Saturday, January 12, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Heartbreaker from 50 feet sinks Cabot

Leader sports editor

“I don’t have a defense for a 50-footer,” said Cabot coach Jerry Bridges. He wished he did on Tuesday after Marion heaved a shot from beyond the halfcourt line and nailed it, giving the hosting Patriots a 35-32 victory in a 7A/6A East Conference matchup.

“Our boys did a great job, we just had too many turnovers,” Bridges said. “They did everything I asked of them. They played great defense first of all. They did a great job of controlling the tempo and they did a great job on offense once we got into our halfcourt sets. We just have to do better at taking care of that ball.”

Marion’s pressure hurt the Panthers (6-7, 0-2) at times and turned into a few easy baskets for the home team. It was almost the only way Marion (9-2, 2-0) could produce any points, as Cabot’s matchup zone befuddled the Patriots the entire game.

“I told the kids to get beat three on the road by a shot from beyond half court, and have 25 turnovers, that means you did everything else pretty well,” Bridges said. “If not for the turnovers we played a solid all-around game.”

Seniors Ryan Stafford and Kyle Thielemier led the Panthers with 10 points apiece.

The Lady Panthers had better luck in a similarly close game, beating the Lady Patriots (7-5, 0-2) 59-57. It was Marion’s second two-point loss in a row. The Marion girls lost by two on the road at Mountain Home last Friday.

“We were expecting a competitive game,” Cabot assistant coach Charles Ruple said. “We didn’t know anything about them because it’s the first time we’ve ever played, but we knew from that Mountain Home score they were going to be a good team.”

The Lady Panthers pushed out to a 29-21 lead at halftime, but Marion clawed its way back into the game in the fourth quarter utilizing the foul strategy.

Cabot (8-4, 1-1) failed to put the game away by missing several free throws down the stretch.

“Thankfully we kept playing pretty good defense,” Ruple said. “But we’ve got to hit those (free throws) and put teams away. It shouldn’t have been that difficult. We felt like we shot ourselves in the foot, but you always like to win. Winning on the road in conference is a big deal I guess no matter how you get it done.”

Cabot hosted Mountain Home on Friday and will travel to Little Rock Central on Tuesday.