Photos by Kevin Nagle
Rodney Lambert and Kajuan Robinson combined for 28 points, and Josh Robinson and Henry Terry hit clutch free throws in the final minute as the Bryant Hornets freshman team forged a 42-34 win over the Russellville Whirlwinds Thursday night.
It was the third win in the last four games for Bryant and improved them to 4-3 in the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference going into the final week of the regular season. The Hornets host Cabot Red on Monday then Conway White on Thursday as they work for seeding at the conference’s post-season championship tournament, which begins in Russellville on Wednesday, Feb. 11.
“It was a big win for us,” said Hornets coach Tyler Posey. “That team beat us the first time around so we felt like we owed them a little something.”
The Whirlwinds defeated the Hornets 54-44 on Dec. 14. And, Posey admitted, it wasn’t quite the same team Bryant faced then.
“Their best player got injured for the year and they’ve been struggling a little bit,” he related. “But they really forced us into some bad turnovers and tough shots. They executed their plan and I tip my hat to them. They played a good game and made us a little sloppy.”
But the Hornets went to a press in the second half after falling behind 26-22.
Terry hit a 3 to fuel a Bryant rally. Russellville’s Jakobe Donald drove for a layup to make it 28-25 with 3:06 left in the third quarter. But those were the last points of the period for the Whirlwinds as the Hornets went on a 13-1 run.
A three-point play by Kajuan Robinson sparked the surge, tying the game at 28. Lambert followed his own miss to beat the buzzer and the Hornets were up 30-28 going into the final six minutes.
A follow by Kajuan Robinson started the fourth quarter and Lambert drove for a layup off a Russellville miss.
The Whirlwinds had two chances to stem the tide with trips to the free throw line but converted just one of four shots before Bryant’s Randy Thomas canned an 8-footer to make it 36-29 with 3:12 left. Lambert made a steal and layup to extend the run and before Russellville’s Bowen Mathis scored with 2:00 left to end his team’s drought.
A three-point play by center Langston Parker gave the Whirlwinds hope, cutting the margin to 38-34 with 1:23 to go. At 1:02, Josh Robinson was fouled but missed the front end of the one-and-one.
Trying to make it a one-possession game, Bryson Kordsmeier who led his team with 15 points, missed the mark. Josh Robinson was fouled again and, this time, converted both shots to make it 40-34 with 51 seconds left.
The Hornets forced a turnover and Terry cashed in with a free throw that made it a three-possession game with just :33.2 to go. Another turnover led to another free throw by Josh Robinson that set the final score.
“The press turned them over a few times,” Posey said. “Our pressure kind of got them a little in the fourth quarter. We made a couple of plays, just enough to win.”
Bryant led almost the entire first half, getting off to a 6-2 start. After Mathis scored to open the game, Terry buried a 3, Lambert hit a free throw and, moments later, took a charge that set up a driving jumper by Josh Robinson.
Kordsmeier hit two free throws bu Lambert drained a triple to make it 9-4.
The Hornets led 13-8 at the first break. The increased to a 10-point margin when Lambert hit another trey and Kajuan Robinson knocked down a jumper in the lane to start the second quarter.
But Kordsmeier and Donald fueled a Russellville rally with some long-range shooting. Kordsmeier drilled three triples in the final 4:36 of the half. Donald knocked down a 3 and added a layup as the Whirlwinds pulled ahead 24-22 by halftime.
Kordsmeier’s pull-up jay started the scoring in the third quarter to increase the lead to 4 before Terry’s triple got the Hornets in gear again.
HORNETS 42, WHIRLWINDS 34
Score by quarters
Russellville 8 16 4 6 — 34
BRYANT 13 9 8 12 — 42
Bucher 0-1 0-0 0, Mathis 3-6 0-0 6, Kordsmeier 5-14 2-2 15, Donald 3-6 1-3 7, Parker 1-2 1-3 3, Travis 0-0 0-0 0, Palmer 1-1 0-1 3, McKinley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-30 (43%) 4-9 (44%) 34.
Lambert 6-13 1-4 15, Terry 2-2 1-2 7, J.Robinson 1-2 3-5 5, Thomas 1-2 0-2 2, Smith 0-4 0-0 0, K.Robinson 4-5 5-5 13, Drake 0-0 0-0 0, O’Neal 0-1 0-0 0, Blair 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-29 (48%) 10-18 (56%) 42.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 4-5 (Lambert 2-3, Terry 2-2), Russellville 4-10 (Kordsmeier 3-5, Palmer 1-1, Mathis 0-3, Bucher 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 14, Russellville 14. Rebounds: Bryant 7-14 21 (Smith 4-7 11, Lambert 1-1 2, Thomas 1-1 2, K.Robinson 1-1 2, J.Robinson 0-1 1, team 0-3 3), Russellville 7-11 18 (Kordsmeier 2-6 8, Donald 2-1 3, Bucher 0-2 2, McKinley 2-0 2, Mathis 1-0 1, Travis 0-1 1, team 0-1 1). Team fouls: Bryant 10, Russellville 16. Fouled out: Russellville, Bucher, Parker.