The Greenwood Lady Bulldogs basketball team (8-5) opened the 2019 portion of their schedule last Friday night with their conference opener against the Little Rock Christian Lady Warriors (13-1).
Both teams are expected to compete for the 5A West league title, but it was the visiting Lady Warriors who seized the early advantage, winning on the road at H.B. Stewart Arena, 63-54.
The LRC girls dominated the boards throughout the game to help them overcome a pair of Greenwood leads in both halves. The home team was up early by 10 points (12-2) after a 12-0 run, and led 42-36 after an 11-2 run to start the second half.
Junior guard Jaelin Glass sparked the early explosion by scoring the first seven points for the Lady Bulldogs, including a three-pointer. Senior guard Kyiah Julian scored the next five points in the opening period.
Greenwood led 17-14 after one quarter, but after their quick start, trailed 34-31 at the half.
Junior guard Angela Price hit back-to-back buckets to start the third quarter before Julian sank a three-pointer to help build the momentum.
Glass then drove inside for a bucket, and sophomore guard Kinley Fisher finished off a fast-break chance with a floater that found the net as Greenwood went up by six, 42-36.
With 5:23 showing on the third quarter clock, the LRC bench signaled for a timeout.
“The first half we came out and we were really ready [to play],” said Greenwood Head Coach Matt Bryant. “In the second half, again, we came out and played really well.”
But after the timeout, the Lady Warriors regrouped and limited the Lady Bulldogs to just three field goals the rest of the way.
The visitors outscored Greenwood 27-12 over the final 13:23 to erase their third-quarter deficit and secure the win. LRC led 49-45 lead after 24 minutes, and won the fourth quarter scoring battle, 14-9.
The Lady Warriors opened the final period with an 8-0 run. The Lady Bulldogs, who hit 20 field goals in 59 attempts, missed their first seven shots of the quarter.
“We beat a good basketball team,” said LRC Head Coach Ronald Rogers. “This is a big win. You come to Greenwood. First conference game on the road. It’s a big win for sure.
“[Greenwood] plays havoc basketball, and they are so good at that,” added Rogers. “We attacked the basket a little more and got the ball in the paint a lot more in the second half. That was [the] difference.”
Coach Bryant, still settling in as a temporary replacement for Clay Reeves, on medical leave for the remainder of the season, described his chief concerns during the contest.
“The big thing was getting back on defense and rebounding the basketball,” Bryant said. “That’s where they hurt us the most, those two things.”
Little Rock Christian’s big three of Amber Brown, Reagan Bradley, and Wynter Rogers combined for 62 points and 41 rebounds. All three players had a double-double in points and rebounds.
Brown had 26 points and 12 boards, including all 14 of her team’s points in the first period. Rogers had 16 points and 19 rebounds while Bradley had 20 points with 10 boards.
The Lady Warriors had a whopping 48-27 advantage on the boards and allowed Greenwood only six offensive rebounds in the game.
Jaelin Glass scored 13 points to pace Greenwood, followed by Angela Price with 11 points and Kyiah Julian with 10. Sophomore guard Ally Sockey contributed seven points.
The GHS girls traveled to Russellville this past Tuesday evening for their second conference game, but results were not available at press time. They will host Vilonia on Friday at 6 p.m.
Prior to their conference opener, the Lady Bulldogs competed in the Sapulpa (OK) Classic, just after Christmas. They played three games in the tournament against two of the best teams from the highest classification (6A) in the Sooner state.
On day one Greenwood fell to Tulsa-Washington by nine points, 54-45. The GHS girls trailed at the end of each quarter, but remained competitive throughout the contest.
Tulsa led 15-12, 31-23, 43-33 after each of the first three periods, respectively. Greenwood narrowly won the scoring battle in the fourth quarter, 12-11.
Kinley Fisher, who was later named to the All-Tournament team, led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with 14 points, followed by Jaeline Glass with six points and Harley Terry with eight.
In game two Greenwood faced the host team, losing 58-42. The Sapulpa varsity squad jumped out to a 19-14 first quarter lead, but the GHS girls battled back with a strong second quarter and trailed at the half by only one point, 24-23.
But the home court advantage was too much for Greenwood to overcome in the second half. Sapulpa outscored the Lady Bulldogs 14-8 in the third quarter and 19-11 in the fourth.
Kyiah Julian paced Greenwood in scoring with 12 points, followed by Fisher with 11 and Glass with nine points.
The final game for the Lady Bulldogs was a cakewalk against the Sapulpa junior varsity squad, an easy 56-13 blowout win. Greenwood led 44-9 at the break before pulling its starters in the second half.
Ally Sockey and Harley Terry shared the high scoring honors for Greenwood with 10 points each. Junior guard Maggie Rozell added nine points and sophomore guard Haven Clements contributed eight points.
Before Christmas the GHS girls continued their habit of playing top-quality opposition during the pre-conference portion of their schedule, taking on the Lady Bears of Fort Smith Northside on December 19th.
In the opening quarter of the game, the Lady Bears hardly missed a shot, hitting nine of 10 attempts from the floor, including all four of their three-pointers.
But Greenwood, forcing 19 Northside turnovers in the game, rallied in quarters two and three to stay in the contest, trailing 33-19 at the half, but only 36-29 after 24 minutes.
With less than four minutes left, the Lady Bulldogs made it a six-point game, when Kyiah Julian’s three-pointer cut the Northside advantage to 43-37. But the visitors could get no closer as Northside regrouped to remain undefeated with a 52-40 win at Kaundart-Grizzly Fieldhouse.
“We came out in the first period and probably played as well as we have played all year,” said Northside Head Coach Rickey Smith. “But we got lackadaisical and quit attacking, and the momentum changed that second and third period.
“We did some things we shouldn’t have done, but luckily, we’ll take (the win),” said Smith. “Give Greenwood credit. They’re a very quick, aggressive, physical team. They were state runners-up and all of them are back. They’re good.”
Greenwood got 11 points from Kyiah Julian and 10 points from Kinley Fisher, with each player sinking a pair of three-pointers. Angela Price added seven points and Haven Clements five points.