Friday, December 30, 2011

SPORTS >> Lady Panthers play well in Texas

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot Lady Panthers finished sixth out of 32 teams in the Mansfield Rotary Invitational tournament at Legacy High School in Mansfield, Texas, this week, going 3-2 as one of two teams from Arkansas in the prestigious Texas tournament along with Springdale Har-Ber.

Senior Melissa Wolff was named to the all-tournament team as one of 11 players to make up the elite list, including tournament MVP Itana Taylor of Pflugerville, Tex.

“To make a road trip like that and play that many games, the girls came together well,” Cabot assistant coach Charles Ruple said. “They had to pull together, and we had to have some different players make some plays off the bench. I think we got mentally tired, but that could have a lot to do with the amount of travel. It did a lot for team chemistry with the kids, being close quarters like that for the whole trip.”

The Lady Panthers (12-4) cruised by Lamar in the first round, winning 76-65 to set up a second-round game against one of the hometown teams in Mansfield-Summit, the No. 4 ranked team in Texas coming in to the tournament.

Cabot prevailed again in a 47-29 victory as Wolff and junior point guard Jaylin Bridges led the way offensively with nine points each. Defense was the key for the Lady Panthers, as they allowed just 14 points by Mansfield-Summit in the second half.

That put the Lady Panthers into the semifinal round against Amarillo, where they suffered their first loss of the five-day tournament in a close 46-42 heartbreaker.

Cabot broke even once it reached the consolation bracket with a 66-55 victory over Cedar Hills to put the Lady Panthers into Thursday’s fifth-place game against Bowie, where they lost 44-39.

The Lady Panthers will open the new year with their final non-conference game at home against Greene County Tech on Tuesday before opening their 7A-Central Conference schedule against Conway at Panther Arena next Friday.