SPORTS >> Cabot tops Jackrabbits to remain undefeated
Leader sports writer
Cabot managed to keep its unbeaten streak alive Friday night at the Panther gymnasium by beating Lonoke 43-40. But they didn’t do it without a serious fight from the Jackrabbits.
Lonoke controlled the second half of the game up until the very end, when post Chad Glover put the Panthers back in the game with some last-minute heroics that have become the senior’s calling card this year.
“You have to tip your hat to Lonoke,” Cabot boys coach Jerry Bridges said. “They really out-scrapped us. We finally started taking advantage of Chad inside, and it started paying off for us. We did a poor job of rebounding in the first half, but in the second half, we picked it up. Our defense is really what gave us a chance to win this game.”
The game was closely contested right from the start, as the lead changed hands five times in the opening quarter alone. By the end of the first, Lonoke held a narrow 9-7 lead.
Glover tied the game to start the second quarter, but Lonoke began to speed up the game’s pace. The Panthers’ man-to-man pressure began to lose its potency, as the Jackrabbits kept the ball and the Cabot D on the constant move. Stanley Staggers helped Lonoke stay out front with six straight points in the final three minutes of the second period. Lonoke looked like it would carry the lead into the half, but four straight points from Cabot sub Jacob Trammell gave the Panthers a 21-20 lead at halftime.
The opening 3:18 of the third quarter was all defense, as a free throw from Staggers at the 4:42 mark was the first score from either team in the second half. The scoring pace picked up quickly from there, as the Jackrabbits continued to out-hustle the Panthers. Lonoke went on a seven-point run to take a 27-21 advantage by the 3:17 mark.
Cabot refused to let the game slip away, however, as they put themselves back in contention with a three pointer from guard Justin Haas and an inside basket from Glover. At the end of three, Lonoke held a 31-27 lead.
Until the fourth quarter began, Glover had just nine points on the night. By game’s end, he would have 23 total points, including seven of eight from the free-throw line in the final period. A free throw from Matt Shinn was the only non-Glover point for Cabot in the final eight minutes of the game.
The Jackrabbits answered Glover’s sudden inside domination with good all-around shooting, as Kylon Boyd, Eligha Gooden and Walter Ellis all put points up from outside the low block to keep Lonoke out in the lead.
Glover finally got the Panthers back out in front at the 3:09 mark with a pair of free throws to put them ahead 39-38.
Two free throws from Boyd a minute later gave the lead back to Lonoke. After another inside jumper from Glover gave Cabot the lead back at 41-40, the final 1:38 of the game became a back-and-forth battle of turnovers and timeouts.
Two timeouts from Lonoke whittled the clock down to 6.6 seconds, with the Jackrabbits in position to win the game with a last-second shot.
That shot would never be taken, as Glover covered Staggers on the ensuing in-bounds attempt. Staggers could not get the ball past the Cabot senior’s 6’9” frame, and Lonoke was called with the five second violation to give the ball back to the Panthers.
Another pair of free throws from Glover in the final five seconds to put the game away for Cabot, as the Panthers narrowly escaped their first loss of the season.
Eligha Gooden led Lonoke with 14 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Lonoke and Cabot both have this week off for Christmas break, but will return to action Dec. 28 in the opening round of the Harrison tournament.