CABOT — In a strong, deep conference for track, the Bryant Hornets stood fourth after the first day of competition at the 7A-Central track and field championship meet on Tuesday, May 5.With 49 points, Conway appeared poised to run away with the team title. Cabot was second with 34 points and Russellville third with 21.
The Hornets finished the day with 16 points and were working to turn in their best times and get as many qualified for the Class 7A State meet as possible.To that end, the Hornets’ 4x800 meter relay team of Colton Klaus, Tyler Freshour, Brandon Mueller and Michael Smith turned in a season-best time of 8:37 to place fourth.
Also scoring for the Hornets were Troy Smith in the high jump (4th in 5' 8"); Tanner Tolbert in the triple jump (5th in 41' 11"); and Jordan Murdock in the shot put (7th in 40' 9").
BRYANT, Ark. — It was a long way from the 7-1 loss they suffered at Russellville, but the Bryant Hornets were still not quite able to overcome the Cyclones on the return match on Tuesday, April 7.
On the strength of a pair of goals off of corner kicks in the first half, Russellville prevailed, 2-0, denying the Hornets the second 7A-Central Conference win that they’ve been desperately seeking.
“The defense played pretty good,” commented head coach Jason Hay. “We didn’t do a very good job marking up on our corners in the first half but after that we shut them down. (Goal keeper) Devin Norris had a very good night. He must’ve had five or six saves.
By Kirk Stewart
The third through sixth grade basketball tournament was slated to end on Saturday, but double-elimination tournaments are never easy to predict. The tournament spilled over into Monday resulting in some down-to-the-wire action and some quality basketball.
Monday night’s early game was a 3rd/4th grade girls’ division matchup that pitted Team Rowland against Team Hill. Team Rowland wrapped up their season defeating Team Hill. Team Rowland had previously upset Team Hill's bid for an undefeated season on Saturday sending them on to the final elimination game on Monday night, and then handed Team Hill their second loss to take the tournament title.
Monday night’s second final was a rematch of the 5th/6th grade boys division Team Price and Team Hurt. The two squared off on Saturday where Team Price suffered its first defeat of the season losing to Team Hurt by a score of 51-50. Team Price switched strategy away from offense to a more defensive scheme playing mostly man-to-man against Team Hurt's high scoring offense. And that adjustment proved to be the winning move. Team Price won the game 40-33 and took the tournament championship. Team Price ended the season with a record of 15 wins versus 1 loss.
LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant Hornets soccer team scored three goals in the second half, including two by junior Jonathan Lowery, while shutting down the Episcopal Collegiate Wildcats on the way to a 4-1 win in its 2009 debut on Tuesday, Feb. 17.
Lowery snapped a 1-1 tie with about 20 minutes left to play off a feed from junior Marshawn Hood. Moments later, senior Jared Uland, off an assist from Marvin Lopez upped the score to 3-1. In short order, senior Aaron Prewitt got a direct kick to Lowery who headed it in to set the final score with 10 minutes to play.
Bryant got on the board first with around 20 minutes left in the first half on a goal by Lopez, a senior, with freshman Peter Alverio picking up the assist.
By Rob Patrick
There are several ancient buildings on the sprawling Bryant High School campus. Though not the oldest, the Bryant High gym was erected in 1968. And like those other antique structures, it's past due for replacement.
Portions of the gym were renovated a few years ago. New home locker rooms were added, new coaching offices and those were pretty nice. But, also added, was an odd set of bleachers, designed for students, at the North end of the court. Perhaps to fit in with the other seating, the first row and the steps that led up the center aisle were built too close to the court; concrete steps, plastic seats.
Reid Prescott got a scary, first-hand look at how close those steps were on Tuesday night, Feb. 17.
In his first varsity start, the junior guard was playing pretty well. He'd hit a 3 and was helping K-Ron Lairy and Brandon Parish handle the press that the Cabot Panthers were applying. The Hornets were only trailing the 7A-Central Conference co-leaders 11-7 before Adam Sterrenberg, Cabot's scoring machine, hit a 3 at the buzzer ending the first quarter to make it a 7-point game.
And the Panthers had added a pair of baskets to start the second quarter when Prescott got behind the pressure and was headed for a layup on the North end. Cabot's 6-5 forward Gary Clark sprinted back and hammered the Bryant guard as he jumped toward the basket. Prescott went sailing, hit the floor and banged his head on that first concrete step.
There was blood and, eventually, Prescott was helped off the court and taken to the hospital for treatment.
Like their junior guard hard
to that point, the Hornets continued to scrap. They just didn't have an answer for Sterrenberg who finished with 22 points -- an average night for him -- as the Panthers escaped with a 60-45 win.
GREENBRIER — Jonathan Parks hit a tip-in at the buzzer and the Bryant Hornets freshman basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference Tournament with a 39-37 edge-of-your-seat victory over the rival Sheridan Stingers on Monday, Feb. 16.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well for the Lady Hornets who fell victim to a late charge by the hosting Greenbrier Junior Lady Panthers. The 47-37 loss ended Bryant’s 18-7 season. For details, see below.
