Tuesday, December 23, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot’s big first quarter enough

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers pulled off another victory before the holiday break, beating defending Class 5A state champion Paragould 46-37 Friday at Panther Arena.

The Lady Panthers appeared to be on their way to a very easy night against the Lady Rams. Cabot stormed out to a 10-2 lead with four different players scoring.

Paragould finally broke the streak with a bucket by Didnie Walker, but Cabot answered with another run, this time a 12-1 run that gave the home team a22-5 lead by the end of the first quarter.

This time junior forward Anna Sullivan did most of the damage for Cabot, scoring eight of the 12 points in the run while Maddie Willhite scored the other four.

But the tide shifted dramatically in the second quarter.

The Lady Panthers, playing without two regular starters, managed just three points the entire second period.

They still played well on defense and were able to maintain a 25-16 lead at halftime. But Paragould scored the first six points of the third quarter to make it 25-22.

Danielle McWilliams broke the streak when she hit 1 of 2 free throws after being fouled driving to the basket.

Cabot then got a defensive stop and made it a six-point game on a bucket by Willhite.

Sophomore Lady Panther Josie Vanoss then sank a short jumper after a steal and assist by Sarah Davis, and Davis put Cabot back up by double digits with a pair of free throws just a few seconds later that made it 32-22.

The two teams traded buckets before Paragould scored five-straight to get back to within five points. But Cabot’s Chloe Bean made it 36-29 and Sullivan made it 38-29 after a steal by Vanoss.

Paragould would get the margin to five twice more, starting with back-to-back buckets by Bailey Bateman that made it 38-33. Bean and Leighton Taylor scored back-to-back for Cabot, but Paragould’s Braxton Barriside scored five-straight to make it 42-37 with 75 seconds remaining.

They were the last points for the Lady Rams in the game. Cabot closed the game hitting just 4 of 8 free throws in the final minute, but got several offensive rebounds after misses and Paragould got just one more shot in the game, a missed 3-point attempt by Katelyn Price.

Sullivan led Cabot, 8-1, with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Willhite, Bean and Taylor each added six points apiece for the Lady Panthers. Korie Bryant led Paragould with 14 points while Barriside added nine for the Lady Rams.

The Lady Panthers’ next game will be at 11:30 a.m. Monday in Mansfield, Texas.

They will face the Cedar Hill Longhorns, an 11-3 Class 6A school just southwest of Dallas and Southeast of Fort Worth, in the Spring Creek Barbecue Invitational.