Leader Blues

Monday, January 21, 2008

SPORTS >> Cabot gets in win column

By KELLY FENTON
Leader sports editor

BRYANT — Jerry Bridges figures that, with the rugged 7A-Central schedule remaining over the next five weeks, he probably won’t be getting much sleep.

But the Cabot head coach no doubt rested well last night after his Panthers found the win column in league play with a 62-51 win over Bryant in a game much, much tighter than the final margin.

“You don’t know how big that is,” said Bridges, whose Panthers improved to 12-6 on the season, 1-3 in conference play. “I don’t know what happened to us coming out of Christmas break. I don’t know if we got too pleased with ourselves, but I don’t think we played with enough energy. Sometimes getting that first win is the hardest one.”

This one was far from easy, especially given the horrific start to the game for the Panthers, who missed nine of their first 11 shots.

Once they got that out of their system, though, they almost couldn’t miss. Cabot followed that bad beginning by missing just five shots over the final three quarters, making 18 of their final 23 field goal attempts to finish a torrid 20 of 34 for the game.
No one reflected the fortunes of his team more than Adam Sterrenberg. The 6-2 junior was held scoreless over the first 9 ½ minutes of the contest before erupting for 24 points the rest of the way.

Before Sterrenberg really got going, the bulk of the offensive production was handled by the 6-7 Miles Monroe, who scored 11 of his 15 points before halftime.

“Those are special players,” Bridges said. “We like our seniors and we like our younger players. We think we have a good mix.”
The game was nip and tuck the entire way. The two teams were tied at the half, and again after three quarters when Jack Bridges hit his second three-pointer of the period to knot the game at 38.

“That’s his role,” Jerry Bridges said. “We were good about finding him. We like to get two or three [three-pointers] out of him every night.”

Chad Knight’s three-pointer staked Bryant (9-8, 2-3) to a brief 45-42 lead. But Austin Johnson banked in an eight-footer, then got a steal and a pass ahead to Sterrenberg, who got the bucket and the free throw to put Cabot up 47-45 at the 4:50 mark. The Panthers never trailed again.

Sterrenberg padded the lead with a rebound and an end-to-end drive. After Bryant narrowed the lead to two, Sterrenberg again answered with a baseline drive and finger roll. Bryant had a chance to draw even, but missed 3 of 5 free throws over a 35-second span.

Meanwhile, the Panthers, who fell to North Little Rock last Friday after making just 11 of 21 from the stripe, were gold at the line. Sterrenberg made 5 of 5 over the final 1:27, and Monroe made both of his attempts. Cabot made 18 of 21 from the line overall.

“We worked on free throws all this week,” Bridges said.

Bryant’s last gasp came on a pair of free throws that narrowed the lead to 55-51 with 33 seconds left, but Sam Bates banked in a 6-footer and Sterrenberg scored inside and made a free throw to seal the deal.

Sterrenberg added six rebounds, four assists and two steals to his impressive line. Monroe collected five rebounds. Johnson added seven points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Bridges had nine points, and Bates had seven points and three assists. Derek Clarkson didn’t score, but handed out four assists.

Of Cabot’s 20 buckets, 17 were assisted.

“I was proud of the kids,” Bridges said. “We fell behind by two points in the fourth quarter and we came back. We showed some toughness tonight. The defense played better and I thought we took good shots.”

Cabot girls 70, Bryant 50

A funny thing happened during the Cabot-Bryant girls’ game on Friday night: A track meet broke out.

The Lady Panthers ran from the beginning and never stopped running until they’d finally secured a runaway victory over the struggling Lady Hornets to improve 13-6 overall and 3-1 in the 7A-Central.

Cabot hardly seemed fazed by the slate of injuries that has left its bench depleted, jumping out to a 20-8 lead after one.
Though Bryant tried to make a game of it by creeping to within eight early in the third period, Lauren Walker ended any suspense by exploding for 12 third-quarter points on her way to a game-high 22.

It was Leah Watts who answered Bryant’s three to open the second half with a three of her own from well beyond the arc, sparking a 19-4 run over the next 4 ½ minutes.

The lead grew to 23 when Alex Mitchell got a mid-court steal and whipped a backhanded pass to Watts for a breakaway basket.

The Lady Panthers made 22 of 42 shots, and 24 of 36 from the line.

They handed out 14 assists, including four by Walker, who also added four steals.

Shelby Ashcraft added 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, while Watts scored 12 points, grabbed four boards and had three assists.

Stephanie Glover, filling in for her injured sister, Rachel, went inside for 10 points and eight rebounds. Sarah Moore added five points and four rebounds, and Morgan Verkler had a pair of assists and two steals.

Cabot forced 22 turnovers and limited Bryant to 1-of-17 shooting from beyond the arc.