For more photos of this event by Kevin Nagle, go here
With 1:56 left to play, Jordan Hancock of the Bryant White Lady Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School, hit a 12-foot jumper to give her team a 42-41 lead over the Russellville Lady Whirlwinds on Thursday night.
Both teams had chances to change that score over the next minute-plus before, finally, Hannah Hutchinson scored to put the Lady Whirlwinds up by a point.
In turn, the Lady Hornets worked the ball up the floor before head coach Ben Perry called a timeout with :23 left. He set up a play for Hancock to get another shot, but it refused to fall. The rebound went out of bounds to Russellville.
A Lady Whirlwind timeout came with :10.5 showing. When play resumed, Hutchinson was fouled. She made one of the two shots to make it 44-42. Bryant rushed the ball up the floor and Caitlin LaCerra got a good look from the corner, but her shot was just a tad long and Russellville had held on for a two-point victory to close out the Lady Hornets season.
Bryant White finishes 11-6.
Perry acknowledged that it was a tough way to end the season.
“It was a good game,” he noted, however. “Both teams played hard. They’ve got a couple of girls that play up on ninth grade and they’re real good girls. They can shoot and they can dribble well.
“I felt that we had better guard play than they did,” he mentioned. “We just couldn’t capitalize on our layups and open shots. We took a lot of open shots. I know we missed a bunch of free throws. We’re a better free-throw shooting team than that.”
The Lady Hornets were 16-of-40 from the field (40 percent) then, only hit 7 of 18 free throws.
Rebounding was a factor too. The Lady Whirlwinds had two or three girls taller than anyone on the Lady Hornets’ squad. Russellville wound up with 29 rebounds to 18 by Bryant.
“They had a lot of second and third opportunities,” Perry acknowledged. “A good team like that, you’ve got to rebound better than that. We’re not a very big team.
“But I thought the girls played hard,” he reiterated.
“We started out in our 2-2-1 and they were able to — they had worked on beating our press,” the coach related. “Their coach said that ‘Nobody presses like y’all do.’ So, he worked on that press and he worked on playing against our zone. He had a good zone offense, getting into gaps.
The Lady ‘Winds built a 10-5 lead, but the Lady Hornets rallied, sparked by a three-point play by Chappell off the offensive glass. Later Daria Green followed her own miss and got to the line where she converted once to make it 10-9.
A Russellville turnover — one of 18 Bryant White forced — led to a basket by LaCerra. Another turnover led to a driving bucket by LeCerra that made it 13-10 going into the second quarter.
“We switched to man pretty quick and we had better success with man, but we found ourselves down quite a bit at the half.”
It was 22-15 at the half after Russellville held the Lady Hornets to just 2 points in the second quarter while forcing eight turnovers. Bryant got to the line four times but came up empty including two front ends of bonus chances.
Aiyanna Owens hit a 3, Hannah Terry scored and so did Hutchinson in the final two minutes of the half.
The lead reached 13 twice in the third quarter. Greer spurred a Bryant resurgence with a 3. Hancock drove for a layup and, off another Russellville turnover, LaCerra hit a 3. After a Russellville free throw, LaCerra scored again to cut the margin to 31-27 with 30 seconds left.
Hutchinson and Campbell scored before the quarter was over to bump the advantage up to 35-27 going into the fourth.
After a steal by V’Mya Palmer, Hancock hit a free throw. She then combined with Greer to force a turnover that Hancock cashed in to make it 35-30. Another turnover, forced by Greer and Hancock, led to a free throw by Greer. Hancock added one as well to trim the margin to 35-32.
Hutchinson scored and, moments later, added a free throw to make it 6-point lead. Greer hit a free throw and, after Madi Lampkin scored for Russellville, Jayla Keith drained a 3. A drive by Greer resulted in the lead being whittled to 40-38.
The Lady Whirlwinds came up empty on consecutive trips to the line. Lampkin hit one of the six shots, leaving the door open for the Lady Hornets who cut it to 1 as Hancock scored on a follow shot.
Two more missed free throws gave Bryant the chance to take the lead and when Hancock popped a 12-footer that fell, the Lady Hornets were up 42-41. And they had a couple of chances to add to that only to come up empty ahead of Hutchinson’s clutch basket with :38 left.
“We fought our way back and we had a chance to win at the end,” Perry noted. “It just didn’t go in.
“It’s been a fun year,” he stated, adding of his players. “They’ve been great fun. I know they’re very talented. They’re going to do great things.”
LADY WHIRLWINDS 44, LADY HORNETS 42
Score by quarters
Russellville 10 12 13 9 — 44
Bryant White 13 2 12 15 — 42
LADY WHIRLWINDS 44
Lampkin 1-3 1-5 3, Owens 4-8 0-0 9, Wybory 0-0 2-2 2, Babb 0-1 1-2 1, Hale 4-6 0-0 8, Hutchinson 5-7 2-6 12, Terry 1-1 0-0 2, Weiss 0-0 0-0 0, Campbell 3-5 1-2 7. Totals 18-31 (58%) 7-17 (41%) 44
LADY HORNETS 42
Greer 4-7 4-7 13, LaCerra 4-10 0-1 9, Purifoy 1-3 0-0 2, Jordan 0-3 0-0 0, Chappell 2-2 1-1 5, Strickland 0-0 0-0 0, Hancock 4-12 2-9 10, Palmer 0-0 0-0 0, Keith 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 16-40 (40%) 7-18 (39%) 42.
Three-point field goals: Bryant White 3-10 (LaCerra 1-3, Keith 1-3, Greer 1-2, Hancock 0-2), Russellville 1-1 (Owens 1-1). Turnovers: Bryant 14, Russellville 18. Rebounds: Bryant White 10-8 18 (Jordan 1-3 4, Strickland 1-2 3, Chappell 2-1 3, Greer 2-0 2, LaCerra 1-1 2, Hancock 1-1 2, Purifoy 1-0 1, team 1-0 1), Russellville 9-20 29 (Campbell 3-3 6, Owens 1-4 5, Lampkin 1-3 4, Hale 1-2 3, Hutchinson 1-2 3, Babb 0-2 2, Wybory 1-0 1, Terry 0-1 1, team 1-3 4). Team fouls: Bryant White 14, Russellville 15.