Friday, February 01, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> North Lady Panthers beat South, take first

Leader sportswriter

A solid third quarter on both ends of the floor helped the Cabot Junior High North Lady Panthers beat Cabot Junior High South 39-30 Thursday at Panther Arena to improve to 14-5 overall and 5-1 in the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference.

Cabot South entered the game unbeaten in conference play with a 5-0 record. The North Lady Panthers’ only loss in conference play came against Conway White on Monday. According to North coach Jeremy Halbrook, slowing down South playmakers Anna Sullivan and Leighton Taylor was what needed to happen in order for his team to be successful.

“We had to stop number three for them (Taylor) and number 25 (Sullivan),” said Halbrook. “They’re their best two players. We did an excellent job. They were undefeated coming into this game and we had one loss. This was a tiebreaker for the conference. Our focus was to try to win all four quarters. I think we won three out of the four. They maybe outscored us by two in the last quarter.

“Last time when we played them we had a 10-point lead going into the half, but our third quarter was bad. But we outscored them tonight 10-2 in the third quarter. I’m proud of them. We had a good week of practice. It was a good win.”

The two respective teams went back and forth in the first quarter, but North ended the quarter with a 9-8 lead. North opened the second quarter with a 5-0 scoring run, capped off by a three pointer by Lily Sinclair with 1:45 to play in the half.

North led 16-11 in the final seconds, but Sullivan stole the ball on North’s end of the court and took it the distance for a contested layup, but missed. However, South’s Heather Hill was there for the rebound and putback to cut the deficit to 16-13 at halftime.

Sullivan scored the only basket for South in the third quarter. Rachel Allgood, CoCo Calhoon, MaKenzie Sexton and Sinclair combined to score 10 points in the quarter to give South a 26-15 advantage heading into the final frame.

The South Lady Panthers were able to cut North’s lead to seven twice in the final six minutes, but that was as close as they’d get. Allgood made two free throws with 4.9 seconds to set the final score.

North finished the game 18 for 27 at the free-throw line (67 percent) and made 3 of 8 three pointers (38 percent). South outrebounded North 19-16, but shot 58 percent at the free-throw line and 17 percent from three-point range. South finished with 17 turnovers. North committed 13.

“We’re a second-half team and I really felt like we could overcome the turnovers,” said South coach Lori Harmon, “but when we went to the line and didn’t finish, I think that hurt significantly. And the strategy of having to foul at the end, they stepped up there and knocked them all down, and that continued to make us sink further and further behind.”

Sinclair led all scorers with 14 points. Allgood scored seven. Sexton scored six. Calhoon added five and Maddie Rice scored four. For South, Sullivan led the way with 10 points. Sarah Davis and Hill scored five apiece. Taylor finished with four.

In the boys’ game, the South Panthers improved to 10-8 overall and an even 3-3 in conference play with a 40-25 win over North. South’s Holdyn Barnes led all scorers with 14 points. Teammate Hunter Sutherland also had a solid game, scoring 10 points, seven of which came in the first six minutes.

The freshmen North teams host North Little Rock’s Ridgeroad on Monday at the North gym. South’s freshmen teams also play Monday at Benton.