Tuesday, November 15, 2011

SPORTS >> Parkview escapes Panthers with win

Leader sportswriter

It was a first-round matchup worthy of any championship final as a fleet Little Rock Parkview team defeated Cabot 64-60 in the first round of the Arkansas Alumni Classic girls basketball tournament at Hall High School on Monday.

The Lady Panthers and Lady Patriots tipped off the second game in a stellar lineup of Metro-area and surrounding teams from 7A down to Class 4A, and provided the closest competition of the opening round with a raucous battle that utilized every inch of court.

Parkview pulled away in the final five minutes of the first half only to see Cabot climb back in and eventually take over the lead at 57-56 with 1:26 left to play following a pair of free throws by senior Melissa Wolff.

Parkview quickly answered with two good foul shots by Derriel Banyard, giving the Lady Panthers plenty of time to set up a final shot with 49 seconds remaining on the game clock.

But with a 30-second shot clock in use during the format of two 16-minute halves for the tournament, the Lady Panthers held on too long, and Wolff was forced to lob one well beyond the three-point line as the shot clock buzzer sounded. That gave the Lady Patriots possession with 16.8 seconds and a 58-57 lead.

“We had chances,” Cabot coach Carla Crowder said. “They just forgot about the shot clock. We were just going to hit Melissa on the cut, but Melissa didn’t ever cut. They all just said they forgot about the shot clock. You just have to learn to adjust, and get yourself ready to play.”

Cabot still held out hope and sent junior Roshunda Johnson to the line with 16 seconds remaining, but she knocked both shots down to extend the Parkview lead to 60-57.

The Lady Patriots then got a steal and subsequent trip to the stripe for sophomore Christyal Holloway, who also hit both shots, making it 62-57 with 15 seconds remaining.

The Lady Panthers still didn’t quit as senior Laci Boyett knocked down a three-point shot with an assist from Wolff with eight seconds remaining.

Cabot quickly called timeout and set up its defense on the ensuing inbound play by Parkview, and got a break when Boyett forced Holloway to lose it out of bounds. That gave the Lady Panthers the ball under their own goal trailing 62-60 and just over six seconds remaining.

The fairy-tale ending came to a crashing halt when the inbound pass targeted for Wolff went high, all the way to the Parkview out line, giving the ball back to the Lady Patriots.

“I don’t know if they’re any more physical than we are, they’re just so much quicker,” Crowder said. “I think once we start playing some speed it will help us get used to it.”

The Lady Patriots used that speed to build a gap late in the first half. Parkview’s 9-0 run from the five-minute mark up to 1:19 gave it a 37-25 lead until an inside basket by Elliot Taylor with an assist from junior Ally Van Enk cut it back to 10, and a three-pointer by Wolff in the final 30 seconds set the halftime margin at 37-30.

Taylor led the way for Cabot with 19 points, including a 9 for 9 performance at the free-throw line. Wolff added 18 points while Boyett finished with 11.

For Parkview, Erin Peoples led with 17 points with 16 for Johnson and 12 for Holloway.

Cabot will take on its county rival Lonoke in the first game of the consolation round at 4 p.m. Thursday.