CABOT — The Bryant White Lady Hornets eighth-grade team of Bryant Middle School out-scored the Cabot North Lady Panthers 9-3 in the second quarter on the way to building a 12-point lead late then holding on for a 32-27 victory on Thursday night.
In a seventh-grade game, Cabot North’s second quarter broke open a close game on the way to a 32-17 victory.
The Bryant White teams host Bryant Blue of Bethel Middle School on Monday.
Kylee Fleharty led the Lady Hornets’ eighth-graders with 10 points including a pair of 3-pointers. She also converted all four of her free throws.
Jayla Knight scored 6 points and Haya Winfield added 5. Lyniyae Johnson scored 3 with Kiniyah Horton, Saniyah Ellison, Brooklyn Welch and Lauren Lain pitching in with 2 apiece.
Bryant trailed 5-4 at the end of the first quarter.
“The first quarter was a feeler for both teams and, in the second quarter, I urged the girls to fight hard and pressure the ball,” recounted Lady Hornets coach Ben Perry. “I told them to shoot the ball and look for scoring opportunities that are given.”
By halftime, the Lady Hornets led 13-7.
“We never looked back,” Perry said. “We came out the second half on all cylinders again. They did outscore us by 1 in the third quarter with a buzzer-beating shot. However, the girls played tough in a gym that does not give up too many opponent wins.”
Bryant White’s lead was 21-16 going into the fourth quarter.
Up 12 down the stretch, Perry worked in his reserves.
“They pressed us then and we gave up some easy baskets,” he said. “I got a little nervous, thinking to put the starters back in, but I knew the girls could handle it and they needed to be able to close the game properly. They did just that and we finished the game ahead.”
The Lady Hornets were 8 of 16 from the free-throw line while Cabot North converted just 4 of 15.
“Cabot is a very well-coached program and they have great athletes,” Perry added. “It was a good win for the eighth-grade group as they’ve now beaten Cabot (North) at home and away.
“This team is growing and starting to find their identity,” he continued. “I look forward to our game against Bethel at home. We have to clean up our mistakes and fine-tune our skills, but it should be a good game on Monday.”
In the seventh-grade game, the Lady Hornets were within 7-6 at the end of the first quarter but Cabot North held them to just 2 points in the second stanza, building a 20-8 lead.
“We shut down and never got back in the game,” Perry said. “We came out flat and somehow managed to keep it within one point at the end of the first.
“We started playing very flat and undisciplined,” he said of the second period. “We allowed them to drive the lane uncontested and made critical mistakes on defense as well as offense. We played sloppy and lost focus.”
The Lady Hornets trailed 29-14 going into the fourth quarter.
“We only shot 3 of 13 from the free-throw line and that hurts,” Perry noted. “It was the first game back from break and it showed. We will work hard, correct our mistakes and come out with a different attitude and style of play next week. The team I know they can be is not the team that played. They are better than that and I know with hard work in practice we can become what we are meant to be.
“the girls will bounce back and play tough against Bethel on Monday at home,” he concluded.
Brilynn Findley led the Lady Hornets in scoring with 12 points on Thursday. Camille Calhoun added 4 and Kristen Reese had 1.