Top-ranked Lady Cats overwhelm Lady Hornets, nail down top seed

For more photos of this event by Rick Nation, go here

Kalia Walker drives up court. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Before their final home game of the season on Friday night, the Bryant Lady Hornets already knew when, where and whom they’d play at the Class 7A State Tournament in North Little Rock next week. So, there was really nothing on the line except a free shot at knocking off the state No. 1 team.

Though ranked that highly, the Conway Lady Wampus Cats’ position at State was still unclear going into the game. They started the night in a three-way tie for first with North Little Rock and Fort Smith Northside. So, they needed a win to wrap up the top seed and a first-round bye.

They were, to say the least, intense.

Meanwhile, the Lady Hornets were without a pair of starters in Ivory Russ (concussion) and Celena Martin (ailment).

Paige Adams, the lone senior in uniform for Bryant (Kelly Williams has been out with an injury), got a chance to start a game.

Despite the emotions of Senior Night, the Lady Hornets just couldn’t match the talent and the urgency that the Lady Cats brought. Conway rolled to a 20-1 lead before Bryant managed its first field goal, a short jumper by junior Robyn Gordon.

The Lady Hornets never quite gained their bearings as Conway buried 13 3-pointers on the way to a 63-30 victory.

Robyn Gordon eyes a free throw. (Photo by Rick Nation)

“I thought Conway played really well,” said Bryant head coach Brad Matthews. “Defensively, we didn’t play very well early and it kind of avalanched on us right off the bat. They shot it very well. We didn’t guard very well and that’s a very bad combination against the number one team in the state.

“Congrats to Conway,” he said. “To be the number one seed in this league tells you everything you need to know about their team. They have a lot of talent. They play their roles so well. Their 1-3-1 is very difficult. It forced us into some turnovers.

“We just got off to a very poor start on both ends of the floor and it took a full half to get our legs under us,” the coach acknowledged.

“But it didn’t really have an impact on us and the State tournament,” Matthews concluded. “We’ve got Van Buren. So, we’ll start preparing for them on Sunday, have three good days, have good prep work to get ready for a very talented Van Buren team.”

The Lady Hornets and Lady Pointers will play Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m.

On Friday, Conway was led by Asiyha Smith, who hit four triples and scored 19 points. Regan Roetzel hit five treys for her 15 points and sophomore Jadah Pickens came off the bench to add 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

Gordon wound up leading Bryant with 10 points and 10 boards. India Atkins added 7 points and six rebounds while Kalia Walker scored 6 points, Lexi Taylor 3 with Madi Scifres and MeKeycia Baker contributing 2 each.

Conway led after the first quarter 25-3 and expanded that margin to 29-3 before Gordon hit another free throw. Roetzel countered with a 3 and, after another free throw by Gordon, gunned in another from long range. A free throw by Smith made it 36-5.

The aggressive Lady Cats got into some foul trouble and the Lady Hornets shot a few free throws for a stretch but only made two of a potential six. Before the half was over, Walker fed Atkins for a basket but Conway continued to add to the lead right up to the final buzzer when Myia Yelder hit a 3 to make it 44-10.

The Lady Hornets doubled their total of points in the third quarter with baskets from Walker, Baker, Atkins and Gordon but they didn’t make much of a dent in the Conway lead. It was 58-21 going into the fourth quarter and the sportsmanship rule went into effect, a running clock.

Taylor hit her 3 to open the scoring in the final period. Atkins added a pair of free throws, as did Scifres when Conway was hit with a technical foul for inserting a player who wasn’t listed on the scorebook. Gordon scored inside in the final seconds for Bryant to close it out.

Adams, Williams and manager Jalen Sparks were honored during Senior Night festivities after the game.

LADY WAMPUS CATS 63, LADY HORNETS 30

Score by quarters

Conway           25        19        14        5 — 63

BRYANT          3          7          11        9 — 30

LADY WAMPUS CATS (25-3, 12-2) 63

Roetzel 5-12 0-0 15, Netherlain 0-7 0-0 0, Yelder 2-9 2-2 8, Smith 7-11 1-2 19, Nolen 3-5 0-0 6, Pickens 4-12 1-3 10, Chatman 0-0 0-0 0, Wiseman 0-0 0-0 0, Kyle 0-0 0-0 0, Rector 1-4 0-0 3, York 0-0 0-0 0, Kilgord 0-0 2-2 2, Reed 0-0 0-0 0, Cecil 0-0 0-0 0, Hallman 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-61 (36%) 6-9 (67%) 63.

LADY HORNETS (11-15, 6-8) 30

T.Trotter 0-2 0-0 0, Walker 2-12 2-2 6, Atkins 2-8 3-7 7, Gordon 3-6 4-8 10, Adams 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor 1-4 0-0 3, Baker 1-2 0-3 2, Scifres 0-0 2-2 2, S.Trotter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 9-35 (26%) 11-22 (50%) 30.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 1-10 (Taylor 1-2, Walker 0-6, T.Trotter 0-1, Adams 0-1), Conway 13-36 (Roetzel 5-12, Smith 4-7, Yelder 2-9, Pickens 1-5, Rector 1-2, Hallman 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 23, Conway 11. Rebounds: Bryant 13-19 32 (Gordon 5-5 10, Atkins 5-1 6, Walker 1-4 5, T.Trotter 0-4 4, Taylor 1-1 2, Baker 1-1 2, team 0-3 3), Conway 18-20 38 (Pickens 4-3 7, Nolen 3-2 5, Netherlain 1-3 4, Yelder 2-2 4, Roetzel 1-2 3, Smith 2-1 3, Chatman 1-1 2, Rector 1-1 2, Wiseman 1-1 2, Kyle 0-1 1, Kilgord 0-1 1, Cecil 1-0 1, team 2-1 3). Team fouls: Bryant 11, Conway 17. Techical foul: Conway, book.



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