Leader Blues

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

SPORTS >> Cabot gets huge East road win

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The 10th-ranked Cabot Panthers pulled off the upset of the week of conference openers around the AAAAA classification. The Panthers repeated last years feat of knocking off the defending state champion West Memphis Blue Devils 42-40, only this time, they did it on the road.
The game was close throughout as No. 3 West Memphis took a 34-28 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, and managed just six points the rest of the way.

Cabot junior Justin Haas hit a three pointer with 30 seconds left to give his team a 42-40 advantage, and the Panthers held onto that advantage until the final buzzer.

Cabot coach Jerry Bridges was happy with the win, but by Monday was only worried about the upcoming games.

Im tickled to death to get the win, Bridges said. We start with four of our first five on the road, so if were not careful, we could be out of it before it really gets started. Theres no doubt it was a big win, but dad-gum you cant enjoy anything too long in this conference. Im tickled to be where were at, but you cant enjoy it too long when it happens. We have to forget about it and move on to this week. If were still lingering on beating West Memphis, were going to lose. I guarantee you that.

While Bridges quickly moved focus to upcoming games, he was still able to look back at how his team performed, and was happy.
The kids played hard, Bridges said. Im not kidding you they play hard all the time. They give me everything theyve got.

The scoring was very balanced for Cabot. No Panther scored in double figures. Michael Tyson led the way with nine points, his best game since a severe ankle injury several weeks ago.

Were very glad to have him back and hes helping us, Bridges said. Hes about 90 percent right now, and he stepped up and hit some big shots for us all game long.

Michael Lowry and Chad Glover each scored eight points. Point guard Matt Shinn added seven and Haas scored six for the Panthers, who are now 11-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play. West Memphis dropped to 6-6, and 1-1.

The girls also had a tough time, and managed to pull out a big road win by squeezing by the Lady Blue Devils 49-48 in an exciting league opener.

Senior Kim Sitzmann led the way with 15 points while junior guard Leah Watts added 12.

The win lifts the third-ranked Lady Panthers to 11-3 and 1-0. West Memphis fell to 8-5 and 0-2 inside the AAAAA-East conference.