Friday, January 02, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers first at Beebe

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers brought home the first-place trophy from the Beebe First Security Bank/Jeremy Gilliam Christmas tournament on Tuesday, and in doing so, sent an emotionally crumbling Riverview squad home 39 seconds before time actually expired.

The Panthers won the game 60-37, but the final score was a bit deceiving.

Four minutes into the third quarter, Cabot’s lead was just 30-26. When Panther forward Hunter Southerland got a run-out dunk, it marked the beginning of the end for the Raiders. Cabot dominated the rest of the way, and when it became clear to the 16-3 Raiders that they were going to lose the game, they also lost their composure.

And they seemed to target their frustration toward Cabot junior guard Tyler Hill. In the final two minutes of the game, Riverview was called for two technical fouls and two flagrant fouls, and three of the four were the result of Hill being thrown or knocked to the floor.

“They sure seemed to be after him,” said Cabot coach Jerry Bridges. “And I don’t get that because Tyler’s a good kid. He’s not the type that’s going to be involved in stuff like that.”

After the fourth dead ball foul, and second flagrant foul that left Hill on his back at midcourt, the officials had seen enough. They called the halt to the action with 39 seconds left on the clock and awarded Cabot the win.

The Panthers, 8-2, almost blew it open early, racing out to a 15-6 lead, but Riverview scored six-straight to end the first quarter and pull within three.

The same thing happened in the second quarter, with Cabot building a lead only to see the Raiders come back. But the Class 4A power had no answer for Cabot’s last run, led by guard Jarrod Barnes. The sophomore scored 18 of his career-high 30 points in the second half.

Hunter Southerland added 12 for Cabot while point guard Deshawn Lee led Riverview with 15 points.

While Hill was the target late in the game, starting forward Garrett Rowe was the casualty. Rowe left the game early in the third quarter after suffering a shoulder injury. He and Riverview’s Landon Ramsey were chasing a loose ball when Ramsey landed on top of Rowe.

Rowe suffered some ligament damage and is expected to be out two to three weeks.

The first week of Rowe’s absence will just be from practice. The Panthers do not play again until hosting North Little Rock on Jan. 9 in the 7A/6A East Conference opener.