Hornets avenge loss, down Tigers at home

Bryant senior Deron Canada puts up a 3-pointer in a 68-59 win over the Central Tigers Friday at the Hornet’s Nest in Bryant. Canada scored a season-high 26 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in the win. RICK NATION/Special to The Saline Courier
Joe Vincent II, FAB 44
Special to The Saline Courier

After leading by 18 points at the half only to fall 69-61 to the Central Tigers in Little Rock in their first matchup, the Bryant Hornets returned the favor Friday at home, splitting the season series with the Tigers with a 68-59 win at the Hornet’s Nest in 7A Central Conference action.
From the tip, Bryant controlled momentum of the game making early shots and getting to the free-throw line to keep the game at their pace going into the half. Bryant had a 10-point lead, 33-23, over Central coming out of the half.
Bryant (15-8, 6-4 Central) kept the momentum, but going into the fourth quarter, Central (7-14, 3-7) started to close the gap. The game got close until sophomore Khalen Robinson and junior Rodney Lambert where able to get to the line to make free throws to widen the gap going into the final couple minutes. Being in the bonus in the final minutes of the game worked out to the Hornets’ favor in closing the game out with a nine-point victory.
Bryant Coach Mike Abrahamson gave keys to winning Friday’s game against Central High in pre-game interview: “Minimize turnovers so that we do not allow them transition points and crashing boards,” he said. Getting the first rebound is very important. Central is a great rebounding team and cannot afford to get beat on the boards.”
Abrahamson had confidence in his young team to be able to handle the pressure. When asked how practice went this week when preparing to play Central High after their dramatic loss on Jan. 12th, assistant coach Dominic Lincoln said he felt good about the rematch.
“They (Hornets) had good practices this week and the guys had great energy,” he said. Lincoln stated his keys to success are, “keeping it simple and playing Bryant’s style of basketball and to attack early.”
Bryant senior Deron Canada scored 21 his season-high 26 points in the first half on seven 3-pointers to lead Bryant high over the Tigers in the win Friday. Canada added a team-high 13 rebounds.
The Hornets will hit the road on Tuesday to Fort Smith with their second matchup with the Southside Mavericks, a team Bryant handled 54-42 at home last month.