Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SPORTS >> NLR rips Cabot girls to extend big winning streak

Leader sports editor

Cabot coach Carla Crowder has always been a supporter of North Little Rock coach Daryl Fimple.

But on one issue, Crowder is not quite ready to give Fimple her blessing.

North Little Rock ran its winning streak to 54 games with a mercy-ruled, 60-32 victory over Cabot at North Little Rock on Monday night.

Fimple and his defending state champions are closing in on the state record 62 straight victories set by Crowder and her Bryant Lady Hornets from 1987-90.

“Good for them, I hope they do well but I like our mark,” Crowder said.

Crowder, in her eighth year at Cabot, urged Fimple, the former Lonoke coach, to take the North Little Rock job after the 2005 season and Fimple has been a long-time Crowder backer.

“Carla has been a great role model for me in my coaching career,” Fimple said. “She’s part of the reason I’m here. She talked me into applying.”

“I told him it would be a great opportunity for him because he does a good job,” Crowder said.

Fimple and his players don’t shy away from discussing the streak, but it is not the foremost thing on the Lady Charging Wildcats’ agenda, he said.

Cabot entered the night in second place in the 7A-Central, and with the victory, North Little Rock beat back its closest pursuer and unofficially locked up its third straight league championship.

“It’s a great accomplishment for them to know about but that’s not our main focus,” Fimple said of the streak. “When it first started I said ‘Your main focus is to win a conference championship and try to win a state championship’ and that’s how they approached it.”

North Little Rock (23-0, 10-0) never trailed and outscored the Lady Panthers 31-10 in the first half. Anikae Brown made a three-pointer from the top of the key with 6:29 left in the game to give North Little Rock a 53-23 lead and start the clock running continuously under the sportsmanship/timing rule.

Cabot was in the midst of playing its third game in four nights, thanks to recent bad weather forcing postponements and makeup dates. Crowder wasn’t sure, however, if it was fatigue or poor shot selection that doomed the Lady Panthers in the first half.

“If you’re not prepared they’ll eat you alive,” Crowder said. “You’ve got to be able to buck up and play.”

Xena King led North Little Rock with 14 points and Lexus Williams scored 12. Ellliot Taylor scored eight points to lead Cabot (6-4, 15-8)