Tuesday, December 04, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> JHS girls roll over Cabot in big way

Leader sportswriter

Cabot’s surprisingly rough start against Jacksonville put the Lady Panthers down 28 points by the end of the first half, and the margin didn’t get any thinner in the final two quarters as the Lady Red Devils left Panther Arena with a 56-28 blowout win on Friday.

It wasn’t just the home crowd that was in shock by the lopsided numbers on the scoreboard. Even Jacksonville coach Katrina Mimms was surprised that her team was up by such a large margin at halftime.

“No,” said Mimms when asked if she could’ve imagined the score being what it was after two quarters of play. “You kind of watch scores, and we lost to North Little Rock by 10, and they beat North Little Rock handily. But give credit to our kids. They deserve this.

“To come in here, one thing that I preach to them is ‘beat some teams that are elite.’ I treat Cabot as one of the elite teams in the state. For us to come in here and beat them on their own floor, that’s big for our program and for these kids.”

Jacksonville began the game with an 8-0 scoring run, which forced Cabot coach Carla Crowder to call timeout and regroup. Abbey Allgood scored Cabot’s first basket inside the paint to make the score 8-2, but after that it was all Jacksonville as the Lady Red Devils scored the next 14 points to lead 22-2 at the end of the first quarter.

The Lady Panthers turned the ball over seven times in the opening quarter and had no luck moving the ball inside the perimeter on offense because of the presence of Jacksonville’s 6-foot-2 senior standout, Jessica Jackson. A University of Arkansas verbal commit, Jackson scored 10 of her game-high 19 points in the first quarter.

“They’re a very good team,” said Crowder of Jacksonville. “I have no excuses. I give them all the credit. I can’t have excuses when we play like that. We have to be more focused, be ready to play, and be more alert. We need to forget about this and worry about the future, because you can’t worry about the past.”

Cabot used a different rotation of players in the second quarter. Sophomore guard Danielle McWilliams gave the Lady Panthers a spark offensively as she scored six of her team’s 10 points in the quarter.

But Cabot still had no luck slowing down the Lady Devils. Jacksonville outscored Cabot 18-10 in the quarter to take a commanding 40-12 lead at the break.

Senior point guard Jaylin Bridges hit two three-pointers early in the third quarter that lifted the home crowd’s spirits, but unfortunately for the Lady Panthers, they could only manage one other field goal in the quarter. By the end of the third, Jacksonville led 52-21 and invoked the sportsmanship rule.

The Lady Devil starters sat the majority of the fourth quarter, and with 22 seconds left to play, Lady Panther sophomore Alyssa Hamilton scored three points on an and-one play to make the score 56-28.

The rebounding numbers were 20-19 in Jacksonville’s favor, and the Lady Devils forced 25 Cabot turnovers while committing 10 fewer. Jacksonville also shot well at the free throw line, shooting 86.6 percent on 15 attempts.

The Lady Panthers made 60 percent of their free throws on 10 attempts. Neither team lit up the scoreboard from three-point range, but Jacksonville shot 37.5 percent, bettering Cabot’s 15.3 percent.

Jackson added seven rebounds, two steals and one block to go with her 19 points. Markela Bryles also had a solid game for Jacksonville as she totaled 13 points, seven rebounds, three steals and one block.

McWilliams and Elliot Taylor led Cabot with seven points. Bridges scored six points and had four steals and two blocks.

The Lady Panthers (4-2) played Pulaski Academy yesterday in the first round of the second annual Cabot Pre-Holiday tournament. Jacksonville (3-2) hosted Mount St. Mary Academy yesterday. Look for details of those games in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.