Tuesday, November 25, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> NLR girls escape Panthers

Special to The Leader

The Cabot Lady Panthers and the North Little Rock Lady Wildcats faced off Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the annual Mount Saint Mary Academy Heavenly Hoops basketball tournament. The first three quarters of the fast-paced, hard-fought final were close, but North Little Rock outscored the Lady Panthers 19-12 in the final quarter to secure the 55-44 victory, and send the second-place trophy to Cabot.

Cabot had defeated Watson Chapel 56-20 and Star City 47-35 to reach the championship game, while North Little Rock had easily defeated the host team 54-22 and E-Stem 77-51 to advance to the final game.

“I thought we played really hard,” said Cabot head coach Carla Crowder. “We got a little stagnant there somewhere in the fourth quarter on offense. We went about eight times without scoring, and we can’t do that. I thought we battled real hard and did a good job on the boards. Out defense did a decent job. We’ve still got to stop dribble penetration, and we’ve got to continue to work on that. We’re in the right direction. The kids are working hard. I’m proud of them.”

North Little Rock controlled the opening tip, and Malica Monk drained a 3-pointer to get the Lady Wildcats on the board quickly.

CoCo Calhoon answered with a layup for Cabot. Kyra Collier put North Little Rock ahead 6-2 with a three, but Danielle McWilliams hit a two-point basket and Alyssa Hamilton a rebound and putback for Cabot to tie the game at 6-6.

Calhoon added two more two-point baskets and Leighton Taylor a 3-pointer to give the Lady Panthers a 13-11 advantage, but North Little Rock scored five points, including an offensive rebound and putback by Brogan Jones at the buzzer to give the Lady Wildcats a 16-13 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Hamilton, Calhoon and Anna Sullivan combined to give Cabot a 23-20 lead in the second quarter, but Monk answered with four of her eight second-quarter points, and North Little Rock led at the half 26-24.

The Lady Panthers came out of the locker room and scored six-straight points as Calhoon scored two on an inbounds play under the basket, McWilliams had a drive and a layup, and Sullivan two free throws to give Cabot a 30-27 lead. North Little Rock answered with two, but Taylor hit a driving layup in the lane to put the Lady Panthers ahead 32-29. Collier hit a three to tie at 32, and the Lady Wildcats added four more for a 36-32 advantage at the end of three quarters.

Collier led North Little Rock with eight of the team’s 19 points in the final quarter. Cabot pulled within five at 45-40, but the Lady Wildcats outscored them 10-4 from that point to set the final score at 55-44. Taylor was 4 for 4 from the free-throw line in the fourth for four points for Cabot, while Sullivan was 3 for 4 from the line and had five points.

The Lady Panthers were 17 for 23 from the stripe, while North Little Rock was 14 of 24.

Calhoon led the Cabot scoring with 11 points, Sullivan had 10 points, Taylor added nine, and Hamilton eight points.

Monk led North Little Rock with 17 points, and Collier was right behind with 16.