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PREP BASKETBALL: Withers’ late effort sparks North Little Rock

by Pete Perkins Special to the Democrat-Gazette | January 25, 2023 at 3:09 a.m.
North Little Rock’s guard, Ja’kory Withers (middle) goes up for a shot in front of a Bryant defender Tuesday night, January 24, 2023, at Charging Wildcats Area in North Little Rock. More photos at (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Justin Cunningham)

North Little Rock Charging Wildcat junior point guard Ja'Kory Withers led his team's fourth-quarter offensive attack on the way to a 64-57 victory over the Bryant Hornets at Charging Wildcat Arena on Tuesday night.

Withers, at less than 100%, scored eight of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as North Little Rock (14-5, 3-2 6A-Central) pulled away from the persistence of Bryant (17-6, 2-3).

"[Withers] makes us go," North Little Rock Coach Nathan Clayborn said. "If he's playing well, we have a great game. He makes us go. He was kind of under the weather, so we subbed for him a little more than we like, but he gave it his all, and that's all we can ask."

Junior forward Robert Griffin scored 13 points for North Little Rock. Sophomore guard Andre Barnes added 10.

"In the fourth quarter, Withers was really good," Bryant Coach Mike Abrahamson said. "He showed his poise and his experience, and that's something we're lacking right now. We have some young, talented players, but to have that experience and poise to not get rattled, I thought was big for them."

Junior guard Drake Fowler scored 14 points for Bryant. Sophomore point guard Cedric Jones Jr. scored 10.

A three-point play by sophomore guard Jones, Jr., with 1:21 left in the third quarter gave Bryant a 36-35 lead. North Little's offensive response came with a layup by Barnes and a three-pointer at the buzzer from junior guard Blake Segars to take a 39-36 lead into the fourth quarter.

North Little Rock did not trail in the game's final 8:35, but Bryant stayed close until late.

A layup by Fowler had Bryant within 43-40 with 6:21 left in the fourth quarter, but a free throw by Segars, followed by a three-point play from Griffin at 4:51, gave North Little Rock a 47-40 lead.

A layup by Jones put Bryant within 51-47 with 2:48 left.

Wither's one-handed 6-foot floater from the lane gave North Little Rock a 58-47 lead with 1:29 left. Bryant trailed by 10 or more points until freshman guard Camarion Bead's three-point play completed the scoring with 14.9 seconds left in the game.

"Man, their guys fought hard," Clayborn said. "They're big. They're physical, and they got shooters, and they got playmakers, but we fought. We worked hard, played hard, and we found a way to extend that lead a little bit."


North Little Rock 70, Bryant 31

Senior guard Garlin Freeman scored 15 points to lead the Charging Wildcats over the Lady Hornets.

Senior guard April Edwards had 13 points for North Little Rock (19-3, 4-1 6A-Central). Senior forward Ja'mya Brown scored 11, and senior guard Zizi Cooper 10.

Junior guard Brilynn Findley scored 12 points to lead Bryant (13-6, 2-3).

 Gallery: Boys HS Basketball: Bryant at North Little Rock

Print Headline: Withers’ late effort sparks NLR


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