Tuesday, February 05, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Wildcats win in overtime

Leader sportswriter

A low-scoring game got the boost of an extra four minutes of playing time as North Little Rock downed Cabot 50-40 in overtime at Wildcat Arena on Friday. The Lady Wildcats took over sole possession of second place in the 7A/6A East Conference with the victory behind league-leading Little Rock Central.

The Lady Wildcats led 17-16 at the end of three quarters after the two teams were tied at 13 all at halftime of the defensive struggle. But North Little Rock (13-5, 6-2) helped itself at the free-throw line late, and tacked on 33 points through the fourth quarter and overtime.

Danielle McWilliams pulled the Lady Panthers (12-7, 5-4) to within a point early in the fourth quarter with a basket that made it 19-18. North Little Rock’s Malica Monk answered on the other end with a basket and free throw to put the Lady Wildcats back up 22-18.

NLR pushed the score as high as 26-19 before the Lady Panthers came back with help at the free-throw line, including a pair of foul shots by senior guard Ally Van Enk that cut it back down to two possessions at 26-22.

Things got even more interesting down the stretch as point guard Jaylin Bridges scored to make it 27-25, and Alyssa Hamilton finally tied things up at 27 with a late basket. Monk made two more free throws as the Lady ’Cats pushed the margin to 30-27, but a pair of free throws by Cabot senior forward Elliot Taylor in the final minute assured overtime after a last-second three-point attempt by North Little Rock failed.

Once in overtime, the Lady Wildcats made the most of repeated trips to the foul line, going 12 for 15. North Little Rock was 11 for 41 from the floor for 27 percent and made only one of 11 three-point attempts for nine percent.

The Lady Wildcats made up for their weak shooting from the floor with a 60-percent effort from the foul line at 25 of 42.

Cabot shot 25 percent from the floor (10 of 40) and made 1 of 5 three-point attempts for 20 percent. The Lady Panthers made 63 percent from the free-throw line at 17 of 27.

Taylor led the Lady Panthers with 13 points, with only two of those points coming in the first three quarters of play. McWilliams, Van Enk and Hamilton each added seven points for Cabot while Bridges finished with six points. For North Little Rock, Monk led with 20 points. Cabot had a slight rebounding advantage at 36-30.

The Charging Wildcats boys team took care of business in a 67-32 rout over Cabot in the finale on Friday. T.J. Francis led the way for North Little Rock with 16 points. The victory improved the Wildcats to 21-1 overall and 9-0 in the 7A/6A East Conference, and still in sole possession of the conference league as well as the overall No. 1 ranking in class 7A/6A.

Cabot moved to 6-13 overall and 2-7 in the 7A/6A East in a three-way tie for fifth place with Mountain Home and Little Rock Central.