Tuesday, November 21, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot ladies can’t coax shots to fall

Leader sports editor

Even with way too many turnovers, too many missed free throws and an incredibly lopsided foul and free throw count, the main culprit in Cabot’s 54-39 loss to Star City on Saturday was simply shooting percentage.

The Lady Panthers played good defense and created lots of scoring opportunities, but couldn’t seem to finish, at least not until the fourth quarter after the game had all but been decided. The end result was a fourth-place finish in the Heavenly Hoops Classic at Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock.

“We just have to make those shots,” said Cabot assistant coach Jeremy Halbrook. “You saw there in the fourth quarter, when we finally started scoring consistently, how different the game looked. We just couldn’t make anything.”

The Lady Panthers struggled mightily to score the basketball through most of three quarters. By the time they did begin to find their range, they trailed by 24 points late in the third period.

Cabot scored 27 of its 39 points from the 1:10 point of the third quarter to the end of the game. The Lady Panthers trailed 26-10 at halftime. After getting a defensive stop to startthe second half, Cabot executed its offense perfectly, and it resulted in a layup by Emily Belin off a backdoor pass by Hannah Chandler. But it wasn’t a sign of things to come.

That bucket came 25 seconds into the third quarter and made the score 26-12. Cabot’s next bucket came with 1:10 left in the third quarter, and made the score 37-14.

The game was back-and-forth the rest of the way. Though Cabot managed just 12 points up to that point, it scored 27 from that point forward, but a huge discrepancy in foul totals allowed Star City to maintain its lead predominantly from the free-throw line.

After a first half in which 16 fouls were called on Cabot and 13 on Star City, Cabot seemed to be the only team called for fouls in the third period. The third-quarter foul total was 12 on Cabot and three on Star City. The Lady Bulldogs were in the bonus three minutes into the second half, and in the double bonus with three minutes still to go in the third period.

“It’s really hard to get any sort of offensive rhythm going when there are so many whistles,” Halbrook said. “But I don’t want to say that was the cause of things. We’re still right there in this if we just make a few shots.”

The Cabot ladies made just 4 of their first 26 shot attempts until junior guard Dejah Jimerson scored with 1:10 left in the third. They made 10 of the last 17 attempts in the game.

Cabot (1-2) ended up making one more shot from the floor than did Star City, but free throws made the difference. Cabot shot 16 foul shots, and made just half of them. Star City hit 26 of 40 from the line.

Turnovers were a problem for both teams, but it was the third time in four games that Cabot has committed too many turnovers. Both teams finished Saturday’s game with 28.

Rebounds were also a deficiency for Cabot for the second-straight game. But unlike eStem Charter, who beat Cabot on Thursday, Star City did not enjoy a huge size advantage. Still, the Lady Bulldogs outrebounded Cabot 37-26.

Junior guard Izzy Arnold came off the bench to lead Cabot in scoring with 11 points. She scored 10 of those in the fourth quarter.

Hannah Ogilvie, who also came off the bench, added 10 points while Chloe Thompson came off the bench to contribute seven points and a team-high six rebounds. Belin had three points and six boards for Cabot.

Point guard Janiya Johnson led Star City (4-2) with 15 points. Center Anna Wynn added 11 points and a game high seven rebounds. Wynn went 0 for 3 from the floor, but made 8 of 8 free-throw attempts.

The Lady Panthers play twice more before the Thanksgiving break. They will be at Searcy on Monday, and then will host Mills University Studies on Tuesday. That game will be a twin feature. The Cabot boys also play at home Tuesday night against J.A. Fair.