Friday, June 19, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Panther basketball continues strong summer camp play

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot High School boys’ basketball team had another productive outing at their three-team camp Tuesday at Panther Arena. The varsity and junior varsity Panthers each played a pair of exhibition games, and the two Cabot teams won all four games.

Cabot’s JV and varsity teams each picked up a pair of comfortable wins against Beebe’s JV and varsity teams, and to close the night, they each won close games against traditional powerhouse Little Rock Hall.

The JV Panthers held off a late Warrior rally to win that exhibition 56-52, and the varsity Panthers, despite missing three starters, eked out a 43-42 win in the final game of the evening.

Tuesday’s games were the last Cabot will have this month, and CHS coach Jerry Bridges was pleased with the way his group closed the month.

“That’s a good finish to the first half of our summer league,” said Bridges. “We’ll start it back up when we come back from dead weeks.”

In the varsity game, Cabot scored the first bucket on a 3-pointer by Parker Childress, but Hall scored the next six points to lead 6-3. Cabot’s 6-foot-8 forward Matt Stanley, though, scored the next seven points to give the hosts the lead, and the Panthers cruised to a 23-15 lead at the end of the 20-minute half.

Stanley added a tough inside bucket five seconds into the second half to give the Panthers their first double-digit lead at 25-15, and with 17:08 to play, Stanley got an and-1 to put Cabot up 12, leading 29-17.

Hall soon got the margin back to single digits before Cabot’s Phillip Wynne sank a corner three near the 14-minute mark to up the Panther lead to 34-23. The Warriors, however, responded with a 10-5 run to take their first lead of the half with under two minutes to play with the score 40-39.

Stanley, though, put Cabot back up with two free throws. That made the score 41-40 with 1:34 remaining. Hall took the lead shortly after, but Stanley scored the go-ahead and game-winning bucket with 49 seconds left, which also set the final score.

That basket was scored inside the paint and was set up by a nice pass from teammate Logan Gilbertson from the other side of the lane. Stanley was the only Panther to score in double figures against Hall. He had 20 points.

Stanley, a junior-to-be transfer from Vilonia, has only had three practices with the team so far, but Bridges is looking forward to the future with him in a CHS uniform.

“I can’t wait till Stanley knows more of how we go about doing things,” Bridges said. “He’s practiced three times with us, and then we’ve been playing. He doesn’t know a lot of the little wrinkles or sets that we like to do that can put the ball in certain people’s hands in different spots on the floor.

“I’m excited about him and I was excited about our team before he came in.”

Cameron Thornton and Wynne each contributed five points for Cabot in the varsity game. Jarrod Barnes and Gilbertson scored four points each. Childress had three and Bobby Joe Duncan had two.

In the JV game, Hall led in the early goings before Cabot overcame an eight-point deficit to tie the game at 21-21.

Cabot took the lead on a Jared Vance 3-pointer near the three-minute mark of the opening half, and the Panthers maintained the momentum and used it to take a seven-point lead at halftime with the score 32-25.

Cabot’s lead stretched to 44-34 on a free throw by Carson Walker with 8:43 to play in the second half, but the Warriors didn’t go away quietly. They inserted some varsity players into their lineup and eventually got their deficit down to 50-48 in the final minute.

The JV Panthers, though, answered with five-straight points to push their lead to 55-48. Hall scored the next four before Christian Weir set the final score on a one-and-one free throw with 17.5 seconds remaining.

“We like our young kids here,” Bridges said of his JV unit. “Those are all 10th graders that we’re just keeping together. They shoot it well and they’re learning what we expect of them.”

Landon Vaught led Cabot’s JV team with 15 points Tuesday. Noah Allgood had 14 for Cabot. Vance had 10. Jaylin Brown and Walker contributed five points. Weir had three, and teammates Ray Doakes and Ayden Shurley had two points each.

Cabot will resume its summer league schedule on July 14 at Panther Arena.