Lady Trojans have no defense for hot-shooting Lake Hamilton

Hot Springs' Jaylia Reed (2) scored 20 points Wednesday against second-ranked Greenwood at the 5A State Tournament.


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Hot Springs coach Josh Smith tried reverse psychology Tuesday night at the Lady Trojans basketball arena, which is more like a palace.

Lake Hamilton brought one of the state’s best shooting squads to Trojanland, and Smith’s strategy was to start the game playing a zone defense.

“We came out in a zone hoping it would be one of those nights (poor shooting) for Lake Hamilton,” said Smith, after watching the Lady Wolves sink seven treys in the first quarter en route to a 59-33 victory. “We realized real quick they were shooting lights out, and went to a man-to-man. That didn’t work either.

“All I can say is hats off to a really good team. We hadn’t played in three weeks because of COVID, and it showed tonight. We’ll chalk it up to what it is, and move on. (Aspen) Thornton and (Hayleigh) Wyrick make Lake Hamilton to go, but the other girls are pretty dang good, too.”

Lady Trojans
Trojans’ Gabby Erby is guarded by Lake Hamilton’s Ginny Higginbotham (1).

Lady Trojans drop first league game

Both Thornton and Wyrick swished three 3-pointers in the first quarter. It was 17-2 after four minutes, and was 25-6 beginning the second quarter. Jaylia Reed was the only player to score for Hot Springs (6-5, 0-1) in the first period.

Hot Springs (12-3, 3-0) cooled off a bit in the second stanza, but still built a commanding 41-14 halftime cushion. Wyrick and Thornton combined for 37 of those 41 points

The Wolves went cold in the third quarter, but outscored an even colder Trojans’ team, 10-3. Lake Hamilton coach Blake Condley cleared his bench at the start of the final period with his club leading by 36.

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Wyrick finished with a game-high 23 points in three quarters, with Thornton contributing 21.

The Trojans outscored Lake Hamilton 16-8 in the final eight minutes. Reed was the only player scoring in double digits for this host team with 19 points.

Hot Springs plays at White Hall Friday night, with makeup games Saturday and Monday against El Dorado and Texarkana, respectively.