The nine-game winning streak of the Bryant White Lady Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School came to a rugged ending on Thursday as a tough Sylvan Hills Lady Bears team handed them a 45-25 loss.
In a B game, however, Bryant White prevailed 28-18.
The Lady Bears jumped to a 12-4 lead by the end of the first quarter. It was 17-7 at the half and 23-14 through three quarters.
“That was the best team we have seen all year,” said Lady Hornets coach Ben Perry. “They were athletic and could ball. Their huge, tall post gave us the most difficulty inside.
“We missed some shots, took some bad shots, and were not able to rebound as well as we should. The fourth quarter, I believe, we were tired from a very physical back-and-forth game, along with our heads down a little bit. We played tough but just couldn’t pull this one out.”
Jordan Hancock had 7 points in the game. Regan Dillon hit a pair of 3-pointers for 6, Daria Greer 5, Emma Chappell 4, Caitlin LaCerra 2 and Jayla Purifoy 1.
“The first quarter, it was evident that their post player was going to be a problem,” Perry related. “Right off the bat, we had five shots blocked from us penetrating the lane. We would get great penetration but couldn’t finish our shots with her there in the middle.
“We struggled a little bit and Sylvan Hills capitalized on bad shots and turnovers and we found ourselves down early in the first quarter.
“The second quarter was better,” he continued. “We managed to wrangle them to only 5 points, but we only scored 3 ourselves. At halftime, we adjusted our method of scoring and how we would play on defense. I told them energy and spark were the key and they had to dig deep.
“They responded well with taking the third quarter 7-6,” the coach said. “At that point, the score was 23-14 and it felt that since Sylvan Hills was struggling from the free-throw line. All we had to do was make our free throws, make some shots and holed them to no easy baskets.”
The Lady Hornets whittled the lead to 6 early in the fourth quarter.
“Then the bottom fell out,” Perry said. “We basically fell apart. Sylvan Hills racked up 22 points in the fourth quarter along, compared to our 11.
“We didn’t protect the ball on offense with lazy ball-handling and we made careless passes along with careless shots,” he added. The team had not been this far behind in the fourth quarter all year and was trying to make too many things happen too quickly.
“The score is not representative of the game and, for the first game back from a five-day break, I thought they played well against a team with only one loss on the season,” the coach noted.
“We sometimes learn more from a loss than a win and we will learn much from this loss,” he insisted. “I wish we had hit more free throws (5 of 15) but we must learn to move the ball around and dish out the ball when we find ourselves in trouble in the lane.
“I’m proud of them though,” Perry concluded. “They played their hearts out in both games.”
In the B game, Purifoy finished with 6 points. Savannah Lucas scored 5 with Shamya Jordan and V’Mya Palmer adding 4 each. Jayla Keith added 3 with Devyn Summons and Brandy Strickland scored 2 apiece.
“We shot 8 out of 10 free throws, which was very good,” Perry said, “and everybody who played did well. There was a lot of hustle and girls stepping up and showing their skills. It was great to see, and it was also good to see what some of the skills still needed to be worked on for daily improvement. They played hard and pulled out a win.”
The Lady Hornets host North Little Rock on Monday, Jan. 22.