Friday, January 25, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot shoots well in fourth league victory

Leader sportswriter

Valuing each possession was the key in the Lady Panthers’ 48-37 conference win over Jonesboro on Tuesday at Panther Arena.

Cabot (12-4, 4-1) and Jonesboro (2-18, 0-5) each finished the 7A/6A East contest with a total of 38 shots from the floor, but the Lady Panthers made 53 percent of those shots, bettering the Lady Hurricane’s 34 percent.

“Yeah, it was pretty good,” said Cabot coach Carla Crowder about her team’s shot selection. “We just wanted to focus on doing things right and getting on the boards and rebounding. I thought we did a pretty good job. Our defense did a pretty good job. We just have to execute better.”

Cabot began the game with an 8-2 scoring run, but the Lady Hurricane scored the next six points to knot it up at 8-8. Senior point guard Jaylin Bridges drained the first of her five three pointers with 1:04 to play in the opening quarter to put the Lady Panthers back up 11-8.

Jonesboro got another basket in the final minute, but Elliot Taylor scored on a highly-contested layup with 3 seconds to go, putting Cabot up 13-10 at the end of the first. The Lady Hurricane trimmed Cabot’s lead to one on a free throw by Susannah Kelley 33 seconds into the second quarter, and the score remained at 13-11 until the 5:15 mark.

Senior two-guard Ally Van Enk scored the first points of the second quarter for the Lady Panthers after a Jonesboro turnover, giving Cabot a 15-11 advantage. The Lady Hurricane responded with a 5-0 scoring run to take a 16-15 lead with 4:12 to play in the half.

However, Cabot closed the half with an 8-0 run, capped off by a last-second layup by sophomore post player Alyssa Hamilton which gave the Lady Panthers a 23-16 lead at the break. Hamilton, Taylor and Abbey Allgood combined for five steals in the second quarter that led to easy buckets for Cabot at the other end.

The Lady Panthers pushed their lead to 10 in the second half on another three pointer by Bridges, but Jonesboro made another run. The Lady Hurricane cut Cabot’s lead down to 29-24 as the third quarter wound down, but the Lady Panthers closed the quarter with a 4-0 run to take a 33-24 lead into the final frame.

Cabot carried its late third quarter run into the fourth by scoring the first five points of the quarter, pushing the lead to its largest of the evening at 38-24. Jonesboro trimmed it back down to single digits with consecutive threes by Morgan Malugen and Terrica Steele. But by the 2:00 mark, the Lady Panthers held a 46-32 lead.

Jonesboro cleaned up the score as the final seconds ticked away, and Taylor scored the final basket of the game inside the paint with five seconds to play.

“Every game is closer than I want it to be,” Crowder said when asked if the game was closer than she had anticipated. “I always like to win big if we can. (Jonesboro’s) a good team, well-coached. We need to work on our turnovers and getting better passes. We need to get to the line more. We only got to the line nine times.”

Cabot made 3 of 9 shots (33 percent) from the free-throw line and missed its first six attempts. Jonesboro was 5 of 8 from the line (63 percent). Both teams made 38 percent of its threes and committed 18 turnovers in the game. All of Cabot’s three pointers were made by Bridges, who led all scorers with 15 points.

Taylor put together a solid game, finishing with 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block. Hamilton scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds. Van Enk and Allgood scored four points apiece.