Leader Blues

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

SPORTS>>Cabot ladies win, boys lose at home to LR Central

By JASON KING
Leader sports writer

The Cabot Lady Panthers came one step closer to the post season with a 74-51 win over Little Rock Central on Friday at the Panther gymnasium, but the boys came one step closer to missing the playoffs with a 54-42 loss to the Tigers. The Panthers were short one of their best outside shooters in sophomore Austin Johnson, and one of their better ball handlers in Jacob Trammell. Sixth man Justin Haas took up most of the slack left by Trammell on the ball handling and defensive sides, but standout Cabot sophomore Adam Sterrenberg seemed overwhelmed against the Tigers without Johnson to feed off of.

Outside shooting would make the difference in the contest for LRC, with over half of their first half points coming as the result of three-point shots. The Tigers came away with seven three pointers in the first half alone, making up 21 of their total 31 points at the intermission. Anthony Harvey came away with the first three of the long distance scores in the first quarter, but teammate Arvin King came off the bench for the start of the second quarter to take up the slack for Harvey’s absence on the court and then some.

King went four for four behind the arc in the second frame, lifting Central from a 13-13 tie at the end of the first quarter to a 31-25 lead by halftime. Panthers senior post Alex Sharp was Cabot’s saving grace in the first minutes of the game. Sharp stayed focused despite being the object of heckling from the small but vocal Tiger student section, even taking time to blow them a kiss after dunking while the LRC crowd chanted ‘Borat’, a reference directed at Sharp’s hairstyle.

Sharp had seven points in the opening quarter alone, but the Tigers tightened up the inside pressure for the start of the second quarter, and held Sharp to only four points. Adam Sterrenberg struggled from the floor, only managing one shot in the quarter. Sophomore Jack Bridges got the Panthers’ biggest shot of the period at the 3:24 mark with a three pointer that cut the Tigers’ lead down to six points, which would end up as the margin at the half.

The third quarter would be the toughest for the Panthers to endure, going scoreless until 2:14 left in the period when Sharp finally got Cabot back on the board with an inside jumper. By that time, however, Central had built up a 39-29 lead, and limited Cabot scoring for the remainder of the contest would only allow the Tigers to pull away further. Adam Sterrenberg led the Panthers with 18 points. Sharp added 13 for Cabot. For Central, Harvey led with 21 points and King finished with 12 points. The Panthers are now 9-15 overall and 2-9 in the 7A-Central Conference.

Outside shooting was also a major theme of the girls game earlier in the evening, but the melody belonged to the Lady Panthers in this one. Nine of the first 11 points for Cabot came from three pointers, and five different Cabot players would end up with points behind the arc before game’s end. The first quarter of the game was the senior show for Cabot. Maddie Helms started the game off with a three pointer, followed by another three from Jamie Sterrenberg.

Third senior Kayla Kackley got a rare start in the game, and got the most out of her time by forcing two jump balls during Central possessions, taking one that was ruled a Cabot ball the distance for a score at the 5:48 mark to put the Lady Panthers ahead 8-0. The underclassmen took over during the second frame, with three-point shots coming from juniors Leah Watts and Lauren Walker. Shelby Ashcraft also came away with five points in the period from the low block, helping Cabot to a commanding 40-16 lead at halftime.

Instead of putting the Lady Tigers away, Cabot played with countless substitutions for the second half, with three different squads taking to the court at one time or another in the final 24 minutes. The lead never went down under 16 points, but the pace of the game almost came to a screeching halt in the fourth quarter. The starters made a brief appearance in the fourth quarter at the 4:41 mark after LRC cut the lead to 59-43, but a quick basket from Walker, followed by three free throws for Ashcraft and another Walker shot put the advantage at 68-49 with 3:18 remaining.

Walker went on to lead all scorers in the game with 19 points. Jamie Sterrenberg had 12 points, while Ashcraft finished with 11 points. All of Watts’ nine points in the game derived from three-point shots. For LRC, Adreanne Walker led with 15 points, and Breanne Barnes finished with 14. The win gives the Lady Panthers an 18-5 overall record and 8-3 in conference. The Cabot teams played at Bryant last night, and will host Pine Bluff on Friday.