Tuesday, December 18, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot beats Bryant while shorthanded

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers got a quality road win on Friday despite being shorthanded. Playing without senior forward Elliot Taylor and senior point guard Jaylin Bridges seeing very limited time with injuries and foul trouble, the Lady Panthers were still able to defeat Bryant 47-34 in their last game before Christmas.

“Elliot has a little foot problem she’s been playing with so we decided to rest her,” Cabot assistant coach Charles Ruple said. “Bridges saw very limited time. She’s had a little knee problem that’s been nagging her. She got into a little foul trouble early so we just sat her down too. The rest of the girls did a tremendous job. Bryant had beaten Vilonia who just beat us by 20 points. So going in there and shutting them down like we did was a great way for us to end before a little break here for a while.”

The two teams were dead even at the end of the first quarter and at halftime. Tied at 17 at intermission, the Lady Panthers equaled that total in the third quarter alone. Playing at a slower pace than the usual all-out pressing attack it usually plays, Cabot was able to create open shots in the half-court set.

“We played pretty well considering we didn’t have two seniors on the floor almost at all, and considering we were playing a different style than we’re used to,” Ruple said. “Bryant likes to slow it down a little and with us not having the depth we usually do, we went along with it. They ran the offense very well and found open shots.”

Sophomore forward Alyssa Hamilton led the way with 16 points while senior post player Ally Van Enk added 12.

While Cabot’s offense was efficient in the second half, its defense was stifling. The Lady Hornets managed to make just nine of 36 field-goal attempts the entire game. Cabot hit 21 of 52 and only three were three-pointers.

Bryant hit 14 of 18 free-throw attempts while Cabot was 3 of 4 from the line.

The Cabot boys weren’t just in a tight game early, but throughout. Bryant led almost the whole game, but never led by more than six points. Cabot took the lead midway through the fourth quarter but never led by more than two points. Missed free throws was the main culprit in Cabot’s loss.

“We just have to hit free throws and finish games out,” Cabot boys coach Jerry Bridges said. “If we had just made a few of those we probably would have come out on top in this one. Bryant’s a good team though. Their guard play is better than its been in a while but could have won that game.”

The Lady Panthers’ next game will be at the Mansfield Rotary Club Classic in Texas. They will face Plano East on Thursday, Dec. 27. The boys will stay much closer to home for the holiday break. They will make the short trip north to Beebe to face Pulaski Academy at 5:30 p.m. on the 27th.