SPORTS >>Cabot splits pair with LR Catholic
By JASON KING
Leader sports writer
The Cabot Panthers suffered their second conference loss of the season to Catholic on Tuesday at the Panther gymnasium in a hard fought 41-40 decision. The Lady Panthers took their second league win earlier in the night with a 66-49 victory over the Mt. Saint Mary’s Belles.
The boys game was evenly matched from the start. The lead swapped hands eight times in the first quarter alone, with each team taking turns holding a one-point advantage until the other team took it away.
For all their early battles, the two teams came away tied 12-12 at the end of the opening frame, and the score would remain the same until the 4:52 mark of the second quarter when Catholic guard La’Norris Dukes took it in for two.
Sophomore Austin Johnson answered for Cabot moments later with a three pointer to put the Panthers up 15-14. Catholic then had two unanswered baskets to go ahead 18-15, but Adam Sterrenberg cut it to one with 1:33 left in the first half.
The biggest advantage the Panthers held in the third quarter was a 25-22 lead at the 2:43 mark off a basket by Sterrenberg. Catholic rallied with a 7-2 run in the final minute to go from trailing to a two-point lead heading into the fourth.
Cabot recaptured the lead in the final two minutes off a three from Jacob Trammell, and tried to stall out the last minute. That strategy backfired for the Panthers when the ball traveled off Sterrenberg’s foot, giving possession back to the Rockets.
Dukes hit the winning basket with 11 seconds remaining, setting the final margin. Cabot had one last look as time expired, but Trammel’s three-point attempt was just off, bouncing off the back of the rim to give Catholic the win.
Sterrenberg led the Panthers with 11 points, nine of which came in the second half. Alex Sharp added 10 points, including a dunk to start the third quarter. Trammell had nine points, all of which came from three-point shots. Johnson added eight points for Cabot. For Catholic, Jake Bequette led all scorers with 13 points. The loss moves the Panthers’ record to 8-8 overall and 1-2 in the 7A-Central Conference.
The Lady Panthers never blew out the Belles, but never really had to sweat a potential comeback in the game. After falling behind 11-4 early, MSM mounted its strongest rally in the final minute of the first quarter, scoring three unanswered baskets to cut Cabot’s lead to 13-10 with 24 seconds remaining in the frame.
Senior guard Maddie Helms stretched the Lady Panthers’ lead back out to six before the first quarter buzzer with her second three-pointer of the night. Helms went on to hit five of six attempts from behind the arc, her best average of the season.
Although MSM controlled much of the play inside during the game, they simply could not match Cabot’s accuracy from the outside. The majority of the Belles’ scoring in the game was courtesy of driving shots from post players Lauren Stough and Lauren Ramsey. Forward Meagan Vekman provided the only outside threat for MSM, leading the team in scoring along with Ramsey.
The other Cabot senior developed a hot hand in the early stages of the second quarter. Jamie Sterrenberg scored eight points in the first two minutes of the frame to extend the Lady Panthers’ lead to 24-15. After another three from Helms, Lauren Walker hit a free throw and a basket to put the advantage at 30-17 by the 3:28 mark.
The last four minutes of the first half saw a number of Lady Panthers hit shots. Leah Watts hit a pair of free throws at the 1:15 mark, followed by baskets from Shelby Ashcraft and Walker. Rachel Glover came away with the final Cabot points of the opening half with a Helms-assisted basket in the final 30 seconds.
The Cabot lead was 38-23 at the half, and the margin would never go below 11 points in the second half.
“We were overmatched size wise,” Lady Panthers assistant coach Charles Ruple said. “Maddie had five three-pointers that helped us out scoring wise, and Jamie and Leah helped to open it up a lot also. I thought Rachel Glover gave us a great spark; she had a lot of great passes that created opportunities. It’s going to be like a state tournament game every night in this conference, and we were lucky enough to survive this one.”
Helms led all scorers in the game with 19 points. Sterrenberg finished with 17 points, and Ashcraft had 15 points. For MSM, Ramsey and Vekman led with 12 points each. The win gives the Lady Panthers a 12-3 overall record and a 2-1 record in the 7A-Central Conference.