Tuesday, January 24, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers knocked off perch at Bryant

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers suffered their first defeat in conference play on Friday, losing a fourth quarter lead and a 50-40 decision at Bryant. The Panthers led almost the whole game, but suffered a four-minute scoring drought in the final frame as the Hornets mounted their comeback.

Cabot point guard Bobby Joe Duncan made a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter, and it gave the Panthers a 33-26 lead. It was the last point Cabot would score until only three minutes remained in the game.

Bryant got four second-chance points – a layup and two free throws – and another set of free throws after a charge call on Jarrod Barnes. That had the home team within 33-32 with 5:17 to go.

Cabot then turned the ball over, and Romen Martin hit a 3-pointer to give the Hornets their first lead of the game at 35-33. Cabot post player Matt Stanley didn’t get a call on the ensuing possession when his shot drew apparent contact. Stanley then missed a 3-pointer and Bryant got the rebound.

On the Hornets next possession, another offensive rebound led to another second-chance bucket and a 39-33 Bryant lead that forced Cabot coach Jerry Bridges to call timeout with 3:47 remaining.

Stanley scored out of the break, but the Panthers were never within four points the rest of the game. Trailing by six with 1:10 to play, Cabot drew a charging call on Martin, but another official overruled that call. To the vehement protest of Bridges, the call was reversed to a blocking foul, and Martin went to the line for two free throws and an 8-point Hornet lead.

Bryant then spread the floor and forced Cabot to foul, and made their free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.

Cabot had led 30-22 with 3:30 left in the third quarter. From that point until Stanley’s bucket with three minutes left in the fourth, Bryant outscored Cabot 17-3.

The Hornets (14-3, 3-1) were 22 of 28 from the free-throw line, including 11 of 13 in the fourth quarter. Cabot (13-2, 3-1) attempted only seven free throws, and made only three.

Cabot’s loss, coupled with North Little Rock’s defeat of Fort Smith Northside, creates a four-way tie among those four teams atop the 7A-Central standings. Bryant’s loss was a 72-70 overtime home loss to Little Rock Central, which is 2-2 in league play.

Senior guard Jarrod Barnes was the only Panther to score in double figures, finishing with 11 points. Martin led Bryant with 17 points while Lowell Washington scored 12.

While the Cabot boys were losing for the first time, the Lady Panthers picked up their first 7A-Central victory, hammering the Lady Hornets 57-32.

The Lady Panthers blasted out to a big early lead and never looked back. Cabot led 17-2 by the end of the first quarter. Though that margin was only 24-8 at halftime, the home team never seriously threatened the rest of the way.

Cabot made it 36-15 by the end of third quarter before pouring in 21 points in the fourth.

Senior Jose VanOss led Cabot (12-5, 1-3) with 14 points while Holly Allen added 10. Bryant (1-13, 0-4) was led by Kelly Williams’ 10 points.

Cabot hosted Fort Smith Northside on Tuesday, and will play at North Little Rock on Friday. Look for details of Tuesday’s matchups in Saturday’s Leader.