SPORTS >>Panthers, Ladies sweep Badgers
By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor
The Cabot Panthers got a basketball sweep of Beebe Friday night in Cabot.
The Lady Panthers took a 68-51 victory, while the boys won 67-44.
The boys game wasnít as lop-sided as the final score would indicate. The Panthers raced out to a 12-0 lead, and simply maintained that advantage until late in the fourth quarter when the Cabot subs out-played the Beebe subs to extend the final margin.
The Cabot boys took the 12-0 lead just three minutes into the game, prompting Beebe coach Chris Ellis to call his second timeout. He would call three of his five timeouts before the opening quarter was over.
The Cabot defensive pressure forced turnover after turnover by the Badgers. Point guard Jacob Trammell got two steals, as did guard Justin Haas. Forward Adam Sterrenberg got a pair of transition buckets out of the opening salvo. In the halfcourt game, the Panthers were equally dominant in the early going. Post players Alex Sharp and Sam Bates either hit an open look or got to the line, leading to the big Cabot lead.
The Badgers committed 12 fouls in the first quarter alone, but managed to stop the bleeding after the second timeout and trailed 20-7 after the first period.
Beebe came to life in the second quarter, actually cutting Cabotís lead to as little as five and had three possessions to cut into it further. All three possessions, however, turned into turnovers. Beebeís defense did a good job of getting stops and creating opportunities, but it was also the first to flinch during the gameís brief defensive struggle.
Austin Johnson came off the bench for Cabot and hit a three pointer, and Cabot forced another steal and quick conversion to rapidly make it a 10-point game again.
The Badgers would not get closer than eight the rest of the way.
There was one other opportunity for Beebe to make a close game of it. Trailing by eight early in the third quarter, the Badgers got two open looks at three pointers, but missed both. The Panthers then put together another five-point rally to extend the lead to 13. The margin stayed around a dozen the rest of the way.
Only four Badgers scored in the game, with sophomore Zach Kersey and junior Charlie Spakes leading the way with 19 points and 17 points respectively.
Four Panthers were in double figures. Sharp led the team with 16. Bates and Johnson scored 11 points each while Sterrenberg added 10.
The win lifted Cabot to 6-4 and dropped Beebe to 1-5 on the season.
The girls game was close most of the game, but the Lady Panthers gradually pulled away throughout the contest. The Beebe ladies made a few rallies, but Cabot maintained control of the gameís tempo throughout.
The Lady Panthers ran out to a 5-0 lead after three free throws by sophomore Shelby Ashcraft and bucket by senior Jamie Sterrenberg.
Beebe got on the board at the 5:37 mark when Emily Bass hit a shot in the lane.
Sterrenberg got another bucket to make it 7-2, but the Lady Badgers went on a 6-0 run to take their first and only lead of the game at the 3:09 mark of the opening frame.
Two free throws by Ty OíNeil, a bucket by Ashley Watkins and another by OíNeil gave Beebe the brief advantage.
Four straight point by Sterrenberg put Cabot back in front, and it would not trail again.
The Lady Panthers finished the first quarter up 13-10, and quickly made it 16-10 when Leah Watts hit a three pointer to open the scoring in the second quarter.
Beebe then put together another 6-0 run to tie the game, but never took the lead.
Cabotís Lauren Walker and Beebeís Bass traded buckets to make it 18-18, but Walker scored four more consecutively to kick-off a Lady Panther rally that put them in front for good.
After Walkersí six straight, point guard Maddie Helms hit a three and Sterrenberg a two to put Cabot up 27-18 and force Beebe to take a timeout.
The lead grew to as much as 34-20, but Beebe finished the half with a 5-0 flurry to get its deficit under 10 at 34-25 by halftime.
Beebe was the hotter of the two teams to start the second half and again made it a close game.
After trading buckets to make it 36-27, Neishia Upchurch and OíNeil got back-to-back baskets to cut Cabotís lead to 36-31. Sterrenberg then scored to make it 38-31 with 4:39 left in the third, and Beebe never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
The Lady Badgers got it to six three times, the latest at 44-38 with 1:27 left in the third, but the Lady Panthers finished the quarter with a big rally that all but killed Beebeís hopes of a major upset.
After OíNeilís bucket at 1:27, the Lady Panthers scored seven unanswered points in the final 60 seconds to take a 13-point lead into the final frame.
It started with two free throws by Sterrenberg at the one-minute mark. Fifteen seconds later, Walker scored a transition basket off a turnover, Helms then hit two foul shots with 23 seconds left and Sterrenberg capped the rally with a three pointer 10 seconds after that to make it 51-38.
Beebe trimmed the margin to nine by scoring the first four points of the fourth, but Cabot pulled away from there.
Sterrenberg and Ashcraft each finished with 19 points. Ashcraft added eight blocks. Lauren Walker scored 10 for the Lady Panthers. Beebe was led by OíNeilís 16 points.