Photos by Kevin Nagle
The 2013-14 Bryant White Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School and the 2013-14 Bryant Blue Hornets eighth grade team of Bethel Middle School are now the 2014-15 Bryant Hornets freshman basketball team. And they’ve only been practicing as one group for a short time, particularly in light of the game. It always takes time for the team to gel and often they have to build the chemistry and timing not only in practice but in early-season games.
This year is no different. Sometimes they’re going to look pretty good. Other times, they’re going to look like a team in development.
Some years the team does all right regardless. They start better than in other seasons but in some years the teams on the schedule are better than others and this year’s lineup so far has been tough.
On Tuesday in the second round of the Bryant Invitational Tournament, there were some of those good moments but still more of those latter ones exposed by a solid Pulaski Academy Bruins team, which forged a 54-32 win.
The process continues for Bryant, which will have some more practice time to get the kinks worked out before they travel to Cabot North on Monday, Nov. 24, then take a break from competition over Thanksgiving and return with a trip to Lake Hamilton on Monday, Dec. 1.
The Hornets suffered 17 turnovers against Pulaski Academy. The Bruins put together a 10-0 run in the first half to gain the upper hand. For Bryant, Sam Chumley hit a baseline jumper for the first points of the game then drilled a 3 to cut a 6-2 Bruins lead to 6-5.
Jonathan Coleman who led Pulaski Academy with 15 points, hit a free throw but Bryant’s Brooks Ellis scored inside to tie the game 7-7 with 2:03 left in the opening quarter.
But that’s when the Bruins started their run. They would drive and dish, drive and kick or drive all the way to the rack utilizing their quickness. The run started with a drive and kick with Zack Fischer spotting up for a 3-pointer. In the final minute of the quarter, Coleman drove for a layup then Brett Lynch was the beneficiary of a kick-out pass, hitting a 3 at the buzzer to make it 15-7.
Coleman would take advantage of a Bryant turnover to start the second quarter, scoring as he was fouled. Though he missed the free throw, the Bruins had a 10-point advantage.
The Hornets’ JonLuke Sprout snapped the run with a basket on his drive to the hoop and, after E.J. Anderson converted a pair of free throws for Pulaski Academy, Ellis scored of a nice feed from Chumley then Chumley hit a pull-up jay to whittle the lead to 19-13.
The Hornets had a chance to get closer but suffered a turnover. The Bruins pushed the lead to 12 before the Hornets made a push at the end of the half. Ellis hit a free throw, Chumley scored again. A free throw by Brandon Shirlee made it 25-17 at the half.
Chumley led the Hornets with 11 points but 9 of those came in the first half.
Pulaski Academy took control of the game in the third quarter. Anderson opened it up with a pair of 3’s that moved Hornets coach Tyler Posey to call a timeout with his team down 31-17.
When they returned, an offensive-rebound by Sprout cut into the lead but it wound up only interrupting the Bruins’ 18-4 run. It was 40-19 before the Hornets scored again on a bucket inside by Ellis. A free throw by Sprout made it 43-22 going into the fourth quarter.
The Hornets couldn’t get much closer down the stretch. They were down 47-23 when Luke Curtis scored off the offensive boards and was fouled. Though he missed the free throw he went back to get the rebound but a turnover followed. Moments later, Curtis made a steal that led to two free throws by Chumley.
But back-to-back hoops by Coleman and Lynch pushed the lead back up to 24.
BRUINS 54, HORNETS 32
Score by quarters
Pulaski Acad. 15 10 15 11 — 54
BRYANT 7 10 5 10 — 32
PULASKI ACADEMY 54
E.Anderson 3-5 6-7 14, Lynch 3-7 1-2 8, Coleman 6-10 3-6 15, R.Anderson 3-5 0-0 6, Fischer 1-3 0-0 3, Burgess 0-0 0-2 0, Henry 0-0 2-2 2, Shelton 1-4 0-0 3, Ford 0-0 0-0 0, Greer 0-3 0-0 0, Stovall 1-2 1-1 3, Mahomad 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-39 13-20 54.
Chumley 4-9 2-2 11, Forst 1-1 0-0 2, Calhoun 0-5 0-0 0, Ellis 3-5 1-2 7, Sprout 2-4 1-2 5, Curtis 2-2 1-2 5, Murray 0-2 0-0 0, Shirlee 0-0 1-2 1, Moody 0-0 1-3 1, Sandidge 0-0 0-0 0, Jackson 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 12-29 7-15 32.
Three-point field goals: Pulaski Academy 5-10 (E.Anderson 2-4, Fischer 1-3, Shelton 1-2, Lynch 1-1), Bryant 1-5 (Chumley 1-2, Calhoun 0-3). Rebounds: Pulaski Academy 9-13 22 (Lynch 0-5 5, Coleman 2-1 3, E.Anderson 2-0 2, Greer 2-0 2, Shelton 1-1 2, R.Anderson 1-0 1, Burgess 1-0 1, Stovall 0-1 1, team 2-3 5), Bryant 8-15 23 (Ellis 4-1 5, Sprout 1-3 4, Curtis 2-1 3, Calhoun 0-3 3, Calhoun 0-2 2, Shirlee 0-2 2, Forst 0-1 1, Murray 0-1 1, Sandidge 0-1 1, team 1-0 1). Turnovers: Pulaski Academy 7, Bryant 17. Team fouls: Pulaski Academy 13, Bryant 16.