CABOT — Strapped by Covid concerns which had cost them four games already, the Bryant White Lady Hornets eighth grade team forged ahead on Tuesday night against the Cabot North Lady Panthers. The Lady Hornets were without four of their five starters and hadn’t practiced in a while. Tuesday was the first day the team got back together.
The result for the Lady Hornets, who came into the game with a 5-1 record including a 40-31 win over Cabot North earlier in the season, was a 34-4 loss.
“Austyn Oholendt and Brailey Kellum who counted for 32 of our 40 points the last time we played them were out,” said Lady Hornets coach Ben Perry. “Madison Loggins, who dominates the boards and plays great defense, was out. Kayla Martin, who is our strong post player, was out.
“We played the game with seven other players that have not had as much playing time as everyone else,” he noted. “I had eight players to fill a roster and we surged on. Not only were we down key personnel, but we had not had the opportunity to practice before this game. That is 11 days since any of them have been together to function as a team and we were playing against our toughest competition. We could have used the time to gather ourselves and figure out how some were going to have to fill the roles assigned to them.
“However, we are Bryant and we will compete to the best of our ability despite any odds stacked against us,” the coach continued. “We will always rather compete if we are able, rather than cancel an opportunity. Unfortunately, the odds were just too great. The talent of Cabot North was just too great to overcome,”
Nia Sims, the lone available starter, and Gralynn Baker each had 2 points to account for the Lady Hornets’ points.
“Nia Sims had to step up and play point guard while everyone else was being moved to different and new positions for the game,” Perry said. “Everyone had to adjust and learn through trial by fire, so to speak. It was good for them to compete and learn from their mistakes. They can only get better through trials.
“The girls stayed positive and kept their heads high,” he added. “Competitive sports teach so much to our athletes. It is easy when everything is going your way, but it is great to see athletes keep fighting forward when so much is stacked against them. They didn’t blame each other, and they didn’t fight with one another when things got tough. I’m proud of those that stepped up last night and fought as hard as they could to the bitter end. Hopefully we will have more back next week as we take on North Little Rock.”
That game, on the road, will be on Thursday, Jan. 28.
Cabot North built an 11-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. It was 26-2 at the half.
“Cabot came out with a press that didn’t hurt the girls too much, but it prevented them from getting into an offense as easily,” Perry related. “We had lots of shots go up but just didn’t attack the boards to allow us to get to the free throw line. We only shot two free throws (missing both) all night. Cabot was 4 for 6.
“Cabot couldn’t miss, and we couldn’t hit,” he said. “It was a tough game but the girls will learn and grow. We look forward to practicing this week together and getting into our groove again. I’m proud of the girls for their effort and attitudes and appreciate the parent support to help the girls and this team get better.”