Wednesday, January 16, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Panthers shut down Bombers

Leader sportswriter

A single quarter of play was all visiting Mountain Home was able to muster as the Cabot Lady Panthers ran away with an easy-looking 47-25 victory over the Lady Bombers at Panther Arena on Friday in a pivotal 7A/6A East Conference game.

Senior point guard Jaylin Bridges enjoyed one of her best shooting nights all season with a game-high 23 points while Elliot Taylor turned in a strong overall performance with 10 points, five steals, four rebounds and four blocked shots.

Cabot blasted its foe from the outside with a 6-for-12 performance behind the three-point line, primarily off the hands of Bridges, who connected from long distance four times while Taylor and classmate Ally Van Enk each added a trey in the first half.

Cabot shot 16 of 37 overall for 43 percent from the floor while holding the Lady Bombers to a minimal 10 of 25 for 40 percent.

“We really played well,” Lady Panthers assistant coach Charles Ruple said. “Abbey Allgood and Elliot just did a super job on their post player. They stepped up. Jaylin played super, offensively and defensively, running what we wanted to run. They were very focused.”

Cabot (9-4, 2-1) lost the rebounding battle to the Lady Bombers (7-2, 2-1) by a total of 22-14, but took much better care of the ball with 10 turnovers to Mountain Home’s 19 giveaways. Many of those came as a result of the Lady Panthers’ full-court pressing attack that basically set Taylor up like a kid in a candy shop just past midcourt. Taylor also played strong in the paint, showing dominance early with a block and rebound on the defensive end that she ended up converting on the other side of the court with a basket and free throw to give Cabot a 14-11 lead at the five-minute mark of the second quarter.

Bridges answered back-to-back three pointers from Mountain Home in the opening minutes with a trey at the 2:53 mark of the first quarter, but she was just warming up. Bridges hit from the outside again to start the second period, giving the Lady Panthers an 11-8 lead. She made two more in the third quarter, including her last one with 1:23 left in the quarter for a 33-19 lead.

The only thing that did not go Cabot’s way was a technical foul called against Ruple with 5:31 left to play following a nice transition basket by Danielle McWilliams that was set up with a steal by Taylor for a commanding 37-21 lead. The longtime Lady Panthers assistant was able to laugh about the situation following the game.

“There’s six occasions when everyone on the bench, players, coaches, managers, can stand up, and one of them is when there is a good play on the floor,” Ruple said. “He told me to sit down, I said, ‘kiss my foot,’ which I say a lot in my psychology class. He reacted like he thought I may have said something else.”

Van Enk added nine points and five rebounds. Bridges also put up big defensive numbers with four steals while Allgood had three steals. McWilliams finished with six points and junior guard Ryan Wilson had four points, all of which came in the final minute.

The Lady Panthers will be on the road Friday against West Memphis.