Leader Blues

Thursday, January 24, 2008

SPORTS >> Cabot boys make it 2 in a row

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Cabot head coach Jerry Bridges had made a regular habit of staving off panic attacks until last weekend. The Panthers started out a successful early season campaign, but quickly fell behind in the 7A-Central Conference with three opening losses before two straight wins against Bryant last Friday, and Saturday’s 50-40 decision over Little Rock Central put a quick fade on the panic button.

The Tigers came out swinging during Saturday’s make-up league game at the Cabot gymnasium, but a new defensive look from the Panthers in the second quarter caused a significant decrease in LRC points through the second and third quarters.
“We adjusted our defense,” Bridges said. “We went from a matchup zone to a 1-3-1, and I think that bothered them.”

Central shot well in the first eight minutes, making its first five shots en route to an 18-12 lead at the end of one. The second quarter, however, had a completely different vibe.

Cabot’s 1-3-1 allowed only four Central points in the second quarter. Meanwhile, the Panthers added 10 of their own to bring the game to a 22-22 tie at halftime.

Central’s offensive struggles carried over into the third quarter. This time, the improving Panther defense allowed only three points. That allowed junior guard Adam Sterrenberg and the Cabot offense to not only overtake the Tigers, but to build up a 10-point advantage heading into the final frame, a lead they never surrendered.

Central finally found a way back to the cylinder in the late going, but by that time, the Panthers had all the momentum they needed to take their second conference win in as many days.

“We started out with our backs against the wall,” Bridges said of Cabot’s early league struggles. “But we’re back in the picture now. We get a big win on Friday, and then have a team like Central, who’s in the same boat as us, really, come down here. It was a good win for us at home against a quality team.”

Three early losses are tough, but Bridges says things are still wide open for his team in a conference that doesn’t appear to have an early runaway favorite.

“Anything can still happen,” Bridges said. “Starting out 0-3 is tough, but we’re 2-3 now. We can still get there. The state tournament is what we’re working toward. As long as we don’t panic and keep plugging, we’ll get there.”

Sterrenberg led the Panthers with 24 points. Post player Miles Monroe added 10 points and seven rebounds. Austin Johnson added eight points for Cabot, while Jack Bridges finished with six points. For Little Rock Central, Eric Brooks led offensively with 14 points in the game. The win improved Cabot to 13-6 overall and 2-3 in the 7A-Central Conference.

LR Central girls 63, Cabot 61

The Lady Panthers were looking for revenge at home against Central on Saturday, but the Lady Tigers backed up their RAPA tournament win over Cabot with a 63-61 victory in which they rallied from a large deficit, again.

The Lady Panthers led most of the way, but Central came back to take the lead in the final minute of the game, this time with 7A-Central Conference standings on the line.

Guard Leah Watts led the Lady Panthers with 22 points. South Alabama signee Lauren Walker added 16 points, while post player Shelby Ashcraft finished with 13 points. For Central, Jalisa Montgomery led offensively with 12 points. The loss gives Cabot records of 13-7 overall and 3-2 in conference play, while the Lady Tigers improve to 13-6 and 3-2.