Three-point binge spurs Airedalettes past Bryant

ALMA — If your opponents comes out in the first half and guns in nine 3-pointers in 13 tries, it has a tendency to take you out of your game a little. And when they made it 11 of 15 before the third quarter is half done, chances are you’ve got a hill to climb.

The Alma Airedalettes, playing at home, did just that to the Bryant Lady Hornets on the way to a 53-28 victory in 7A/6A-Central Conference play.

When Alma came to Bryant earlier this season, the Airedalettes shot just as many 3’s (19) in the game but made only four in a 58-31 loss to the Lady Hornets.

“Alma’s got the ability and, boy, they did it tonight,” acknowledged Bryant head coach Brad Matthews. “Give them credit. You know, when you’re on the road against a team like that, they’re dangerous. They can shoot it. And they’ve got multiple kids that can shoot the 3.

“When you come out a little flat — we didn’t have the intensity we needed,” he added. “We didn’t execute defensively the way we needed to. And when you give a team that can shoot opportunities, Alma took advantage but our execution, intensity and effort wasn’t where it needs to be to win on the road.”

Ironically, the Airedalettes went 0 for 9 from inside the 3-point arc.

Bryant kept up for most of the first quarter. Two free throws by Rachael Miller had the Lady Hornets up but Alma’s Kailey Fagan hit the first two of her five 3’s in the game.

The Lady Hornets’ Raija Todd answered from long range but that would be Bryant’s only 3 until the closing moments of the game when sophomore Paige Adams hit one.

Alma’s Cassi Cochran knocked down the first of her trio of 3’s and, after Todd hit a baseline jumper, Fagan struck again to make it 12-7.

Cochran added a free throw to the lead but, moments later, Destiny Martin and Emily Ridgell (back after sitting out for two games with a concussion, combined to force a turnover that Ridgell cashed in to cut the lead to 13-9.

A buzzer-beating 3 from Cochran, however, skewered any momentum the Lady Hornets had mustered. Then Sydney Dunbar tossed in a triple for Alma to start the second period. A basket inside by Bryant’s Raven Loveless cut the lead under double-digits but only momentarily.

Fagan and teammate Tatum Willhite drained consecutive treys and Alma had a double-digit lead for good.

Todd hit a free throw and Miller knocked down a 12-foot jumper then made a steal. But the Lady Hornets were unable to take advantage. So when Alma’s Madi Tobler popped a 3 at the buzzer, it was 28-14 at the half.

Despite a pair of early baskets by Loveless in the third quarter, the Lady Hornets were unable to make any headway as Fagan and Cochran each hit their last 3’s to push the lead to 34-18.

Bryant cut it to 11 twice. A three-point play by Todd was followed by another bucket by Loveless after an Alma turnover to make it 34-23. Then, with 3:26 left in the third quarter, Cochran scored inside off an inbounds play under the basket for her team’s first 2-point field goal of the game.

Todd’s pull-up jay with 1:19 left in the period had Bryant within 36-25 but then, sparked by Alyssa Hoyle, who finished with 11 rebounds including seven on the offensive end, the Airedalettes went on a 17-0 run to blow the game up.

Bryant didn’t get many breaks in the game. A few traveling violations and an over-the-back foul or two went uncalled. But, on this night, even a few more calls probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

The Lady Hornets will travel to Conway on Tuesday to face the league champion Lady Cats, which will be a tremendous challenge, then close out the regular-season at home on Senior Night against a Siloam Springs team with whom they have a score to settle.

AIRDALETTES 53, LADY HORNETS 28

Score by quarters

BRYANT     9.    5.    11.    3 — 28

Alma.          16.   12.   12. 13 — 53

LADY HORNETS (9-14, 4-8, 2-3) 28

Todd 4-11 2-5 11, Martin 0-4 0-0 0, Rogers 0-1 0-0 0, Miller 1-8 2-2 4, Loveless 4-7 0-2 8, Ridgell 1-9 0-0 2, T.Hill 0-0 0-1 0, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Patton 0-1 0-0 0, Adams 1-1 0-2 3. Totals 11-42 (26%) 4-12 (33%) 28.

AIREDALETTES (10-13, 3-9, 1-4) 53

Dunbar 1-7 0-0 3, Cochran 4-12 1-2 12, Ostrander 1-5 0-0 2, Tobler 1-3 2-2 5, Fagan 8-11 0-1 21, Willhite 1-1 0-0 3, Collyar 0-1 0-0 0, Hoyle 3-7 1-1 7, Bailey 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Hoffsommer 0-1 0-0 0, Gray 0-0 0-0 0, Longmate 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-48 (40%) 4-6 (67%) 53.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 2-13 (Todd 1-5, Adams 1-1, Ridgell 0-4, Miller 0-2, Patton 0-1), Alma 11-19 (Fagan 5-7, Cochran 3-6, Dunbar 1-3, Tobler 1-1, Willhite 1-1). Turnovers: Bryant 14, Alma 14. Rebounds: Bryant 12-16 28 (Miller 4-1 5, Loveless 3-2 5, Rogers 0-4 4, Ridgell 2-1 3, Todd 0-2 2, Martin 0-2 2, T.Hill 2-0 2, team 1-4 5), Alma 15-23 38 (Hoyle 7-4 11, Tobler 1-5 6, Cochran 3-1 4, Dunbar 2-1 3, Fagan 0-3 3, Ostrander 0-2 2, Longmate 0-2 2, Willhite 0-1 1, Collyar 1-0 1, team 1-4 5). Team fouls: Bryant 13, Alma 13.

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