Tuesday, February 01, 2011

SPORTS >> Russellville tips Cabot, makes overtime shots

Leader sports editor

The Cabot girls had enough in the tank to force overtime but ran out of gas in the extra period as Russellville took a 58-55, 7A-Central Conference victory at Cabot on Friday night.

The Lady Panthers never led in the extra period, though they tied it once and got within 52-51 when Kaki Thomas converted a three-point play with 1:52 left. Cabot was within 55-53 after Thomas made a layup with 46 seconds left and was within 57-55 after Thomas got a rebound and putback with under a minute remaining.

But Thomas committed her fifth foul on Jaimie Long, who made one free throw with 16 seconds left and Cabot could only manage an off-balance shot by Jaylin Bridges that Susan Taylor partially blocked as time ran out.

“We ran a couple of set plays that we executed on pretty well,” Cabot assistant Charles Ruple said. “Other times when we didn’t have them set, we played very poorly.”

Russellville led 46-44 when Long made a free throw with 23.7 seconds left in regulation. Cabot’s Sydney Wacker rebounded the missed second shot and the Lady Panthers called time out to set up the inbounds play.

Laci Boyett got a long inbounds pass to Kaki Thomas and Thomas made a nine-footer from the left side to tie it.

“This is a tough place to play,” Russellville coach Steve Wiedower said. “Cabot has got an excellent team. We didn’t play a very pretty game tonight, especially on the offensive end, but we did just enough. That’s what I was telling our girls — sometimes that’s a sign of good things to come.”

Russellville led 41-33 after an inside shot by Natalie Shockey at the start of the fourth quarter, but Eliot Taylor made a reverse layup to start an 8-2 Cabot run that pulled the Lady Panthers within 43-41.

Bridges made a three-pointer from the right elbow to cut it to 45-44 with just over 30 seconds to go in regulation and Thomas fouled Long, leading to the missed second free throw that in turn led to Cabot’s tying play.

“They threw it long there and they got a screen and the girl made a good shot,” Wiedower said of Thomas’ basket that forced overtime. “We were trying to pressure them. We wanted them to throw it in front of us but they got it behind us.”

Russellville (17-2, 5-1) had a chance to win it in regulation but made just 5 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter. The Lady Cyclones made 8 of 13 free throws in overtime.

“Free throws were big in overtime,” Wiedower said. “During regulation we could have put it away with some free throws but we hung in there and they did what they needed to go to get a win.”

Ruple was unhappy with Cabot’s shot selection in the extra period.

“I thought two really terrible threes when we were two down, it made no sense at all,” Ruple said. “But that’s what happens against good teams. There’s a lot of sound and a lot of noise and you’ve got to trust those kids you have on the floor.”

It didn’t help Cabot that Wacker, Eliot Taylor, Thomas and Wolff all fouled out.

“Foul trouble,” Ruple said. “Our best player was sitting on the bench most of the game. They scored three field goals in the last quarter and overtime.”

Thomas led Cabot with 16 points, Wolff scored 14 and Taylor had 10.

Kaylie Wiedower led Russellville with 16 points, Jaimie Long scored 11 and Mary Carol Davis and Susan Taylor each scored 10.

Cabot was playing host to Mt. St. Mary on Tuesday night and will have another home game against Conway on Friday before beginning a road swing that includes stops at Mt. St. Mary and 7A-Central power North Little Rock.