The Bryant White Lady Hornets seventh and eighth grade teams of Bryant Middle School each earned victories over their counterparts from North Little Rock on Thursday night.
The eighth-graders won 25-14 while the seventh-graders prevailed 32-9.
“After many games over the past two years, these girls finally pulled off the win over North Little Rock Blue,” noted Lady Hornets coach Ben Perry, regarding the eighth-grade game. “At our last meeting here at home, we had been up 6 and lost by 1 against them. This time, we put the foot on the gas and kept on moving forward.”
The Lady Hornets trailed 5-2 in the first quarter then took the lead with a 5-0 run and never looked back. It was 7-5 at the end of the opening period. Bryant White led 13-7 at the half then 23-11 going into the fourth quarter.
“We played aggressive on defense and did the best we could against the big post,” Perry mentioned. “We were able to keep her with just 4 points the whole game, which is much better than the last meeting.”
Kylee Fleharty and Jayla Knight each had 6 points to pace the Lady Hornets. Lyniyae Johnson and Lauren Lain added 4 apiece while Haya Winfield scored 3 and Saniyah Ellison 2.
“I challenged the girls in the locker room (at halftime) that if they win the third, they can put it away,” Perry related. “I told them the game is four quarters and we must play the game a quarter at a time and a possession at a time.
The Lady Hornets were 3 of 8 from the free-throw line. North Little Rock Blue was 2 of 13.
“We won the offensive boards battle with 15 offensive rebounds compared to their five and we also won the defensive boards with 13 defensive rebounds compared to their 12,” Perry said. “When you out-rebound your opponent 28 to 17, good things can happen.”
Lain led with six boards. Winfield had five and Johnson four.
“With others cleaning up the rest, this shows their toughness and aggressiveness at the rim,” the coach said. “These girls have worked so hard the past two years to change their mentality and other people’s views on their talent and play. They didn’t win a game last year and they have fought every week to improve to the point that now, when they step on the court, they believe they can win any game. They are not the same team that they were last year or even in the beginning of the season. To see their growth and their closeness as a team helps reassure us why we do what we do. I hope they have learned as much from me as I have learned from them.”
The Bryant White eighth-grade team has two more games left in the season.
“Both of the games are rematches that we have been looking forward to,” Perry said.
The Lady Hornets host Benton on Monday then close out the season at North Little Rock Gold on Thursday, Feb. 7.
In the seventh-grade win, Brilynn Findley pumped in 17 points including a pair of 3-pointers to lead the way. Kristen Reese added 5 points while Locklan Berry and Arion Pegram pitched in with 3 each. Nia Swann had 2.
The Lady Hornets rushed to a 10-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. It was 14-4 at the half and 19-6 going into the final period.
“These girls came out of the gate firing and were extremely aggressive on defense,” Coach Perry said. “We were able to run some new sets on offense and got several steals. The girls shot and made four 3’s, which always helps in a game for seventh grade.
“These girls played tough and I’m proud of each of them on how they are playing towards the end of the season,” he added. “They are great young ladies and keep improving each week.
“They go to Cabot South to play in a tournament this weekend,” the coach noted. “We will play Little Rock Christian Academy our first game and second game is a Cabot team. Who knows what will happen? We do have chances of going to a championship game but one game at a time and you never know.”