Tuesday, November 17, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Panther girls surge past Belles in third

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers opened their basketball season by beating tournament host Mount St. Mary 59-31 Monday in the Heavenly Hoops Classic. The Lady Panthers broke open a competitive game in the first half and turned it into a mercy-rule blowout midway through the fourth quarter.

Cabot turned the pressure up in the second half and forced the tempo. That created a lot of steals, but also a lot of fouls. The Lady Belles made only three shots from the floor the entire second half, but shot 21 free throws thanks to 16 Cabot fouls.

Cabot also went to the line several times and neither team shot free throws very well.

Mount St. Mary made 15 of 29 attempts for the game, but just 9 of 21 in the second half.

Cabot made just 11 of 24 in the game and was 4 of 10 in the second half.

The Lady Panthers did start hitting from outside in the final two quarters after missing all their attempts in the first half.

Cabot led 12-8 at the end of the first quarter and 26-15 at halftime. That changed when the Belles couldn’t handle Cabot’s zone press in the third quarter. The Lady Panthers outscored MSM 22-10 in the third period to take a 48-25 lead into the final frame.

Maddie Nichols and Holly Allen each hit three pointers that sparked Cabot’s fourth-quarter run that invoked the sportsmanship rule.

Cabot senior CoCo Calhoon was steady in her three quarters of play. She finished with a game-high 12 points before sitting the final period.

Senior Leighton Taylor finished with 11 points while junior Haley Sobczak scored nine.

Cabot will face Conway at 7 p.m. tonight in the semifinal round of the tournament. The Lady Wampus Cats annihilated Forrest City 66-17 in the opening game on Monday.

In the bottom half of the bracket, North Little Rock beat eStem Charter. The Charging Lady Wildcats will face Star City today. Star City beat Chapel in first-round action.