SPORTS >> Cabot girls take Goblin title
Leader sports writer
The Cabot Lady Panthers made their third consecutive trip to the finals of an invitational tournament this season when they faced Harrison in the championship game of the Lendel Thomas Classic last Friday. Only this time, they won.
The Lady Panthers watched their opponents rally late in the game in their two previous final appearances. Morril-ton came back to overtake them in the RAPA finals, while CAC got the go-ahead basket in the final minute of the Ortho tourney to beat Cabot.
No such rally would occur in this game, as the Lady Panthers won decisively over the Lady Goblins 74-61. The win gives Cabot its first tournament championship in three finals appearances this season.
The Lady Panthers led 35-26 at the half, and didn’t look back for the remainder of the game. Kim Sitzmann led all scorers in the game with 31 points, the second-highest scoring game of the year for the future UALR Lady Trojan. Lauren Daniels had 15 for Cabot, while Maddie Helms and Leah Watts each had eight for the Lady Panthers.
Cabot’s strongest challenge in the tourney was a rematch with cross-county rival Lonoke. The Lady Jackrabbits beat Cabot in their first meeting in mid-December, a game that took two overtimes to decide.
The two teams went past regulation once again in the Lendel semis, but it was Cabot who came out on top this time, narrowly defeating the Lady ‘Rabbits 54-53 and ending Lonoke’s unbeaten streak at 12 games.
Jamie Sterrenberg got the Lady Panthers rolling early, scoring 13 of her total 17 points in the half. Cabot looked to have control of the game after one half, leading Lonoke 35-23.
The Lady ‘Rabbits responded in the second half, outscoring the Lady Panthers by 12 to tie the game at 48-48 at the end of regulation, sending the game into overtime for the second straight time in a meeting between the two.
Kim Sitzmann hit 3 of 4 free throws in the overtime period to secure another trip to the finals for Cabot.
Maddie Helms was the second-highest scorer for the Lady Panthers in the game with 14 points, while Sitzmann was close behind with 12 points.
Leah Watts added six points for Cabot, while sophomore starter Rachel Glover had three points and JV standout Lauren Walker had two points in the game. Jenny Evans led the Lady Jackrabbits with 22 points, while Calisha Kirk added 14 points for Lonoke.
The three wins to claim the tournament championship im-proved the Lady Panthers’ overall season record to 11-3, as they prepare for the start of the AAAAA-East conference season this week. Cabot will start their conference season on the road at West Memphis Friday night, with the junior varsity girls starting at 4:45 p.m.