Third-quarter defense helps White Lady Hornets rally past Blue Lady Hornets in eighth-grade tussle

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Ashton Inman (3) drives past Kristyn Weng. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The Bryant White Lady Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School overcame some illness and a halftime deficit by outscoring the rival Bryant Blue Lady Hornets of Bethel Middle School 6-0 in the third quarter.

Though Bethel gamely rallied in the fourth quarter, Bryant White held on for a hard-earned 22-19 win at the Bryant Middle School gym Thursday night.

It was the fifth consecutive win for Bryant White after two season-opening losses. They return to action Monday at Sylvan Hills before closing out the pre-Christmas schedule at home against Cabot North on Tuesday.

Bryant Blue had won three of its last four games coming in. Now 3-4, they’ll host Russellville on Monday to wrap up the schedule before the Christmas break.

Bryant White held a 5-4 edge after a quarter before Blue put together a good second quarter to take the lead. It was 16-12 going into the fourth quarter.

Lauren Taylor led the victors with 8 points. Kaitlyn Weng added 5, Divine Robinson and Jaiyah Jackson had 4 apiece. Kristyn Wang finished with 1.

Kaitlyn Weng fires a 3. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

For Bethel, Abbey Inman led the way with 7 points. Twin sister Ashton Inman finished with 6. Addison Funk scored 4 and Baylee Hutchison 2.

“We were able to press them and cause turnovers which aided in points for us,” said Bryant White coach Ben Perry. “We rebounded pretty good offensively and defensively.

“Bethel’s girls are a good team and they are consistent,” he noted. “They have good guards who know how to screen well for each other and know how to find the spaces in a defense.”

“My players responded very well out of halftime,” the coach said. “To be able to shut Bethel out, I was really proud of the way they responded to pressure and adversity. They rallied for the lead and maintained it the rest of the game.”

The adversity, in part, was the illness. Starter Kaitlyn Weng, Perry said, benched herself in the second half saying she could not continue due to her illness.

“Luckily Divine Robinson was able to come in for us and had a great defensive game and contributed four points,” Perry noted. “She may have shot a couple shots that she shouldn’t have attempted based on what we were trying to do offensively but hopefully, with experience, she will gain some more basketball awareness.”

Addison Funk (33) takes a shot behind the screen of Ashton Inman as Rachel Buck (35) tries to get out to defend. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Perry also changed the defense.

“We slowed our game way down to look for uncontested shots,” he explained. “Our bench was extremely supportive and it was nice to hear support from the bench to our players. Although I did not play as many players as I would have liked, it was a team win.

“It’s always nice to play Bethel because it fills the gym up and creates a wonderfully electrifying experience,” Perry concluded. “The players love to see their teachers and friends come out and holler for them on both sides. It shows me that we have a great community and strong support.”

Jaiyah Jackson launches a shot as Meagan Brown (21) defends. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Kattrina Johnson launches a shot from outside. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Bryant Blue head coach Derek McGrew instructs his team during a timeout in Thursday’s game. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

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