Leader Blues

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

SPORTS >>Bruins get back at Cabot

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

The Panthers struggled most of the way, but made Pulaski Academy sweat it out late during a close 61-59 loss Saturday in the championship game of the Ortho/Arkansas Invitational basketball tournament Saturday night at Mustang Mountain on the campus of Central Arkansas Christian.

Momentum did not find its way to Cabot’s side until the final two mintues of the contest, but shaky free throw shooting in the final 15 seconds of the game prevented what would have been an incredble comeback by Cabot.

David Camp ended up as game decider for PA, when a foul by Tim Lawrence during a loose-ball scramble sent him to the line during the final second of the game for the Bruins.

Junior shooting guard Adam Sterrenberg tied the game for the Panthers moments earlier when he hit the back end of a two-shot free throw attempt, but Camp’s all-net foul shots gave the Bruins the lead for the final time to pull out the win.

“I think people got thier money’s worth on that one,” Cabot coach Jerry Bridges said of the exciting finale. “I’m proud of the way our kids battled back. They are growing up and starting to realize that you have to play hard from buzzer to buzzer when you compete at this high a level.”

The Panthers had a difficult time with Pulaski Academy senior Hansen Bartlett, who wreaked havoc on the Cabot D with several strong drives to the hole. Bartlett’s 14 points were a nice cap to a successful tournament for the PA senior, but Sterrenberg also had his moments of glory in Saturday’s finals for the Panthers. The junior engaged what would turn out to be a near game-stealing rally with 1:32 left in the game with an inside shot that pulled the Panthers to a 59-51 deficit, and followed a rare four-point play by point guard Trey Rosel with a three-pointer that brought Cabot to within a single point with 47 seconds left to play.

One Panther who did not enjoy Saturday’s finals was junior post player Miles Monroe. Monroe was held to a pair of second quarter baskets by the Bruins defense for one of his lowest scoring totals of the season, but also had to endure the relentless heckling of the obnoxiously-spirited PA student section.

Constant taunting during any play remotely involving Monroe was curiously looked over, and his final foul after a conversation between Academy post Cruise Williams and a game official late in the fourth quarter only added insult to injury for the 6’3” standout. The youngster kept his composure through the tough situation, but the emotion on his face showed as he walked to the bench to take a seat for the remainder of the game.

Williams’ dispute over a call in the third quarter resulted in a technical, but the otherwise consistant officials let his vocal displeasure toward what ended up as a double foul between he and Monroe slide in the late going. He would not be a factor in deciding the hard-earned win for the Bruins late, but his unsportsmanlike actions put a bit of tarnish on an otherwise impressive performance by the Bruins.

Austin Johnson went to the line with a chance to give Cabot its first lead of the game since the opening minute with 15 seconds left to play. He missed both ends, but the Bruins knocked the ball out of bounds going for the rebound to give possession back to the Panthers with a stopped clock.

Sterrenberg went for the winner with 10 seconds left and drew a foul. He also missed on the front end of the two-shot attmept, but swished the second shot to tie the game at 59-59. The Bruins missed what appeared to be the final shot of the game, but Camp was able to draw the foul before the buzzer to set up the game-winning trip to the line.