Jake Haley throws up a circus shot during the Hornets 58-21 win over Sparta on February 2.
By Brent Huelsmann
As the regular season winds down for the Nashville Hornets, the Hornets split their two contests this past week. The Hornets defeated Sparta on February 2, and dropped a contest to Harrisburg in the Rich Herrin Classic on February 3. The Hornets were short handed this past weekend as they played without senior Brandon Schnitker, and sophomore Matt Anderson.
Nashville has just three regular season games remaining this season, all of them being SIRR Conference Mississippi division games. The Hornets will play Carterville on February 9 at home, travel to Pinckneyville on February 10, and close out the regular season with a home game against DuQuoin on February 16.
Nashville picked up a dominating win as they defeated Sparta 58-21 to begin the month of February. Nashville scored early and often and never trailed as they cruised to victory.
Nashville jumped out to a 7-0 lead early in the contest as Cameron Parker, Bryce Bultman and Jake Haley all hit shots early to give the Hornets the early advantage. After the game, Hornets coach Wayne Harre talked about getting off to the quick start. “I thought we got off to a pretty good start, better than we have in other games.” At the end of the first, the Hornets had a 12-4 lead.
The second quarter belonged to Nashville as they pulled away from the Bulldogs. Carson Parker scored 12 points in the frame to help the Hornets put the game out of reach. Overall Nashville outscored Sparta 18-9 in the quarter to take a 30-13 lead into the locker room.
In the third quarter, the Hornets defense allowed just three points, as the offense continued to click. Six different Nashville players scored in the third to help the Hornets take a 48-16 lead into the fourth.
In the fourth, the Hornets starters got to rest as Nashville cruised to a 58-21 win.
Harre talked about the defense after the game. “Our defense I thought did a pretty good job of keeping them away from the bucket. It made it kind of tough on them to shoot over us a little bit. We also did a pretty good job on the boards. I think we rebounded it awful well tonight. So it was good win, you never know. We were playing a little shorthanded tonight, so you never know what happens but I thought our kids came to play tonight and did a good job.”
Harre also noted the boost Tanner Bergmann gave the team with Matt Anderson out of the lineup with an injury. “He’s getting better. That is what we are hoping for. He knew he was going to have to log quite a few minutes tonight and he did. He did a good job for us.”
Carson Parker led Nashville with 16 points as one of three players in double figures. Bultman added 15 points, followed by Bergmann with 10 points. Haley added six points, while Cameron Parker and Dale Anderson scored four points. Terry Pelczynski rounded out the scoring with three points in the win.
The Hornets were back in action on February 3, as they played the final game of the Rich Herrin Classic in Benton. Nashville didn’t get on the court til about 9 p.m. as they took on the Harrisburg Bulldogs. In the end, the Hornets could not overcome a huge game from Isaiah Saulsberry who led all scorers with 30 points and led Harrisburg to a 55-52 win.
After Nashville took an early 8-4 lead, Harrisburg went on a 8-0 run to close out the first to take a 12-8 lead into the second quarter of play.
Harrisburg continued to keep Nashville at bay in the second quarter, as the lead hovered between three and five points throughout the frame. Nashville cut it back to three late, but Harrisburg scored right before the buzzer to take a 23-18 lead into the break.
Nashville came out of the gate quickly after halftime, quickly tying the game. Trailing by three, Haley connected from behind the arc to tie the game at 23. Harrisburg would come back down the floor and answer with a three of their own and continued to hold a slim lead over Nashville throughout the quarter. The Hornets would tie the game again at 35, but Saulsberry would knock down two free throws late to take a 37-35 lead into the final quarter of play.
As the fourth quarter started, Cameron Parker knocked down a three to give Nashville their first lead since the first quarter of the game. Harrisburg would quickly take the lead back and the teams would go back and forth until Harrisburg took the lead for good at 43-42 over Nashville. Harrisburg would extend the lead as high as five midway through the quarter, but the Hornets would not go away. Nashville would cut the lead to two points late, but Harrisburg knocked down key free throws late to put the game away. Bergmann hit a three at the buzzer but it was not enough as Harrisburg took the 55-52 win.
Harre credited the Bulldogs with making their free throws late, and said the Hornets will learn from this contest. “The difference in the game was the free throw line. I thought our effort was pretty good. They are playing all seniors. They look like seniors too. That’s not using an excuse. I told them we are not using that as an excuse, but we have to get stronger. That is just the way it is. We’re going to work on things. Get back to work next week and work on some things we need to get better at. That’s a good game for us to play. That’s a good game for us to play. I’m glad we played it and we’ll learn from it, and learn from our mistakes and we’ll get better at it.”
Bultman led Nashville with 19 points in the loss. Carson Parker added 13 points, followed by Cameron Parker with nine points. Bergmann finished with seven points, and Haley scored four points to round out the scoring.