Friday, January 23, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot close to upset at Central High

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot girls led by two at halftime of Tuesday night’s 7A/6A-East game at Little Rock Central, but foul trouble and Central’s Kiara Williams both contributed to the Lady Panthers’ demise in the second half, as the Lady Tigers beat Cabot 47-38.

After two quarters of play, the Lady Panthers led 21-19. Twenty-four seconds into the third quarter, Cabot took a four-point lead on a midrange jumper from the corner by CoCo Calhoon.

With 6:32 remaining in the quarter, Central’s Williams cut the lead to one with an and-1, and after that, it was all Lady Tigers. After Calhoon’s jumper, Cabot (14-5, 2-2) could only manage one more bucket in the third quarter, and Central (15-1, 4-0) was able to take a 31-25 lead into the fourth.

It helped Central that Cabot starters Alyssa Hamilton and Danielle McWilliams sat the last couple minutes of the third quarter because of foul trouble.

In the fourth quarter, Hamilton and McWilliams got back on the floor and made an immediate impact as Hamilton sank a short jumper eight seconds into the quarter, which cut the Lady Tiger lead to 31-27.

By the 5:13 mark of the fourth, Cabot got Central’s lead down to two, 34-32, and that run was capped with a pair of free throws by Hamilton. However, on Central’s ensuing possession, Hamilton picked up her fifth foul, and the Lady Tigers took advantage.

By the three-minute mark, Central pushed its lead to six, with the score 41-35, and the Lady Tigers held the ball once they got it past half court. Cabot was unable to force a turnover, so Cabot’s Anna Sullivan was forced to foul Central’s Alaysia Ready with 1:40 to play.

Ready went to the line and missed her first free throw, but made the second, which pushed the Lady Tiger lead to seven.

Cabot point guard Leighton Taylor answered with a 3-pointer with 1:22 remaining, which made the score 42-38.

Cabot coach Carla Crowder immediately called timeout to set up a defensive strategy, but Central scored the last five points of the game to set the final score.

The Lady Panthers opened the game with a 6-0 lead on baskets by McWilliams and Sullivan, and two free throws by Calhoon. Central, though, ended the quarter with a 10-2 run to lead 10-8 after one.

Like the first quarter, Cabot opened the second quarter with a 6-0 run to regain the lead at 14-10. Both teams struggled to take care of the ball throughout the first half. The Lady Panthers had 11 first-half turnovers and Central had 15.

Cabot’s lead remained at four toward the end of the first half, but Williams sank a pair of 1-and-1 free throws with 6.8 seconds left in the first half, which set the halftime margin at 21-19.

The Lady Panthers finished the game 12 of 36 from the floor for 33 percent. Conversely, the Lady Tigers made 14 of 38 shots from the floor for 37 percent. From the foul line, Central made 18 of 27 free throws for 67 percent, while Cabot made 13 of 16 for 81 percent.

Each team took better care of the ball in the second half and each team finished the night with a total of 17 turnovers. Central, though, did a better job on the boards, as it outrebounded Cabot 25-13.

Williams led all scorers with 14 points. She was the only Lady Tiger to score in double figures. Hamilton was the only Lady Panther to score in double figures. She had 13 points.

Calhoon had nine points for Cabot. Taylor scored five points. Sullivan scored four. McWilliams scored three, and Sarah Davis and Rachel Allgood added two points apiece.

The Lady Panthers continued conference play last night at Mountain Home after deadlines, and they’ll play another 7A/6A-East game Tuesday at home against Jonesboro. Tuesday’s game at Panther Arena will tip off at 6 p.m.