Leader Blues

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

SPORTS>>Cabot boys make it four in a row by beating Cyclones

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

The Panthers put themselves back in the contender category on Saturday with a 59-37 win over Russellville — their fourth straight after an 0-3 start. The Lady Panthers fell to Russellville 71-60 earlier in the evening.

Cabot junior Adam Sterrenberg led the Panthers for the fifth straight game, scoring 21 points on Saturday. He ended up as the only Panther in double figures, but post player Miles Monroe turned in a solid effort inside with nine points, as did forward Austin Johnson. Senior Sam Bates added eight points for Cabot.

Cabot coach Jerry Bridges says the success in recent games stems from a higher quality of practices for his squad. “Our effort in practice had been terrible,” Bridges said. “Our work ethic was bad, and if you go by the old saying that you play like you practice, some of our worst practices all year were in that time that we lost our first three conference games. We’ve been practicing a lot better, and I think we’ve finally woke up. You can’t look back at the games you’ve lost, you can only look forward. We’ve been getting better every game, but we still have a lot of tough ones left.”

The Panthers attacked early on Saturday, jumping out to a 14-6 lead after one quarter, and were in almost full control by halftime with a 32-17 advantage. The Cyclones were never able to cut into the Panthers’ lead.

“It was a good balance,” Bridges said. “We played much better defensively. Everyone has come together well, and everyone has accepted his role. There’s not a weak team in this conference, so we have to be ready to play like that every night.”

The win improved Cabot to 15-6 overall and 4-3 in the 7A-Central Conference.

RUSSELLVILLE 71, CABOT GIRLS 60

Russellville dominated the second quarter, which was enough to hand the Lady Panthers their third league loss of the season.

Cabot held a 15-13 lead after one quarter, but the Lady Cyclones came alive in the second frame for 21 points. They went on to outscore Cabot by 13 points in what proved to be the decisive quarter, to lead 34-23 at halftime.

“We’re not getting enough points off the bench,” Cabot assistant coach Charles Ruple said. “There’s just not a lot of offense there. They played really well, and we were terrible in the second quarter. We need help from about three more players to help give us some more consistency in our offense. We had too many turnovers, and way too many fouls.”

The Lady Panthers were only 20 percent from the floor in the first half. That number improved somewhat in the second half, but Russellville’s 26-of-37 performance from the free-throw line proved too much to overcome.

Ruple said the injury bug that has hit the team, and which has claimed seven seniors, has had an effect, but can’t be blamed for recent competitive shortcomings.

“At least five of them would see significant playing time,” Ruple said. “But you can never factor that into anything. Who’s to say that seven of them wouldn’t come down really sick before the state tournament? Other teams have the same type of things happen to them, we just don’t hear about it.”

Shelby Ashcraft led the Lady Panthers with 21 points. Leah Watts added 15 points, and Lauren Walker finished with 11 points. The Lady Panthers are now 14-8 overall and 4-3 in the 7A-Central Conference.