Friday, December 16, 2011

SPORTS >> Lady Panthers overpower 2A champion Lions

Leader sportswriter

Cabot simply had too many weapons for 3A powerhouse England as the Lady Panthers used their superior depth to down the Lady Lions 74-49 at Panther Arena on Tuesday.

Senior Melissa Wolff scored a career high 36 points, and also came away with 14 rebounds and five steals as the Lady Panthers dominated the boards against an England team dependent on the play of its go-to star in senior Janeka Watkins.

Janeka Watkins poured in 29 points for the Lady Lions along with five steals and four rebounds, while twin sister Jameka added nine points for England.

The Lady Panthers led throughout and took complete control in the second quarter despite England’s ability to handle Cabot’s full-court defensive pressure. The Lady Lions showed offensive discipline with just four first-half turnovers, but junior Elliot Taylor denied them of most second-chance shot opportunities with strong defensive rebounding. Taylor finished the night with a game high 16 rebounds, and scored all of her 13 points in the second quarter.

Wolff, the 6-0 University of Arkansas signee, gave notice early that it was going to be her night with a three-point basket at the 6:37 mark of the first quarter to put the Lady Panthers up 5-2, and hit a pull-up jumper in the lane to make it 9-6 with 5:09 left to play in the first.

She extended the advantage to 16-8 with a basket and a free throw after drawing a foul from Engalnd’s Jasmine Taylor on her way to the hoop with 3:24 remaining in the first, but Jeneka Watkins kept the Lady Lions in it with a pair of layups that cut it 16-12.

Wolff started the second quarter with a basket to put Cabot up before Taylor took over the scoring. Taylor took an assist from Wolff off a steal and scored to give the Lady Panthers a 22-14 lead with 7:08 left in the half, and followed a Laci Boyett basket with another score to complete an 8-0 run for Cabot to make it 26-14 with six minutes remaining in the half.

Taylor closed the half strong with a three pointer off an assist from Sydney Wacker to give the Lady Panthers a 29-15 lead with 4:43 left until halftime before Wolff assisted her on her next basket that extended the advantage to 31-15.

She added a putback at the 2:44 mark and then stole the ball for a coast-to-coast layup that gave Cabot a 35-20 lead. Ally Van Enk closed out the quarter with a free throw to give the Lady Panthers a 36-21 lead at halftime.

Wolff did most of scoring inside in the first half for 12 points before opening things up from the outside in the second half.

She went 4 for 5 from behind the three-point line and continued to score inside as well. Point guard Jaylin Bridges assisted Wolff with a backdoor pass for a layup that gave Cabot a 40-21 lead at the 6:37 mark of the third quarter, and Wolff’s three pointer with 6:11 left in the third upped the margin to 42-25.

Boyett added 10 points for Cabot and senior guard Micah Odom finished with seven points. Aria Dunbar had eight points for England.

The Panthers and Lady Panthers faced off with Springdale at home Friday after Leader deadlines. Look for details of that matchup on Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.

The Cabot boys and girls are off the entire Christmas break and will resume play on Jan. 3 at home against Greene County Tech. Conference play in the 7A Central gets started on Jan. 6 at home against Conway.