Wednesday, February 24, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Panther basketball sweeps Mt. Home

Leader sports editor

The Cabot basketball teams made the long road trip to Baxter County on Friday and came back with a pair of 7A/6A-East Conference victories.

The Cabot boys had no trouble with the 6-19 Bombers, hammering their hosts 68-32. But more importantly for the Panthers, West Memphis knocked off Little Rock Central, 55-46 on Friday, giving Cabot a No. 1 seed in the state tournament it hosts beginning next Tuesday. Central’s win over Cabot last week in Little Rock gave the two teams the same number of losses against 7A-East teams, and the tiebreaker over Cabot. But West Memphis’ win puts Cabot ahead of Central and its 7A portion of the schedule is complete.

Central still travels to rival North Little Rock on Friday, but the Panthers have the top seed and a first-round bye locked up.

In Friday’s game, both teams played well offensively in the first quarter before Cabot turned up the defensive intensity in the second. The Panthers took a 20-16 lead into the second quarter, and then held the Bombers to three points the rest of the half. Mountain Home got those three points early with a long-range bucket to start the quarter, and did not score again while the Panthers closed the half on a 14-0 run.

Bobby Joe Duncan scored the last five in a row to send the Panthers into halftime leading 34-19.

The Panthers’ second half production was exactly the same as the first. They scored 20 in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth while holding Mountain Home to nine and four points, respectively. Cabot invoked the mercy rule midway through the fourth quarter when a Parker Childress basket made the score 60-30.

Duncan and junior classmate Matt Stanley led Cabot with 17 points apiece.

While the boys’ game started with a lot of scoring from both teams, the girls’ game did the opposite. Cabot led just 4-2 at the end of the first quarter before going on to a 42-29 victory. Cabot didn’t score a basket until its final shot of the period. Senior point guard Leighton Taylor hit a 3-pointer to close the quarter that put the Lady Panthers in the lead.

Cabot (16-11, 7-5) then got solid offensive production from a newcomer to the starting lineup, Holly Allen. She scored five-straight before another Taylor basket put Cabot up 11-2.

The Lady Panthers ran their lead to 20-9 by halftime and held off Mountain Home (15-11, 6-6) in the second half, outscoring their host 22-20 the rest of the way.

Taylor led Cabot with 15 points while Allen added 12. Taylor also had five steals. Rachel Allgood had four points, five assists and six rebounds for the Lady Panthers.

Cabot hosted Jonesboro last night and will close the regular season at home against Searcy on Friday before preparing for the state tournament.