Vilonia surges late to extract win over Lady Hornets frosh

Freshman Lady Hornets coach Nathan Castaldi instructs during a timeout. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

For more photos of this event by Kevin Nagle, go here

Haya Winfield (33) launches a jumper from near the free-throw line. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Down the stretch, it became a 3-point shooting contest between the Bryant Lady Hornets’ Natalie Edmonson and the Vilonia Lady Eagles’ Kiley Bartlett.

With her team trailing 23-22 after leading for all game long, Edmonson drained a 3 with 2:48 left to play to put the Freshman Lady Hornets back on top. After a Vilonia miss, she popped another one to give Bryant a 28-23 advantage with 2:09 left in the game.

But, when play resumed, Bartlett canned a triple only to have Edmonson bury another in response to give the Lady Hornets a 31-26 lead with 1:33 remaining.

At the 1:04 mark, Vilonia’s Bailey Sims was fouled following her own miss. She converted one free throw, but the rebound was confiscated by the Lady Eagles. And Bartlett took advantage with another trey, narrowing the gap to one point, 31-30.

An ill-timed turnover by the Lady Hornets gave Vilonia a chance to take the lead and, with :31 showing, Bartlett found the range again, her third, answering Edmonson’s three and giving the Lady Eagles a 33-31 lead.

Another turnover cost Bryant. Vilonia called a timeout with :20.9 to go. The Lady Hornets had to use a couple of fouls to get the Lady Eagles in the bonus and to the line. That finally happened with :06.7 to go. Whitney Aldridge missed the front end and the Lady Hornets rebounded. 

Lyniyae Johnson (24) tries to get a shot over Vilonia’s Bailey Sims (42). (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Bryant head coach Nathan Castaldi called timeout with :05.4 left but when the game started up again, Vilonia put up enough pressure that the Lady Hornets were unable to launch a final shot to try to tie or win it as the Lady Eagles held on.

The contest opened the season for both teams as part of the annual Bryant Classic, which will resume on Thursday with Vilonia playing Benton at 4:30 p.m., and Bryant taking on Little Rock Christian at 7 p.m., with boys’ games before and after.

The late turnovers came back to haunt the Lady Hornets, but it was also a problem that, after scoring the first field goal of the third quarter — an 18-footer by Emileigh Muse — they missed their next 12 shots in the quarter, finishing 1 for 13. On a free throw by Lauren Lain interrupted a Vilonia rally that turned Bryant’s 21-12 lead into a 22-21 edge going into the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t shoot it quite as well in the second half,” acknowledged Castaldi. “We made a few shots early and I thought we kind of settled for some, didn’t work the ball. I think we made six 3’s tonight, which is good but then I think we also settled for some instead of getting the ball inside a little bit more.”

Jayla Knight eyes the basket. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Vilonia took its first lead with 5:12 left on a basket inside by Sims.

“It would’ve been easy for us to get down on ourselves, but we fought back and took the lead back, until the end,” Castaldi noted. 

“We’ve got to do a better job,” he added. “They got the last 3 but I think that a couple of those were off offensive rebounds. We’ve got to do a better job of blocking out and rebounding, and keep those from happening.”

Sims led Vilonia with 12 ponts. Bartlett had her 9 off the bench. Edmonson led Bryant with 13 points. Muse had 8.

Muse hit two 3’s in the opening stages of the game. Lyniyae Johnson’s three-point play and a 12-foot jumper by Edmonson had the Lady Hornets ahead 11-2. Vilonia hit three free throws of six attempts in the late going and trailed 11-5 going into the second quarter.

Bryant’s Mia Winston opened the second in the second with a 3 and the Lady Hornets had their largest lead at 14-5. Thanks to a steal by Lain, they had a chance to increase the margin but couldn’t take advantage.

Lauren Lain takes a shot over a Vilonia defender. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Still, the Lady Hornets maintained the lead with baskets by Jayla Knight, Jaelyn Allen and Edmonson. It was 19-12 at the half.



Score by quarters

Vilonia             5          7          9          12 — 33

BRYANT           11        8          3          9 — 31


Buck 1-2 0-0 2, Aldridge 0-1 0-1 0, Reynolds 0-3 0-0 0, Sims 3-6 5-8 12, Homan 0-1 0-0 0, Madden 1-1 0-0 3, McCorty 2-9 2-4 6, Heston 0-2 1-2 1, Bartlett 3-5 0-0 9. Totals 10-30 8-15 33.


Lain 0-10 2-4 2, Edmonson 5-10 0-1 13, Muse 3-7 0-0 8, Johnson 1-1 1-1 3, Allen 0-1 0-0 0, Winfield 0-2 0-0 0, Knight 1-2 0-0 2, Winston 1-1 0-0 3, Gentry 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 11-35 3-6 31.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 6-14 (Edmonson 3-7, Muse 2-6, Winston 1-1, Gentry 0-1), Vilonia 5-8 (Bartlett 3-4, Sims 1-2, Madden 1-1, Reynolds 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 21, Vilonia 23. Rebounds: Bryant 12-11 23 (Allen 3-4 7, Johnson 3-1 4, Lain 3-0 3, Winfield 1-2 3, Muse 1-2 3, Edmonson 1-0 1, Knight 0-1 1, team 0-1 1), Vilonia 13-14 27 (Sims 3-3 6, McCorty 3-3 6, Madden 2-1 3, Aldridge 0-2 2, Reynolds 0-2 2, Heston 1-1 2, Bartlett 1-1 2, Buck 1-0 1, team 2-1 3). Team fouls: Bryant 14, Vilonia 13.

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