Tuesday, March 04, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot girls run away from Lions

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers won’t be going to the playoffs this week, but they put a positive close on what they knew would be a rebuilding season. The Cabot ladies dominated the first half and fought off a second-half charge to beat the Searcy Lady Lions 56-40 Friday night at Panther Arena.

Lakyn Crumbly, the Lady Panthers’ only senior, saved her best for last, finishing with a season-high 10 points that mostly came during a run that all but put the game away late in the first and early in the second quarters.

It was a tale of old and new in the decisive run. While Crumbly was pouring in 10, sophomore CoCo Calhoon blew up for 12 points in the first quarter and 17 in the first half. It started after the Lady Lions built a 4-2 lead with five minutes left in the first quarter. From that point until Searcy finally scored its next basket with 4:25 left in the second quarter, Cabot went on a 19-1 run to take a 21-15 lead.

Cabot’s pressure defense forced turnover after turnover by the visiting Lady Lions. Searcy’s 6-foot-5 post player Angelina Williams was not a factor because Searcy could not set up its half-court offense.

Cabot junior guard Danielle McWilliams sparked the run with steals on three consecutive Searcy possessions. Each one ended with a Calhoon bucket. The Lady Panthers led 18-5 at the end of the first quarter, and sophomore Leighton Taylor opened the second with a 3-pointer that made it a 16-point game. The scoring slowed from that point, but after Searcy’s Brittany Broadway finally ended the Lion drought with a three-point play, Cabot went on another run and closed the half with a 32-12 lead.

The Lady Panthers then opened the third quarter just as hot for the first three minutes. The lead topped out at 42-17, and that’s when Searcy went on its own furious run.

Broadway, the team’s average leading scorer who had been held to three points up until the deficit reached 25, took over. She rallied the Lady Lions back to within 17 by the end of the third quarter. With three minutes remaining in the game, the lead was down to 50-40, a 23-8 Searcy run since the margin grew to 25.

After Broadway’s 3-pointer made it a 10-point game, Searcy coach Michelle Birdsong called timeout, and it gave Cabot a chance to regroup. After the timeout, Searcy did not score again.

Calhoon finished with a game-high 21 points while Broadway had 16 and Williams 13 for Searcy.