Saturday, January 05, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Wildcats get revenge against Cabot

Leader sportswriter

The game wasn’t quite as ugly as North Little Rock coach Daryl Fimple had hoped for, but still ugly enough at the end that the Lady Wildcats were able to hold on and take a 54-50 victory over host Cabot at Panther Arena on Friday to begin 7A/6A East conference play.

The Lady Wildcat win avenged a mercy-rule loss to the Lady Panthers in the final of the season-opening Heavenly Hoops Classic.

Cabot (7-4, 0-1) cut an 11-point deficit to start the fourth quarter down to the final margin of four points, with a lot of fouls for both sides along the way throughout the second half.

North Little Rock (8-3, 1-0) suffered one of its weakest games at the free-throw line all season but had a strong enough cushion at the end to withstand the Lady Panthers final push.

“We kind of got into their legs a little bit,” Fimple said. “This long break and bad weather has probably made it really hard for practice. That’s a big strength of ours is that we’ve got a lot of depth, a lot of kids who can play. We kept attacking the basket and finally making some layups. We missed a ton of them, still. We’re a young team, but I thought we did some really good things.”

Kyra Collier and Kierra Webb led the Lady Wildcats on the scoreboard with 10 points each while Candice McDaniels added seven points. For Cabot, Elliot Taylor led the way with 20 points, while Alyssa Hamilton and Ally Van Enk each added nine points for the Lady Panthers.

Cabot went on a 6-2 run in the final minutes, including an inside shot by Hamilton with an assist from Taylor with 3:26remaining and a successful shot by Taylor with 1:35 remaining to cut NLR’s lead to 53-48.

“Experience wise, we struggle in certain situations,” Fimple said. “We’ve shot free throws really well up until tonight, and we couldn’t make them or layups. We have to have ugly games up to be really good. We’ve got to get in an ugly game for us to be any good.”

Alyssa Hamilton gave the Lady Panthers an early 3-2 lead when she hit the back end of a two-shot free throw with 5:57 remaining in the opening period, but Deja Hamilton answered for North Little Rock with an inside basket at the 5:15 mark to put the Lady Wildcats back up 4-3.

Webb increased the margin to 6-3 with an inbounds basket with 4:06 left to play in the opening period before Taylor converted a basket and a free throw to tie the game with 3:53 remaining.

Mays split the lane for the next Wildcats score with a jumper at the 3:23 mark that gave North Little Rock an 8-6 lead, and Haley Hill added a free throw seconds later before Monk scored in transition for a 10-7 Lady Wildcats’ lead.

Alyssa Hamilton took a bounce assist from Jaylin Bridges across the inside lane for Cabot’s next score with 2:10 left in the first quarter. Hill extended the lead again for the Lady ’Cats with a three-point basket at the 1:21 mark, but Taylor came through inside for Cabot on the ensuing possession with a basket that made it 13-11 inside a minute.

Turnovers plagued the Lady Panthers through most of the second quarter. North Little Rock capitalized on three straight Cabot turnovers early in the period to extend its lead to 19-13 at the 7:18 mark following another transition score for Monk.

The Lady Panthers closed the gap to five points midway through the third quarter when Taylor scored inside to make it 34-29. But Taylor ended up as the only scorer from that point on with the exception of two free throws by Ryan Wilson.