For more photos of this event by Kevin Nagle, go here
The seedings for the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference championship tournament had pretty much already been set entering into Thursday night’s quintet of regular-season finals. The Bryant Lady Hornets freshman team already knew it would be seeded seventh and play one of the top two teams in the conference to open the tourney on Monday, Feb. 12. It would be either Conway Blue or Lake Hamilton, who wound up tied for the league title at 16-1.
Likewise, the Conway White Lady Cats came in set as the fourth-seeded team to the tournament, with an opening-round game against fifth-seeded Cabot South.
To their credit, the Lady Hornets played the Lady Cats tough. But, similar to several other games on their CAJHC schedule, the Lady Hornets went through stretches of the game where they just couldn’t get a shot to go in even though some of them came from close range.
Conway White took advantage with a 9-0 run to end the first quarter then an 11-1 run over the last 3:30 of the first half and the first four minutes of the second. Though Bryant got within 10 early in the fourth period and the Lady Cats only led by 11 with 1:50 left in the game, they won 37-18 when Bryant subbed late (and Conway White didn’t).
So, the Lady Hornets will open tournament play on Monday at 5:30 p.m., against Lake Hamilton, and Conway White will play at 8:30 p.m., at the Bryant High School gym.
Thursday’s game was tight early. Addison Funk’s bucket off the offensive glass gave the Lady Hornets their lone lead of the night at 2-0.
Conway surged to a 7-2 lead, but Abbey Inman hit a free throw and Kaitlyn Weng followed up with a three-point play that had them within 7-6.
That’s when the Lady Cats’ first run occurred.
To start the second quarter, the Lady Hornets, down 16-6, cut into the margin. Kristyn Weng nailed a 3 and Ashton Inman hit a free throw after grabbing an offensive rebound. After a pair of misses at the line for Conway White, Kaitlyn Weng converted one of two shots from the stripe and the Lady Hornets were within 16-11.
It was 20-11 at the half and 27-11 before Kristyn Weng scored off a pull-up jumper with 1:40 left in the third quarter. And, when Funk hit the offensive glass for a basket, it was 27-15 going into the fourth quarter.
A driving layup by Rachel Buck cut the margin to 10. But it took four minutes of game clock before the Lady Hornets could score again. Not that Conway White did much in that interim either but when Kristyn Weng hit a free throw at the 1:50 mark, it only closed the game to 29-18.
The Lady Hornets finished the regular-season with a 6-17 overall record, 5-12 in conference. They’re 0-2 against Lake Hamilton this season but, in their first meeting on Nov. 27, 2017, the Lady Wolves had to eke out a 42-36 win.