Hornets hold on
The Bryant Hornets improved to 4-0 with a 57-53 victory over the Maumelle Hornets in the second round of the OrthoArkansas Tournament at Central Arkansas Christian High School on Friday.
The Hornets led 32-22 at the half, but Maumelle got within 36-30 after Kendall Donnerson got an offensive rebound and put back. Senior Hornet guard CJ Rainey responded with a layup while fouled and hit the free throw to push the lead back to nine.
Maumelle wasn't finished, though. The Maumelle Hornets used a 7-0 run capped by Gary Burton's 10-foot jumper to get within 39-37, and after Rainey hit two free throws, Donnerson hit another layup to make it 41-39 with 5:15 left in the game.
"You just give Maumelle credit," Bryant Coach Mike Abrahamson said. "They just keep coming at you. They don't stop and we couldn't break them. They play a lot of players, they keep a lot of fresh bodies in there, they're all athletic and crash the boards well. We couldn't break their spirit."
The Bryant Hornets responded with a 6-0 run started by junior Tyler Simmons' 3-pointer and capped by sophomore KJ Hill's layup to go up 47-39 with 2:56 left. Maumelle would get within four points, 53-49, after a Donnerson layup, but Bryant held the opposing Hornets back for the victory.
"That's a credit to our kids," Abrahamson said of their fight. "We had a lot of opportunities to blow it there and we didn't. We hung in there. The kids responded and hit enough free throws to win it.
"I thought we handled their pressure pretty well, but their offensive rebounding killed us. That was a low point for us."
Maumelle outrebounded Bryant 18 to 5 in the second half, but the Saline County Hornets hit 16 of 24 free throws to Maumelle's 4 of 9 in the second half to make up for the rebounding disparity.
Rainey was named player of the game for the tournament with 17 points, senior Zach Cambron had 12 and sophomore KJ Hill had 11.
"It's such a good experience for our team," Abrahamson said. "I'm proud of their effort and perseverance. The senior leadership of Zach Cambron. Our two guards, KJ and CJ were tremendous tonight handling the ball, being where they need to be, getting to the free-throw line. Those were our anchors tonight."
The Hornets played CAC on Saturday night and results will be in Monday's sports.
He really responded. Didn't have a good day against Catholic, but responded to the challenge at halftime and made some big plays to help us win the game. We want him to bring that effort and intensity every night.