SPORTS >> Cabot towers over NP
Leader sports writer
A solid team performance in the second half propelled the Cabot Panthers to a 45-28 win over North Pulaski in the opening round of the Ortho Arkansas Invitational basketball tournament at CAC on Monday night.
The Falcons kept it close through the first half, trailing by three points at the intermission.
Cabot took advantage of NP turnovers early in the third period to extend their lead into double digits. North Pulaski was not able to overcome that deficit for the remainder of the game, and the Panthers took the first-round win.
Cabot head coach Jerry Bridges was proud of the all around performance from his team.
“I thought in the first half, we got a little impatient,” Bridges said. “We are a better team when everybody touches the ball and gets involved. In the second half, we did a good job of that. We just got to doing what we do best.”
Alex Sharpe led Cabot with 12 points and six rebounds. Rodric Rainey led North Pulaski in scoring with seven points, while NP post player Mike Anorue led all rebounders with seven on the night.
Cabot got out to the early lead with some quick scoring from Michael Tyson. Tyson hit a pair of free throws and moments later took it in the paint for two more to put the Panthers ahead 8-2. Tyson injured his ankle on the jumper, and was forced to leave the game mid-way through the first period.
The Falcons rallied back in the final moments of the opening quarter, cutting Cabot’s lead to 13-8.
The second period was a defensive struggle, as a three pointer from Quinn Cooper for NP was the only points scored for either team in the first five-and-a- half minutes of the quarter.
A pair of free throws by Tony Glass tied things up at 13 all, but Cabot would finally get on the board in the second period with two straight jumpers from Sharpe.
The Panthers were poised to take a six-point lead into the locker room, but a three-pointer at the buzzer from Rainey cut the lead to 19-16 Cabot at the half.
Cabot extended its lead in the third period, taking advantage of North Pulaski turnovers.
The Panthers held NP to only four points in the quarter, and allowed even fewer rebounds.
By the end of the third, Cabot had increased its advantage to 13, leading the Falcons 33-20 going into the final quarter.
The Panthers added to their lead in the fourth period, as Sharpe capped off the game with a dunk in the final minute for a final score of 45-28.
Cabot moves on to round two of the winners bracket today when they face Hot Springs at 8:30. North Pulaski will face Sylvan Hills in the losers bracket game today at 5:30.
“I think they are similar to what we just played tonight,” Bridges said of Hot Springs, “They have three good guards who can shoot. It’s going to be a battle.”