The lid was on the basket for the Bryant Hornets freshman team in the second half of their Central Arkansas Junior High Conference game against the Cabot White Panthers on Thursday night at the Bryant Middle School gym.
The Hornets managed just two field goals in the second half and hit just 1 of 6 free throws as the Panthers turned a 14-11 halftime deficit into a 33-19 victory.
The Panthers had more success attacking the basket than the Hornets. That not only produced a strong second half from the field but the Panthers got to the line and converted 10 of 13 free throws along the way. They were 13 of 19 for the game to Bryant’s 4 of 10 at the stripe.
Cabot’s Jalen Brown led all scorers with 16 points including 10 of 12 from the free-throw line. No one else had more than 4 for the Panthers.
Bryant’s top scorer was Brooks Ellis with 6 points despite foul trouble. Brandon Hill had 4 points. Sam Chumley, Tristan Calhoun and Luke Curtis finished with 3 points each.
But the Hornets shot just 24 percent (7 of 29) from the field.
Still, they led most of the first half as they stymied the Panthers defensively in much the same way as Cabot White did to the Hornets in the second half. In fact, defense was the order of the day.
On the strength of a pair of baskets by Ellis and a free throw from Curtis, the Hornets had a 5-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. A free throw by Cabot’s Taylor Ruff and a basket by Christian Weir had Bryant behind 7-5 early in the second quarter but Curtis scored off a nice feed from Brandon Murray to tie it. Malik Dobbins answered for the Panthers but then Calhoun drained a 3 off a kick-out from Hill.
A driving jumper fell for Brown with 2:40 left in the half and that proved to be the last points of the quarter for Cabot. A pair of free throws by Hill and a turnaround jumper by Chumley had Bryant up 14-11 at the break.
Ayden Shurley and Ellis traded baskets early in the second half but then Cabot went on a 14-1 run to gain the upper hand for good. It was 23-16 going into the fourth quarter. Chumley broke Bryant’s scoreless stretch with a free throw with 3:38 left in the game and the Hornets were still within 6.
But before Bryant would score again, the Panthers built the margin up to 30-17. There were just 54 seconds left when Hill knocked the lid off the bucket but three more free throws by the Panthers set the final margin.
Bryant hosted Lake Hamilton on Monday, Jan. 26, in its next outing.