Friday, November 20, 2015

SPORTS STROY >> Cabot falls off in fourth to Conway

Leader sports editor

Cabot and Conway went toe-to-toe for three quarters, but the fourth belonged to the Lady Wampus Cats. The Cabot girls’ basketball team didn’t make a shot from the floor for more than six minutes in the fourth quarter as Conway went on to a 57-48 victory in the semifinals of the Heavenly Hoops Classic at Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock.

Cabot led by five at halftime and scored first in the third quarter, but foul trouble began to play a role in the game, in more ways than one.

Cabot center Chloe Bean picked up her fourth foul just three minutes into the second half, and the Lady Panthers made just 3 of 11 free-throw attempts in the final two quarters after hitting 8 of 10 in the first half.

“We have to work on that because it hasn’t been very good in either game so far,” said Cabot coach Carla Crowder, about her team’s shooting from the free-throw line. “Our defense also could’ve been better as far as execution. But we played hard. So that was good. We’ll get better if we keep playing hard.”

The first three quarters consisted of the two teams trading small runs. Conway jumped out to a 5-1 lead, forcing a Cabot timeout with 5:33 on the clock. Cabot’s first lead came at the four-minute mark when an Anna Sullivan putback made it 6-5. Cabot stretched that lead to 13-9, but a 3-pointer by Alexis Tolefree with 40 seconds left in the first quarter gave Conway a 14-13 lead going into the second period.

Cabot still trailed 18-17 when it scored six points in less than 35 seconds. It started with a pair of free throws by Madi Nichols, followed by back-to-back steals and layups by Rachel Allgood and Leighton Taylor. That gave Cabot a 23-18 lead and forced a Conway timeout with 4:47 left in the first half.

Another Allgood steal right out of the break led to a layup by Bean and a seven-point Cabot lead. The Lady Panthers went into halftime up 29-24. CoCo Calhoon scored just 30 seconds into the third quarter to make it 31-14, but Conway responded with a 10-3 run, started by another 3-pointer by Tolefree. The 5-10 shooting guard made just one of nine attempts from outside of the arc in the first half, but was hot in the second, hitting four of six.

Conway junior Savannah Lowe scored four-straight points to tie the game at 34-34 with 2:28 left in the third, but the Lady Panthers got the last four points of the quarter to take an advantage into the final frame.

That’s when the rim became unkind to Cabot. Tolefree hit her fourth 3-pointer of the game with 6:50 left to give Conway the lead for good at 39-38. After a Cabot turnover, Tolefree hit her fifth and final 3-pointer from about 25 feet out to put her team up by four with 6:39 remaining.

Conway capped the 10-0 run with two free throws by senior Haley Estes that forced another Cabot timeout with 5:18 left to play.

Shortly thereafter, Calhoon picked up her fifth foul and became the second Lady Panther starter to foul out of the game.

Sullivan led Cabot with 11 points while Calhoon added 10. Allgood scored nine points and had five steals and five assists.

Tolefree led all scorers with 20. Estes scored 13. Banks had 12 points and nine rebounds while Lowe scored 10 for the Lady Wampus Cats.

Conway hit 17 of 22 free throws, including 13 of 17 in the fourth quarter. Conway went 8 of 22 from 3-point range while Cabot was just 3 of 15. Cabot outrebounded Conway 25-19 and neither team took good care of the ball. Cabot finished with 19 turnovers while forcing 25 by Conway.

The Lady Panthers will play Star City in the third-place game at 1 p.m. Saturday. Conway will face North Little Rock in the championship game at 2:30 p.m.