Tuesday, January 07, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot ladies pull away from Bryant

Leader sportswriter

BRYANT – After a close first quarter, the Lady Panthers separated themselves from the Lady Hornets in the second and third quarters en route to a 45-34 victory Monday at the Hornets’ Nest.

Lady Hornet forward Aubree Allen scored the first point of Monday’s nonconference finale, but Cabot answered with a basket at the other end to take a 2-1 lead. The two teams traded leads for the remainder of the first quarter, but the Lady Panthers led 9-8 at the end of one, thanks to a Leighton Taylor putback after a CoCo Calhoon miss with 23 seconds left in the period.

Cabot (9-5) held Bryant (4-7) scoreless in the second quarter, which allowed the visiting Lady Panthers to gain a sizable 23-8 advantage at halftime. Even though the Lady Panthers outscored Bryant 14-0 in the second quarter, their shots weren’t falling like they wanted.

The Lady Panthers made just four field goals in the second quarter, but Calhoon got the bulk of Cabot’s points in that time at the free-throw line. Calhoon had all of the Lady Panthers’ free-throw attempts in the first half, going 9 of 14 at the stripe for 64 percent.

Things didn’t get much better for Bryant in the third quarter. Two quick baskets by junior forward Alyssa Hamilton sparked a 7-0 Cabot run to open the second half. The run was capped with a three-pointer by senior guard Lakyn Crumbly near the six-minute mark of the period.

Bryant scored its first points since the first quarter on a three-pointer by Peyton Weaver on the ensuing possession, but Crumbly gave the momentum right back to the Lady Panthers after getting her own putback just seconds later, which made the score 32-11 Cabot with 4:42 remaining in the period.

Cabot outscored Bryant 18-6 in the third quarter to lead by a comfortable 41-14 margin at the start of the fourth quarter.

Lady Panther coach Carla Crowder sat all but one her starters through the majority of the final eight minutes, which allowed Bryant to score a plethora of baskets down the stretch that in the end made the game appear to be closer than it actually was.

Sophomore forward Anna Sullivan was the only Lady Panther starter to play the bulk of the fourth quarter. Sullivan is a valuable floor contributor for the Lady Panthers, but normally plays off the bench.

Crowder had to adjust her lineup with junior guard Danielle McWilliams out with an ankle injury. McWilliams suffered the injury at an invitational tournament in Mansfield, Texas over the holiday break.

It isn’t a serious injury, but the timetable for her return to the floor is unknown. Other than Hamilton, the rest of the Lady Panther starters Monday were sophomores.

Those sophomores are Sullivan, Taylor, Calhoon and Rachel Allgood.

Cabot outrebounded Bryant 22-16 in the game. The Lady Panthers finished with 11 turnovers. Bryant had double the amount of turnovers with 22, 16 of which were Cabot takeaways. Cabot finished the game 16 of 42 from the floor for 38 percent, while Bryant was 12 of 30 for 40 percent.

Calhoon led all scorers with 15 points, all of which came in the first half. Hamilton was the only other Lady Panther to finish in double figures. She scored 12 points and had a game-high seven rebounds. Weaver and Allen each scored 14 points to lead Bryant.

The Lady Panthers will open 7A/6A East Conference play Friday at top-ranked North Little Rock. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.