NORTH LITTLE ROCK — With the team mostly back from Covid quarantine, the Bryant White Lady Hornets eighth grade team traveled to North Little Rock on Thursday night and nearly overcame considerable adversity before losing a heartbreaker, 25-23.
The Lady Hornets rallied after falling behind in the first quarter, 8-2. Bryant whittled the margin to 14-12 by halftime but then North Little Rock pushed the margin back to 24-16 going into the fourth quarter. The Lady Hornets held the Lady Cats to just 1 point in the fourth quarter as they rallied.
“The first and third quarters were difficult to play but we got three shots at the line at the end of the game with 1.8 seconds left to play,” related Lady Hornets coach Ben Perry. “We made two (to make it 25-23) and then I called a timeout. I told Austyn (Oholendt) that she was going to have to miss the shot on purpose and rush to the hard rebound.
“We barely missed the rebound but tied up the ball,” he continued. “The ref just looked at me and looked at the clock, waited for time to run out then blew the whistle. The possession arrow was in our favor so we would have had another opportunity under the basket, but it was not to be so.
“The girls played hard, we just fell short,” the coach said. “I believe we would win if given another opportunity. However, we look forward to playing Benton at our home court and we will work on our skills on offense and defense to prepare.”
The Lady Hornets are scheduled to play Benton on Monday, Feb. 8.
Oholendt finished the game with 11 points. Madison Loggins added 6 with Brailey Kellum, Aniston Sweet and Nia Sims scoring 2 each.
Perry noted that his team was cited for 18 fouls while North Little Rock only drew five fouls.
“The game was very one sided on fouls and there just was no consistency for my girls to even play against,” he said. “It is difficult when the players feel like the deck is stacked against them and, try as I may, there is just not much I can do about it when the game seems like it is out of control with how it is called. I just encourage my kids to play through it and keep working.
“We did not execute our offense very well and we allowed too many back cuts and drives by their guards,” he added. “In fairness, the ones who started the game, had not played a game since we had been out on quarantine. It is hard to find a rhythm when you have so many breaks between competitive games and players out from activity for various reasons. However, we did not play well, and it cost us.
“We found ourselves down early trying to adjust to how the game would be played,” Perry related. “We took bad shots and missed opportunities at the free throw line. We did not rebound well and seemed almost a step behind. We were missing Kayla Martin who was our strong rebounder but will be out the rest of the season. Someone has to step up for her and that’s what I encouraged. Maddison Loggins played well with being strong as she could on the boards and contributing 6 points.”