Van Buren stifles Lady Hornets down the stretch

File photos by Kevin Nagle and Rick Nation

They can hit the 3 and, if you come out on them, they handle it well enough to take it past a defender and get to the rack. But, as skilled as the Van Buren Lady Pointers are, offensively, it’s on the defensive end, though not as obviously, that they are so tough.

The Lady Pointers’ match-up zone made it difficult for the Bryant Lady Hornets to get shots, let alone good looks. It also forced 19 turnovers on the way to a 57-29 victory.

Kendal Rogers (Photo by Rick Nation)

Kendal Rogers (Photo by Rick Nation)

Van Buren improved to 13-4 overall and 2-1 in the 7A/6A-Central Conference. Bryant dropped to 6-8 and 1-2. But both teams are now 1-1 against 7A teams in the league, the only games that count for either of them to qualify for the 7A State Tournament in Cabot.

In their previous game, Van Buren had held Alma to 18 points and, the game before that, though they lost to the high-powered Conway Lady Cats, they held the high-scoring 17-1 team to just 48 points.

Even at that, the Lady Pointers had a hard time containing Bryant sophomore Raija Todd, who struck for 17 points. But the Lady Hornets only had two other players score. Emily Ridgell finished with 7 points and Rachael Miller 5.

It was actually a tight game through most of the first three quarters. When Todd hit a 3 with 2:22 left in the third, the Lady Hornets were within 29-23.

But Van Buren went on a 12-0 run to build the first double-digit lead of the game by the seven-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Bryant was held to 11 points in the second half.

Jamilyn Kinney led the Lady Pointers with 16 points. Danae Goodwin added 13 points and Bailey Jones 11. Lani Snowden finished with 9.

Until that late run, Van Buren couldn’t shake the Lady Hornets. The lead was just 6-5 early. Kinney hit a 3 and Goodwin sank a layup to make it 11-5. But Todd answered with jumper off a drive.

Kinney hit a free throw then drilled a 3 to push the margin to 15-7. Late in the quarter, however, Todd hit another pull-up pop to make it a 6-point game going into the second quarter.

Rachael Miller puts up a shot inside. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Rachael Miller puts up a shot inside. (Photo by Rick Nation)

And when Miller opened the second quarter with a 3, the margin was just 3. Destiny Martin and Raven Loveless combined on a steal for the Lady Hornets but they were unable to take advantage.

Jones hit a 3 but Todd hit a turnaround 12-footer to make it 18-14. Jones drained another triple only to have Todd answer again. Taylor Sutton for Van Buren traded baskets with Ridgell and it was 23-18 with less than two minutes left in the half.

Kinney fed Sutton for a final hoop in the half and the Lady Pointers led 25-18.

Miller connected twice from the free-throw line to start the second half. Drives by Snowden and Londan Barlow pushed the lead to 9 as the Lady Hornets missed several opportunities.

Still, Todd’s step-back trey had Bryant within 6.

Unfortunately, the Lady Hornets were unable to score for the last 2:22 of the quarter and the first 1:40 of the fourth as Van Buren’s run created a 41-23 lead before Todd found the range from 3-point land again.

But Jones answered with her third 3. Kinney made a steal and layup, pushing the margin to 20.

The Lady Hornets will have another tough assignment in their next outing. They travel to Russellville on Tuesday, Jan. 19 to take on the 13-1 Lady Cyclones.

LADY POINTERS 57, LADY HORNETS 29

Score by quarters

Van Buren      15       10       11       21 — 57

BRYANT          9          9          5          6 — 29

LADY POINTERS (13-4, 2-1, 1-1) 57

B.Jones 4-10 0-0 11, Snowden 4-9 0-0 9, Kinney 6-13 1-2 16, Goodwin 5-6 3-3 13, Jenner 0-4 0-0 0, Barlow 1-1 0-0 2, Sutton 3-3 0-2 6, L.Jones 0-0 0-0 0, M.Jones 0-0 0-0 0, McElwee 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-47 (49%) 4-7 (57%) 57.

LADY HORNETS (6-8, 1-2, 1-1) 29

Todd 7-15 0-0 17, Ridgell 2-8 3-4 7, Martin 0-2 0-0 0, Rogers 0-2 0-0 0, Miller 1-2 2-2 5, Loveless 0-0 0-0 0, Patton 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 10-30 (33%) 5-6 (83%) 29.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 4-13 (Todd 3-8, Miller 1-1, Ridgell 0-3, Patton 0-1), Van Buren 7-23 (B.Jones 3-9, Kinney 3-7, Snowden 1-5, Jennen 0-2). Turnovers: Bryant 19, Van Buren 6. Rebounds: Bryant 5-17 22 (Miller 1-5 6, Ridgell 0-5 5, Martin 3-1 4, Todd 0-1 1, Rogers 0-1 1, Patton 0-1 1, team 1-3 4), Van Buren 8-15 23 (Kinney 1-3 4, Goodwin 1-2 3, Sutton 1-2 3, Jennen 0-2 2, Snowden 0-2 2, Barlow 0-1 1, M.Jones 0-1 1, team 5-2 7). Team fouls: Bryant 5, Van Buren 10.

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