady Hornets to comeback win

The Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team outscored the Hot Springs Junior Lady Trojans 15-6 in the second half to rally from a halftime deficit for a 29-24 win in the first round of the Bryant Invitational Tournament Monday night.

Bryant advances in the winners bracket to play Hot Springs Lakeside this evening at 6:40. In the other semifinal, Conway White faces North Little Rock.

Lakeside beat Benton to advance and the Lady Panthers will take on Hot Springs at 4:30 in the consolation bracket. Lake Hamilton meets Pulaski Academy in the other consolation bracket contest at 5:35.

Hot Springs jumped out to a 12-6 lead over the Lady Hornets on Monday and held an 18-14 edge at the half. But Bryant put together an 8-2 run through the third quarter to grab the lead.

“We did not play very well the first half,” acknowledged Lady Hornets coach Nathan Castaldi. “On defense, we allowed them to get dribble penetration, which led to some easy buckets for them. We also did not do a great job of blocking out, which allowed them to get some second shot opportunities.

“On offense, we had too many turnovers and settled for too many outside shots,” he added.

“In the second half, we played better,” the coach stated. “It started on the defensive end. We caused a lot of turnovers, which led to some transition baskets for us.”

Destiny Martin led the Lady Hornets with 10 points. Kendal Rogers had 9 and Riley Hill 6. Macey Jaramillo and Kennedy Harris pitched in with 2 apiece.

“Both Kendal and Destiny got some easy baskets after steals,” Castaldi noted. “Jadyn Lewis did a really good job defensively the second half. She guarded their best player most of the second half and really caused her some problems. She limited her to only 1 point the second half.”

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