Leader Blues

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

SPORTS>>Lady Panthers defeat Belles

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot teams played in different gyms on Friday for the first time since the start of the 7A-Central Conference season, but had results that reflect how most of the conference season has gone for each team. The Panthers let Little Rock Catholic win the second conference meeting between the two teams with a 60-50 decision, but the Lady Panthers shut down Mt. Saint Mary’s in the final half of the third quarter, taking a 62-51 win over the Belles, and putting themselves up to second place in the 7A-Central standings behind un-beaten North Little Rock.

The Lady Panthers needed strong performances from two of their shooters to take the win over MSM on Friday. Senior guard Maddie Helms and junior forward Lauren Walker scored 16 points each in the game. Walker’s points all came from the floor, while Helms scored seven of her points from the line. Cabot led 26-25 at half time, but had to withstand a strong rally from the Belles in the opening minutes of the second half. St. Saint Mary went up by four mid way through the period, but could not keep the momentum long enough to pad that lead. The final four minutes of the third belonged to the Lady Panthers, as 12 unanswered points from Cabot gave the lead back to them.

The Lady Panthers built the lead back up to 43-35 by the end of the third quarter, and was able to maintain the advantage for the final eight minutes. Along with 16 points from both Helms and Walker, Leah Watts added 11 points for the Lady Panthers. For MSM, Vicki Flynn led with 13 points and Meagan Uekman finished with 12 points. The win improves the Lady Panthers’ record to 17-4 overall and 7-2 in 7A-Conference play.

The Panthers have been fighting for the sixth and final playoff spot since the middle of the conference schedule, and Friday’s game was of little help. The Rockets only led by three at the half, but slowly pulled away in the final half to complete the conference sweep. Catholic took a 20-point lead at one stage of the fourth quarter, but the Panthers were able to cut it in half by the final buzzer. “We had about a three minute span in the third quarter where we didn’t make our free throws,” Cabot coach Jerry Bridges said. “They were hitting their shots on the other end, and we only got one of six at the line, and that’s just like three turnovers, really. We played well, and did a lot of things that we set out to do, but with this conference as tight as it is, you have to do those small things like free throws, or it will end up costing you, and it costs us. You take those three minutes away, and it could have been a two-point game, but that’s what I thought gave them the advantage.”
Alex Sharp led in scoring with 10 points. Shawn Trammell added seven points, and Sam Bates finished with six points. For Catholic, Jake Bequette led the way with 12 points. The loss gives the Panthers a 9-13 overall record and a conference record of 2-7.

The Cabot teams played at North Little Rock last night after Leader deadlines, and will host Little Rock Central inanother pair of 7A-Central games on Friday.