Friday, January 20, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Central ahead early, beat Lady Panthers

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers dropped a 7A-Central Conference game to No. 3 ranked Little Rock Central on Tuesday at Panther Arena. The Lady Tigers jumped out to a big lead early and the Lady Panthers showed grit in keeping it a competitive game throughout, but could never climb all the way back in a 58-42 loss.

Except for a brief series in the third quarter, Cabot took much better care of the basketball than in recent losses, but the much bigger Lady Tigers dominated the glass and got many second-chance points.

Central’s biggest lead in the first half came with 4:10 to play in the second quarter at 25-11. By the 5:46 mark of the third, Cabot cut that margin to 29-21 on a backdoor pass from Holly Allen to Brooklyn Stracener. Haley Sobczak then got a steal under the basket to give the Lady Panthers possession and a chance to get even closer, but Central’s Mississippi State signee Bre’Amber Scott stole it back and was fouled. She made 1 of 2 free throws and Cabot never got closer than nine the rest of the way.

On Cabot’s next possession, Central’s 6-foot-3 Abigayle Jackson blocked two shots. Cabot got the rebound each time, but Scott got another steal before a third shot could go up.

She was fouled again and made both free throws for a 32-21 lead with 4:30 left in the third. After two more fruitless possessions by Cabot, Jackson followed one with a free throw and the second with a 3-pointer that made it 36-21 at the 3:00 mark.

Central’s lead grew to its largest with 1:50 to play in the third at 42-25.

Jackson fouled out of the game with 2:20 to play in the fourth, just two blocked shots away from a triple double. She finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks, all game highs. Scott, a 6-foot guard, had 18 points and six steals while 6-1 forward Eryn Barnum finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.

Central (14-1, 3-0) outrebounded Cabot 40-24.

Senior Josie VanOss led the Lady Panthers with 14 points while Stracener added 11. Camryn Harmon, a 5-4 guard, led Cabot in rebounding with six.

The Lady Panthers (11-5, 0-3) played at Bryant last night after Leader deadlines. They will face Fort Smith Northside at home on Tuesday.