Three-point barrage, board work spur freshman Hornets past Panthers

Hot shooting from beyond the 3-point arc and a dominant performance on the boards helped lift the Bryant Hornets freshman team to 53-28 thumping of the rival Benton Panthers in the final regular-season game for both teams.

On Monday, Bryant knocked down 9 of 18 3-pointers with Gabe George, Landyn Newburn and Gavin Burton drilling two each. Isaiah Kearney, Jaylen Williams and Shamarion Gilmore added one apiece.

The Hornets, who had already secured the No. 2 seed for the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference tournament, improved to 7-1 in league play and 16-5 overall this season. Benton wound up the sixth seed. Both teams will open tourney play at Cabot North on Monday, Feb. 11. The Hornets will play at 5:15 p.m., against Cabot South while Benton opens at 6:30 p.m., against Conway White. The winners of those two games will play each other on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

On the boards, the Hornets finished with a 36-22 advantage including 16 rebounds on the offensive end while allowing the Panthers only three offensive caroms. Will Diggins had nine boards and Demetrius Sanders seven.

Andre Lane had 10 points and six boards for Benton. Andrew Tropp had 6 points and six rebounds.

“They enjoyed that one,” said Bryant coach Tyler Posey of his players. “It’s always fun to be able to play Benton and beat them three times in one season.”

The Hornets had previously defeated their rivals 66-40 on Dec. 10 and 56-43 on Dec. 28. 

“They’re a good team,” Posey said. “They struggled tonight shooting the basketball a little bit and, hopefully, we can credit that to our defense.

“We kind of got hot from downtown and that obviously helps us defensively as well.”

Regarding the tournament, the Hornets’ coach said, “We didn’t play very good towards the middle part of our conference season but these last three games I thought we started to look a little bit more like ourselves and it’s been good to get that going into the tournament, having a little momentum going into it.”

Bryant has won 12 of its last 14 games. Their only losses on the season have been three times to North Little Rock, the regular-season conference champion, and twice to Lake Hamilton, though they beat them in their last meeting. Both those teams are on the opposite side of the tourney bracket from the Hornets.

After Diggins and Lane traded baskets to start the game, the Hornets went on an 11-0 run that including 3’s by Burton, Newburn and George. Cameron Booth drove for a bucket as well.

At the end of the opening period, the Hornets led 17-7.

Caleb Weston hit a 3 for Benton to open the second quarter then Tropp scored inside to cut the margin to 5. Kearney answered with his 3 but Weston and Andrew Williamson each scored for Benton to trim the margin to 20-16 with 2:39 left in the half.

Burton canned his second triple and Williams followed suit, which extended the advantage to 26-16 at the intermission.

Diggins fed George for a basket to start the second in the second half. Benton cut it back to 28-20 but the Hornets finished the third quarter on a 10-3 run. A driving jumper by Kearney started the spree. Newburn drilled a trey, D.J. Hale hit a free throw and Diggins scored off the offensive boards to make it 36-20.

After a Benton timeout, Lane interrupted with a 3 only to have Newburn hit Booth with a splendid feed for a buzzer-beating layup to make it 38-23.

The lead was 50-25 midway through the fourth quarter with George scoring 7 points and Sanders 4. Posey turned to his reserves. Though Lane hit another 3, Shamarion Gilmore capped the Hornets’ scoring with :26 left.

HORNETS 53, PANTHERS 28

Freshman

Score by quarters

Benton            7          9          7          5 — 28

BRYANT           17        9          12        15 — 53

PANTHERS 28

Bradley 0-4 0-2 0, Lane 4-9 0-0 10, Harrison 2-7 0-0 5, Williamson 1-3 0-0 2, Tropp 3-5 0-0 6, Weston 2-5 0-2 5, Ginther 0-1 0-0 0, Brazell 0-1 0-0 0, Hill 0-0 0-0 0, Dockery 0-0 0-0 0, Snellings 0-0 0-0 0. Totals:12-35 (34%) 0-4 (0%) 28.

HORNETS 53

Newburn 2-7 0-0 6, Burton 2-4 0-0 6, Booth 2-5 0-0 4, George 7-13 0-0 16, Diggins 2-5 0-2 4, Kearney 2-5 0-0 5, Sanders 2-6 0-0 4, Hale 0-0 2-4 2, Williams 1-3 0-0 3, Edmonson 0-0 0-0 0, Gilmore 1-2 0-0 3, Mendoza 0-0 0-0 0, Myles 0-1 0-0 0, Blackmon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals:21-51 (41%) 2-6 (33%) 53.

Three-point field goals:Bryant 9-18 (George 2-5, Burton 2-4, Newburn 2-2, Williams 1-3, Kearney 1-1, Gilmore 1-1, Booth 0-1, Myles 0-1), Benton 4-13 (Lane 2-3, Harrison 1-5, Weston 1-2, Bradley 0-1, Ginther 0-1, Brazell 0-1). Turnovers:Bryant 5, Benton 11. Rebounds:Bryant 16-20 36 (Diggins 5-4 9, Sanders 4-3 7, Burton 0-4 4, George 0-4 4, Newburn 0-2 2, Booth 1-1 2, Hale 1-0 1, Williams 0-1 1, Myles 1-0 1, team 4-1 5), Benton 3-19 22 (Tropp 0-6 6, Lane 1-5 6, Williamson 1-1 2, Ginther 0-2 2, Bradley 0-1 1, Harrison 0-1 1, Hill 1-0 1, Dockery 0-1 1, team 0-2). Team fouls:Bryant 8, Benton 5.



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