Brian Johnson Special Correspondent
The Ada News
BETHEL ACRES —
Foul problems messed with Byng’s rhythm and execution Friday night.
But the Class 4A ninth-ranked Lady Pirates finally kicked it into high gear with a pivotal 8-0 run in the fourth quarter and held on for a 43-37 victory over the host Bethel Lady Wildcats.
Clinging to a slim 28-27 lead, Byng’s Raetchel Gray sank two spot-up 3-pointers off a pair of feeds from McKenzie Hudson. Those were sandwiched around an Ashton Johnson runner in the lane as the Lady Pirates took command at 36-27 with 5:54 to go.
Bethel was unable to get closer than four points as Byng improved to 15-2 on the season.
“It was hard to get into a rhythm because our substitution pattern changed due to foul trouble. Our girls overcame a lot of adversity,” said Byng head coach Matt Fike. “Ashton Johnson had a great game, and Raetchel Gray did an amazing job running the point. Her two 3’s in the fourth quarter led to a huge momentum swing. Shadley Grove’s minutes off the bench won the game for us. She had to guard their best player (Bry Flanagan).”
Johnson fueled the Lady Pirates with 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting from floor and an 8-of-10 effort from the free-throw line. She also snatched six rebounds to go with a steal.
Gray finished with 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field to go with five assists, four steals and six rebounds to fill up the box score nicely. Gray tallied 10 of her points in the fourth quarter after going scoreless in the first half.
Starters Alexis Hill and Tatum Hill had to sit some considerable time due to foul problems. Alexis Hill finished with only three points but grabbed five rebounds, added a pair of assists and ended up with one steal. Tatum Hill tallied five points on 2-of-3 shooting and converted 1-of-2 free shots.
Byng’s Breecia Crawford also tossed in five points and pulled down six rebounds. Grove hit one free shot and had one steal in reserve role.
The Lady Pirates owned a commanding 29-17 advantage on the boards as 13 came off the offensive glass. Johnson and Crawford finished with three offensive caroms each.
Flanagan tossed in a game-high 18 points and snatched eight rebounds for Bethel, which fell to 8-7 on the season. Flanagan knocked down a perfect 6-of-6 shots from the floor but was only 6-of-11 from the charity stripe. Teammate Genna Robinson joined Flanagan in double figures with 10 but was only 3-of-8 from the free-shot line.
Morgan Davenport, Bethel’s 6-foot, 1-inch senior center, came off the bench to block four shots as she also collected three rebounds and scored one bucket.
The Lady Wildcats were a woeful 9-of-21 in free throws (42.8 percent) while Byng didn’t necessarily put on a clinic but was considerably better at 15-of-23 (65 percent).
Byng shot only 38.2 percent from the floor overall, while Bethel converted at a 42.8 percent pace.
Of the 15 Bethel turnovers, the Lady Pirates compiled 12 steals as Gray led the way while Hudson ended up with three. Byng committed 12 miscues, six in each half.
The Lady Pirates, despite their sluggishness, led 21-19 at halftime and even trailed twice in the third quarter. Byng led 26-25 heading into the fourth.
Tatum Hill’s bucket off a Gray assist opened the fourth quarter before two Flanagan free throws pulled Bethel within 28-27.
That set the stage for the critical 8-0 spurt which led to the Lady Pirate win.
Byng’s next action will be Tuesday, as the Lady Pirates entertain crosstown rival Latta.