Tuesday, February 10, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Relentless effort lifts Cabot to win

Special to The Leader

The Cabot Lady Panthers went into North Little Rock Friday night and handed the Lady Wildcats their first conference loss in a thrilling 47-45 fashion. In a battle until the end, Cabot led at the end of each quarter, having the advantage by two points at the end of the first, second, and fourth quarters, and by three at the end of the third.

The victory gives the Lady Panthers a 6-2 7A/6A-East conference record, while North Little Rock drops to 7-1. Cabot is 18-5 overall, and the Lady Wildcats are now 19-2.

“Our kids just played real hard,” said Cabot coach Carla Crowder. “All of them played hard, but they were relentless on the boards. We did a really good job rebounding. A big key, we didn’t turn it over as much as we did the game before. All the girls played really hard, and we’re glad to have the win here.”

Alyssa Hamilton got the Lady Panthers on the board first with a drive and layup. Malica Monk sank a pair of free throws to tie the score for North Little Rock.

Hamilton scored another two, and Anna Sullivan hit a long 2-pointer for a 6-5 Cabot lead before Monk added two more free throws to give the Lady Wildcats a 7-6 advantage. Sullivan answered with a 3-point basket, and the first quarter ended with a 9-7 lead for the Lady Panthers.

Each team scored 14 points in the second quarter, which still resulted in a lead of two at the half for Cabot. The lead changed hands 10 times in the quarter, with three being the largest margin at 13-10 Cabot. Five players scored for the Lady Panthers with Danielle McWilliams completing a traditional 3-point play, Sullivan sinking another 3-point basket, and Rachel Allgood connecting on a three from an inbounds play to set the 23-21 score at intermission.

Cabot scored the first four points of the second half, stretching the lead to six. Brogan Jones cut the lead to four with two free throws, but Sullivan hit another long 2-pointer to up the lead to six again. North Little Rock answered with six-straight points to knot the score at 29, but Sullivan struck again with a three, then Hamilton with a 2-pointer for a lead of 34-29 for the Lady Panthers.

North Little Rock’s Halley Hill was fouled on an offensive putback, made the first free throw, and Yo’Marris Morris rebounded the miss of the second and put it back in to cut the lead to two.

Josie Vanoss answered for Cabot on an inbounds play under the basket in which she was blocked, got the rebound, the putback, and then the free throw for the 3-point play. Morris responded with a putback of her own at the buzzer ending the third quarter, but missed the additional free throw to leave the score 37-34.

The fourth quarter included several trips to the free-throw line. Vanoss hit both ends of two crucial 1-and-1 attempts, and Leighton Taylor hit both ends with 25 seconds on the clock to put the Lady Panthers up 47-43. The Lady Wildcats could not convert on the other end of the floor and fouled McWilliams with nine seconds remaining. Her free throws would not go down, and Jones rebounded a missed layup by Monk and scored just before the buzzer to set the final margin at 47-45.

Cabot was 9 of 15 from the free-throw stripe for the game, with 6 of 10 of those in the final period. Meanwhile, of the 45 points scored by North Little Rock, 19 of those were free-throw points, as they were 19 of 26 from the line.

Sullivan led the Lady Panthers in scoring with 15 points. Hamilton was next with 13, then Vanoss with seven points.

Jones led North Little Rock with 12, while Monk was held to 10 points and Kyra Collier eight.