Girls routed, Hornets lose it in second half

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – The North Little Rock Lady Charging Wildcats were not very gracious hosts as they defeated the Bryant Lady Hornets 54-15 in dominating fashion in 7A/6A Central conference action on Tuesday night in North Little Rock.

The Lady Hornets’ stat line was all one had to look at to see why they could not get anything going against the Lady Wildcats. Bryant shot seven percent (3 of 42) for the game from the field, 9 of 20 from the free-throw line and committed 18 turnovers, to North Little Rock’s six.

“We struggled again offensively,” Bryant Coach Brad Matthews said. “We missed so many shots and they were able to get out in transition.

"They’ve got a great team, well-coached. They have a bunch of studs over there. We just hit a wall there and things went from not very good to really bad.”

It was not easy task for the Lady Hornets (11-9, 3-3 7A Central) as the Lady Wildcats (17-2, 6-0) are the No. 1 team in the state, regardless of classification, and it showed against Bryant.

North Little Rock jumped to a 5-0 lead when Sasha Giles opened the game with a 10-foot jumper and Lexus Williams hit a free throw and a 5-foot chip in with 5:58 to go in the opening quarter. Junior Courtney Davidson got Bryant on the board with two free throws to make it 5-2 with 5:37 left.

Sophomore Taneasha Rhode had a turnaround jumper from 4 feet to get Bryant within 4-7 at the 4:14 mark and junior Kiara Moore hit a turnaround 5-foot jumper to make it 9-6 with 2:15 remaining. It stayed a three-point lead until the Lady Hornets turned it over with about 10 seconds left in the quarter and Sandy Jackson took her steal and converted it into a layup to give the Lady Wildcats an 11-6 lead after the first.

“I thought for spurts in the first half, we were able to hold them off the boards, but they started making some shots, and when they didn’t, they started hurting us on the boards,” Matthews said. “Their pressure was forcing us away from the basket and getting us out of our comfort zone.”

North Little Rock opened the second quarter on a 6-0 run to get up 17-6 after a bucket from Jackson with 6:26 left and extended its lead to 22-9 before Bryant sophomore Dezarea Duckworth got an offensive rebound a put back to make it 22-11 with just over a minute left in the half. Duckworth’s bucket was the last field goal the Lady Hornets would make in the game.

The Lady Wildcats went into the half leading 25-11 after Dahja Hardoman hit a 3-pointer with 49 seconds left.

“You just have to play at a really high level against teams like that. I thought we gave good effort, we just didn’t execute at a high level.

Bryant could not get anything going in the third quarter as North Little Rock scored the first 12 points of the second half to go up 37-11 until Rhode hit 1 of 2 free throws with three minutes left in the quarter. Rhode hit another 1 of 2 free throws with 1:22 left to account for Bryant’s only points in the quarter, getting outscored 21-2.

“I thought in the first half we fought their momentum a lot,” Matthews said. “They’re such a team of spurts and we fought that a lot. The third quarter, we just hit a wall, it’s not that we quit fighting, it’s just nothing was going our way and we can’t make it go our way. And then they started making shots.”

Rhode led the Lady Hornets with six points and eight rebounds, and Moore scored three points shooting 1 of 12 from the field. Sophomore Aubree Allen hit two free throws in the fourth quarter to give Bryant its fourth point of half. It is the second consecutive game the Lady Hornets have been held to single digits in a half, scoring only seven in the first half against Cabot this past Friday.

“That’s the story of this conference,” Matthews said. “If you don’t play well, not only will you get beat, but you’ll get beat down. We have to continue to fight, continue to work on our consistency and we have to keep going.”

The Bryant Hornets lost an evenly-matched game to the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats 53-48 on Tuesday night in 7A/6A Central conference action in North Little Rock.

The Hornets (10-8, 2-4 7A Central) got 4-0 early when DayShawn Watkins hit a 7-foot jumper to open the game and Thomas Alexander had a breakaway dunk prompting Bryant Coach Mike Abrahamson to call a time out.

Bryant fought back as sophomore Marcus Wilson took a pass from sophomore Anthony Black and hit a 3-pointer with 6:33 left in the first. Senior point guard Jordan Griffin hit two free throws to put the Hornets up 5-4 at the 5:46 mark.

The Wildcats (13-5, 4-2) got a 3-pointer from Tyree Hollister with 4:22 left, but the Hornets went on an 8-2 run capped by a 3-pointer from Griffin assisted by Wilson to give Bryant a 15-13 lead with 2:15 remaining. The Hornets led 18-15 after the first when senior Brantley Cozart hit a 3-pointer assisted by Black.

It was a back-and-forth game in the second quarter. Down 26-25 with 1:45 left, the Hornets closed the first half on a 5-0 run when Wilson hit a 3-pointer with an assist from Griffin and senior post man Quinton Motto found Cozart down low for a layup to give Bryant a 30-26 halftime lead.

North Little Rock started the second half on a 10-2 run to take a 36-32 lead with 1:54 left in the third quarter as the Wildcats started playing tighter defense against the Hornets. Cozart found Griffin on a back-door cut and Motto made a reverse layup to tie it at 36-36 before Hollister hit a 3-pointer to close out the quarter with the Wildcats leading 39-36 going into the fourth.

“[North Little Rock] made a point to get out on us,” Abrahamson said. “I thought we still got some open looks, but they really stepped up their effort. We tried to get it inside a little bit more and we didn’t have any success there.

“They’re so athletic and talented and good that they can make a run at any time; just turn it on. We had trouble withstanding that.”

Hollister hit another 3-pointer to start the fourth and extend the Wildcats’ lead to six points, but Griffin found Wilson for a 3-pointer and Wilson returned the favor finding Griffin for a 3 in consecutive possessions to tie it up 42-42 with 5:19 left in the game.

Yet another 3-pointer from Hollister, who finished with a game-high 20 points, put North Little Rock up 45-42, but Bryant chipped away making it a 46-45 Hornets’ deficit after Cozart found Motto down low for a layup with 1:21 left.

Late turnovers and allowing offensive rebounds killed the Hornets in the final minute as Cody Ware picked up an offensive rebound, put it back in and was fouled on the shot. Ware made the free throw to put North Little Rock up 49-45 with 59 seconds left in the game.

Sophomore forward Leon Neale did get an offensive rebound for the Hornets, but he traveled with the ball when he was about to stick it back in. Griffin and Black also made turnovers late that aided in the Wildcats’ victory.

“We had a couple turnovers late that we’re trying to come back; every turnover hurts, but when you have a turnover like those two [Griffin and Neal] in that situation, it kind of deflates your team,” Abrahamson said.
Motto got the Hornets within 52-48 with an offensive rebound and put back with 19 seconds left, but North Little Rock held Bryant off for the victory.

“There’s not much room for error in this league, not much room for error against this team,” Abrahamson said. “I believe we’re a good team, capable of doing great things and win games, but we have to rebound and can’t turn the ball over.”

Griffin led the Hornets with 17 points and added two assists, and Wilson scored nine points on 3 of 5 from the 3-point arc and added three assists. Motto and Cozart had eight points apiece with Motto adding seven rebounds and Cozart adding three assists.

For the Wildcats, Hollister shot 4 of 7 from the 3-point line for his 20 points and Watkins had 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.

“You have to give a lot of credit to them,” Abrahamson said of the Wildcats. “They stepped up their defensive effort in the second half and made it harder for us. We’re struggling.”