Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot girls shoot out lights, beat Lady Lions

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers couldn’t miss early in Friday’s home game against Searcy, and the result was a lop-sided 59-31 victory in a 7A/6A East Conference game. The Lady Panthers hit 10 of 12 field-goal attempts in the first quarter including 5 of 6 three-point attempts. Point guard Jaylin Bridges hit four of those three pointers on four attempts.

Cabot coach Carla Crowder was excited about her team’s shooting performance.

“It makes everything easier for sure,” Crowder said. “It’s amazing how much smoother everything else goes when you’re making all your shots.”

Cabot led 25-10 by the end of the quarter, but the rout had to wait for the second half. Foul trouble suddenly began to plague the Lady Panthers. Starting post player Alyssa Hamilton picked up her third foul with just two minutes elapsed in the second quarter. Less than two minutes later, leading scorer Elliot Taylor committed her third foul. With their two leading scorers for the season on the bench for most of the second quarter, Cabot scored only nine points and the lead grew by just one point to 34-18 by halftime.

While Cabot (12-4, 5-1) enjoyed success from outside in the first half, hitting 6 of 7 attempts from three-point range, they went inside in the third quarter to blow the game open. The Lady Panthers started the third quarter with a 6-2 run for a 40-20 lead in a minute and a half.

Taylor then picked up her fourth foul with 5:35 left in the third quarter and never re-entered. That hurt Cabot’s press, but the Lady Panthers continued to shoot lots of layups thanks to excellent ball movement in the half-court offense.

“I thought we executed really well,” Crowder said. “We moved the ball around and created open shots. We work on that in practice and we executed it well tonight.”

Hamilton stayed out of further foul trouble in the third quarter, and she was the prime beneficiary of Cabot’s offensive execution. She scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the third quarter, mostly on open jumpers in the lane or layups. Cabot had 18 assists in the victory with Bridges leading the way with five.

Searcy had no foul trouble at all. In fact, Cabot didn’t shoot a free throw until near the end of the third quarter. Cabot hit 5 of 6 attempts in the game while Searcy made just 6 of 13.

The Lady Panthers finished the game hitting 24 of 46 shot attempts for 43 percent. They were 6 of 10 from three-point range.

Searcy made 12 of 46 attempts for 26 percent. The Lady Lions were 1 of 13 from behind the arc.

Hamilton led all players in scoring and rebounding. She had nine boards to go with her 18 points. Bridges scored 15 while senior post Ally Van Enk scored nine points and had seven rebounds.

Searcy’s 6-4 post player Angelina Williams finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots.

Cabot played a big game at Little Rock Central on Tuesday to close out the first round robin of league play. Central was undefeated heading into that game and was a game ahead of the second-place Lady Panthers.

Details of that game will be in Saturday’s edition of The Leader. Cabot stays on the road on Friday with another big game at North Little Rock, the only league team to beat Cabot so far.