The boys, meanwhile, advance to play Conway Blue on Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 7:45 p.m., with a bid to the tournament championship on the line. The two teams, both from the South Division of the league, split their regular-season games, each winning on the other’s court. Blue won at Bryant back on Dec. 1, 2008, 53-44. Bryant won at Conway on Jan. 15, 38-35.
The game against Sheridan, another South Division team, came down to the last seconds just as their Jan. 22 meeting at Bryant had, when the Hornets survived 23-21.
By Rob Patrick
For the Bryant Hornets, a pattern has evolved this season. If they shoot well and get off to a good start, they'll be there in the end and have a chance to win.
But a slow start has been like poison to them. They struggle to stay in the game. They struggle to catch fire offensively showing a tendency to force shots trying perhaps to make up 4 points for every 2-point attempt, 6 for every 3-point try. They struggle to stop the other team, taking a few too many gambles that get them out of position or suffering a drop in intensity. And they struggle to get to the free-throw line so they can make up ground with the clock stopped -- a problem they have even when things are going well. This isn't a physical, attack-the-rack kind of team even though much of the offense they run is designed to get to the hoop through hard backdoor cuts, crisp screens and snappy passing. The execution wanes when things don't start well.
The team's two games against the Russellville Cyclones are indicative. At Russellville, the Hornets shot their way to an 11-4 lead right away and, in the end, they had a chance to win only to suffer a heartbreaking 62-60 loss.
On the return game at Bryant on Tuesday, Feb. 10, however, managed just one basket over the first 5:40 of the contest and fell behind 12-2. They never led as Russellville eventually built as much as a 22-point lead and won 53-38.
VAN BUREN — As hot as the Bryant Hornets were in the first half, they were cold in the second.
And thus, the lead they enjoyed at halftime over the Van Buren Pointers in their splendid Clair Banks Arena, disappeared. With a basket to end the third quarter then three unanswered 3-pointers to start the fourth, the Pointers surged past the Hornets on the way to a 46-39 win that avenged a loss at Bryant earlier in the season.
It was another in a series of gut-punch losses for the Hornets who dropped to 7-14 overall and 1-8 in the 7A-Central Conference. Van Buren improved to 15-7 and 4-4.
The Hornets had scorched the nets in the first half, hitting 11 of their 15 shots from the floor (73 percent) including 7 of 8 from 3-point range. The result was a 29-21 lead at the half which concluded with a scintillating steal and slam by senior Tim Floyd.
In the second half, however, the Hornets converted just 2 of 16 shots from the field. Both makes were 3-pointers, so they went the entire second half without a 2-point basket. Granted, Van Buren's impressive front line included a 6-9 player, Marshall Parker, who gave way to 6-10 Hooper Vint when he came out of the game, plus forwards Brooks White (6-4) and Aaron Owen (6-3), made it tough for the Hornets to get anything inside and even tougher to rebound. The Pointers finished with a 22-15 advantage on the boards despite the Hornets' hot hand in the first half which didn't leave many rebounds to gather.
But because of their disadvantage in size, when the Hornets cooled off they were mostly getting the same number of shots (usually one per trip).
By Rob Patrick
In 2008, the Conway Wampus Cats came within a 3-point basket of winning the Class 7A State Tournament. They’re better in 2009.
The Bryant Hornets got a first-hand view of that on Tuesday, Jan. 20, when the Cats came to the Hornets Nest and sprinted to a 60-31 win.
Conway improved to 13-2 on the season, 3-1 in the 7A-Central Conference, tied with North Little Rock and Van Buren for first place. The Cats’ lone league loss was to North Little Rock in their league opener but they were just getting back do-it-all forward Preston Purifoy, one of three players back from last year’s top six.
Purifoy, playing off the bench, scored 14 points with the other key returnees, Kenyon McNeaill and Jarvis Garner adding 10 each in about three quarters of play.
But as good as the Wampus Cats were on offense (22 of 36 from the field, 61 percent), they were at their best of the defensive end.
The Hornets tried to use the same patient offensive formula that had garnered them an impressive win over Van Buren (the Pointers’ lone league loss). Against the Pointers, the Hornets would eventually create a breakdown and get an good open look. Against Conway, though, they ran every play they had, worked it and worked it, but Conway just didn’t let up or break down defensively. The Hornets had a tough time getting open looks.
It was such that the Bryant starters only managed 6 points as a group, all by forward Dijon Benton.
By Rob Patrick
RUSSELLVILLE — In the rugged 7A-Central Conference, road wins are as valuable as they are hard to come by. So, when you’ve got a chance to post one and it gets away, it hurts.
On Friday, Jan. 16, the Bryant Hornets were hurting after their bid to win at Russellville fell short, 62-60.
The Hornets, coming off an impressive win at home against Van Buren, were trailing Russellville’s Cyclones, 47-39, early in the final period but rallied to tie the game on a pair of free throws by Dijon Benton with 2:06 showing. They got a chance to take the lead when Cameron Whaley set up defensively and took a charge to wipe out a shot by Russellville’s Brent Klein.
But the Cyclones’ star point guard A.J. Broadnax, limited to just 6 points through the first three quarters by the alternating defenders Benton and K-Ron Lairy, made a steal and drove for a layup to put his team ahead again, 56-54.
Broadnax wound up converting 6 of 8 free throws in the final 1:10 to preserve the lead, much to the Hornets’ frustration.