Second-half surge lifts Lady Hornets over Lady Panthers

For more photos of this event by Kevin Nagle, go here; photos also by Paul Dotson

McKenzie Muse, left, looks to get past a Cabot defender. (Photo courtesy of Paul Dotson)

CABOT — With 4:56 left in the third quarter, the Bryant Lady Hornets, who had led since the Cabot Lady Panthers scored the first basket of the game, had had as much as a 10-point lead dwindle down to 2, 23-21.

The Lady Panthers had opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run.

Bryant head coach Brad Matthews called a timeout.

“We just had to get back to what we were doing,” Matthews said of his instructions during the break. “We played a really good first half. We had one stretch where we had some unforced turnovers. But we were executing.”

“Cabot’s really good in transition,” he noted. “We let them have a few transition baskets, had one breakdown on defense where they got an open 3. But then we got back to rule defense, forced some turnovers and executed on offense. We were able to make some shots to get back to a comfortable lead.”

Robyn Gordon fires a shot in the lane. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Indeed, the Lady Hornets went on a 22-0 burst that blew the game open. By the end of the quarter, they had doubled up the Lady Panthers 42-21. 

They wound up dismissing Cabot, 49-29, taking over fourth place in the 6A-Central Conference, snapping the tie in the standings between the two teams.

It looks likely that the Lady Hornets will thus garner a No. 5 seed for the Class 6A State Tournament at Bentonville West unless they can pull an upset in one of their last two games against the strong teams from North Little Rock and Conway or one of the weaker teams in the Central (Mount St. Mary Academy or Fort Smith Southside) knocks off Little Rock Central. Either of those scenarios would make the Lady Hornets a 4 seed.

Tuesday, against North Little Rock, will be Senior Night for the Lady Hornets. North Little Rock will come in off an overtime victory over previously undefeated Fort Smith Northside.

Kalia Walker drives to the hoop. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

As a 5 seed, Bryant would play the very first game of the State tourney against the 4 seed from the West, which could still be Springdale, Van Buren or the host team. It’ll probably be the winner of the Van Buren at Springdale game on the final night of the regular-season.

Against Cabot, the Lady Hornets forced 28 turnovers resulting in 20 more field goal attempts for Bryant.

“We executed really well tonight,” Matthews asserted. “Our defense — Coach (Joanna) Scott is doing a great job with that. Southside had just 19 the other night and, tonight, to keep Cabot that low — Coach Scott’s doing a great job with our defense. She does a great job of preparing our kids for what we’re going to see.”

Still, Bryant’s 21-12 halftime lead nearly evaporated early in the third quarter.

“They made that run,” Matthews observed, “but I think we showed a little bit of toughness tonight by answering that run on the road in a place that was ready to get really loud. We let it get really loud for a second but, after that — I was really proud of our kids’ toughness and really good execution on both ends. It all fits together.”

India Atkins tries a 3. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

To start the blitz, point guard Tierra Trotter fed India Atkins for a layup. Off a Cabot turnover, McKenzie Muse popped a 3. Trotter made a steal and a layup and suddenly the margin was back to 9, 30-21.

Ivory Russ kicked a pass out to Trotter for a 3 then Walker made a steal and layup, pushing the lead to 35-21.

Off a steal by Muse, Robyn Gordon came through with a three-point play. Trotter dished to Walker for a basket then Muse added a 15-footer with :07 left in the third quarter. And when Russ followed her own miss and scored, turning in a three-point play, the Lady Hornets’ surge had them enjoying a 45-21 advantage.

A layup by Cabot’s Kaitlyn Theobald ended the Lady Panthers’ drought. Walker answered with a driving jumper and, after Cabot’s Delaney Ringgold missed two free throws, Gordon posted up for a bucket and, with 4:41 left to play, the Lady Hornets had their largest lead at 49-23.

Muse finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Walker added 10 points and Gordon 8.

Celena Martin (15) leaps high after a rebound. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

For Cabot, Hannah Ogilvie and Ashlynn Ball each had 8.

Ogilvie scored the game’s first points, but the Lady Hornets reeled off a 9-0 run that included a three-point play by Gordon, two free throws by Muse and a pair of buckets by Celena Martin.

Emily Belin scored for Cabot with 1:21 left in the period to make it 9-4.

Muse started the second quarter with a 3 off an assist from Russ. Walker added a couple of free throws and it was a 10-point difference.

Cabot cut it to 14-7 but Allison Steen stepped out and drained a 3 off a feed from Martin. Ball answered in kind, but Walker made it 19-10. Belin scored, and Muse added a pair of free throws in the final minute to make it 21-12.

Three-pointers by Hill and Theobald helped fuel Cabot rally to start the third quarter. The Lady Panthers didn’t score again for nearly seven minutes.

LADY HORNETS 49, LADY PANTHERS 29

Score by quarters

BRYANT           9          12        21        7 — 49

Cabot              4          8          9          8 — 29

LADY HORNETS (15-8, 6-6) 49

Trotter 2-11 0-0 5, Atkins 1-6 0-0 2, Martin 2-7 0-0 4, Gordon 3-7 2-2 8, Muse 4-11 4-4 14, Walker 4-10 2-4 10, Russ 1-2 1-1 3, Steen 1-1 0-0 3, Taylor 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 18-57 (32%) 9-11 (82%) 49.

LADY PANTHERS (14-9, 5-7) 29

Wilson 0-3 0-0 0, Arnold 0-1 0-0 0, Belin 2-7 0-0 4, Ogilvie3-4 2-2 8, Stracener 0-3 0-0 0, Davis 0-1 0-0 0, Nichols 0-0 0-0 0, Jimerson 0-1 0-0 0, Theobald 2-8 1-2 6, Ringgold 0-0 1-4 1, Ball 3-6 0-0 8, Wolter 0-0 0-0 0, Coleman 0-0 0-0 0, Madar 0-0 0-0 0, McDonald 1-2 0-0 2, Siegler 0-1 0-0 0. Totals:11-37 (30%) 4-8 (50%) 29.

Three-point field goals:Bryant 4-18 (Muse 2-5, Trotter 1-4, Steen 1-1, Walker 0-3, Atkins 0-2, Taylor 0-2, Gordon 0-1), Cabot 3-13 (Ball 2-5, Theobald 1-6, Wilson 0-2, Stracener 0-1). Turnovers:Bryant 12, Cabot 28. Rebounds:Bryant 12-19 31 (Muse 5-3 8, Gordon 0-5 5, Martin 2-2 4, Trotter 0-2 2, Russ 1-1 2, Atkins 0-1 1, Walker 0-1 1, Steen 0-1 1, team 4-3 7), Cabot 10-24 34 (Belin 3-4 7, Stracener 2-4 6, Ball 1-3 4, Nichols 0-3 3, Ogilvie 1-1 2, Wolter 0-2 2, Arnold 0-1 1, Davis 0-1 1, Jimerson 0-1 1, Theobald 0-1 1, Ringgold 0-1 1, Coleman 0-1 1, McDonald 1-0 1, team 3-2 5). Team fouls:Bryant 11, Cabot 10.



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