ROGERS — The Bryant Lady Hornets had shots to win in regulation and in overtime but they refused to fall as the Rogers Heritage Lady War Eagles held on for 35-33 win in OT on Monday night.
Bryant trailed 27-23 with under four mintues to play. The Lady Hornets missed a shot but, at the other end, Rachel Miller blocked an attempt by Heritage’s Hailey Tiles. A drive for a basket by Lauren Carroll cut the margin to 27-25. Though Sara Giesen drove for an answering bucket for the Lady War Eagles, Carroll, who led Bryant all scorers with 17 points, drove for another basket to cut it to 2 again.
After head coach Brad Matthew called a timeout, Jakeria Otey and Maddie Baxter combined on a steal that led to a layup for Raija Todd and a tie game with 1:22 go play in regulation.
Giesen converted a pair of free throws but a drive by Otey knotted it at 31 going into the final 30 seconds.
Heritage’s star guard Emily Jobst started a drive from the left wing and got past Carroll but Todd was there with good defensive help.
The Lady War Eagles worked the clock down to :14.8 and called a timeout to set up a potential game-winning play. But when play resumed, they threw it away with :06.5 to go.
Bryant worked the ball up court and it appeared the Lady Hornets would not get a last-season shot away but Matthews called timeout with :01.1 showing and took the opportunity to set up a play. They got a good but contested shot for Carroll and refused to fall. There was contact from the defense but no call was forthcoming and the game moved on to overtime.
Baxter gave Bryant a chance to gain the upper hand at the start of the extra period by forcing a held ball. But the Lady Hornets committed a turnover and Giesen drove for a layup to snap the tie. And when Jobst scored off a drive after a Bryant miss, Heritage led 35-31.
Otey converted a pair of clutch free throws with 1:21 to go to cut the margin to 2. After a Lady War Eagles’ timeout, the Lady Hornets forced a 10-second call, preventing Heritage from getting past midcourt in time as Baxter hounded Emily Seiler.
Todd got a look at a 3 but the shot refused to fall. Heritage claimed the rebound on a dual possession but, again, the Lady Hornets forced a turnover and, with :17.8 to go, Otey went back to the line for a bonus opportunity but couldn’t get the first attempt to drop.
Todd, however, somehow latched onto the rebound and got the ball back outside to Otey. Matthews called a timeout with :11.3 showing. When play resumed, Otey fired up a long 3 but it caromed out. Carroll managed to claim the offensive rebound and whipped it out to Baxter whose 15-footer to tie, rimmed out.
Heritage held on to win.
“Our kids played hard, competed,” Matthews acknowledged. “We had a few chances there.
“Heritage had two really good guards,” he noted. “(Jobst and Giesen) really shot it well tonight. They were patient and they were really quick and aggressive. We were content with that, keeping their good players from shooting.
“Defensively, that’s two games in a row I thought we played good enough to win,” the coach noted. “Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but good enough to win. Toward the end, we got a few turnovers. We had a chance there at the end of regulation to win it, had a shot to take the lead at the end of overtime. But it was the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter, zone offense. It was not good enough tonight.”
Heritage deployed in a match-up zone and it took Bryant a while to figure a way to deal with it. The Lady War Eagles led 6-2 after a quarter.
“Our zone offense was not very good,” Matthews said. “I’ve got to do a lot better job. We’ve got to execute better in the zone offense. It was the first time we saw it tonight and it was not very clean. Credit to Rogers Heritage. I thought their defense, they did a good job in their match-up stuff.”
Bryant missed three free throws in the opening period. Perhaps knowing how close it would be at the end and how every point is crucial, Matthews briefly showed some frustration. The Lady Hornets wound up 5 of 10 from the line in the game.
“That’ll get you beat on the road,” he said afterwards.
“I thought Lauren Carroll did a good job attacking,” he related. “Give her credit. She’s going to continue to get better. We’ve just got to build on this. We’ve got to take what we’re not doing well and we’ve got to go back to work and fix it. We could be a good team by January, February but we’ve got to make sure to work to fix the things we’re not doing well right now.”
Carroll kept the Lady Hornets in the game in the first half though Heritage managed to build a lead of as much as 17-8 in the second quarter. Annie Patton fed her for a basket to cut the lead to 7 then, at the other end, Carroll blocked a 3-point try by Jobst at the buzzer.
Baxter, who missed much of the first half with two fouls, started the second half with a 3-pointer.
“Maddie Baxter’s come a long way since her sophomore year,” Matthews said of his senior guard. “To her credit, her energy and competitiveness is contagious and I thought we missed that a lot in the first half.”
Otey followed with a drive for a basket then Carroll hit a free throw to cut the margin to 1.
Though Seiler drove for a bucket, Carroll answered with a pair of free throws, cutting it to 19-18. After a pair of Heritage misses, Otey whipped a pass in to Carroll who scored inside and Bryant had its first lead of the game at 20-19.
Giesen tied it with a free throw then the Lady Hornets suffered a turnover. It looked like Heritage had returned the favor on a play that had to either be a foul or a travel but neither was called and Jobst canned her third triple to give her team the advantage going into the fourth quarter.
But the Lady War Eagles couldn’t shake them. Giesen made it 25-20 with a layup to open the scoring in the final quarter but Otey drained a 3 to set up the Lady Hornets’ rally to tie it up.
Otey finished with 11 points to go with Carroll’s 17. The duo accounted for all but 5 of Bryant’s points. Giesen and Jobst each had 13 for Heritage. Seiler had 7 as that trio accounted for all but 2 points for the Lady War Eagles.
Bryant, now 0-2, returns to action in a tournament at Central Arkansas Christian High School on Thursday, Dec. 4.