Leader Blues

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

SPORTS>>Cabot girls finish strong to knock off Pine Bluff

Leader sportswriter

Cabot spent three quarters building an 18-point lead only to watch the Pine Bluff Fillies erase all but two points of that deficit by the middle of the fourth quarter.

But the Lady Panthers (3-1) held on for a 54-44 win on Monday night at Panther Pavilion behind 14 points and 15 rebounds by Shelby Ashcraft.

The Lady Panthers held Pine Bluff (2-2) scoreless in the second half until the 3:11 mark of the third quarter, building a 39-21 lead during that time.

Once the Fillies got going, however, the rally was on. They went on a 13-3 run from the final minute of the third quarter to the 6:53 mark of the fourth, and another 6-2 Pine Bluff run cut the lead down to 46-44 with 4:47 left to play.

That was as close as they got. Senior guard Jenna Bailey began an 8-0 Cabot run to close out the game with a 17-footer with3:17 left. Two straight turnovers by Pine Bluff led to an Ashcraft basket, and Stephanie Glover pulled down two big defensive rebounds in the final minute to seal the win. Bailey led the Lady Panthers with 16 points and four steals.

The first half was much less dramatic. Early baskets by Glover and Bailey, including a three-pointer by Bailey with an assist from Ashcraft at the 6:54 mark of the first quarter, lifted the Lady Panthers to an early 9-3 lead. Amber Rock added to that lead with two of her six points for the night to put Cabot up 11-3 with 5:28 left in the first quarter.

Post points allowed the Lady Panthers to claim a double-digit lead later on in the period. Ashcraft followed a basket by 6-2 junior Sara Moore with a basket and a free throw at the 3:33 mark for an 18-6 Cabot lead. Moore struck again following a basket and free throw by Kelsey Spry with a 10-footer at the 2:10 mark to put Cabot up 20-12.

Cabot held serve in the second quarter for a 31-21 halftime lead.

Both teams started the second half shaky. Turnovers and missed shots led to a scoreless period until the 5:42 mark when Rock finally converted a steal into two points to give the Lady Panthers a 33-21 advantage.

Bailey got her own steal and took it the distance for a layup moments later. That gave Cabot a 14-point lead, and baskets by Glover and Taylor Rosel extended it to 39-21 with 4:25 left in the third quarter.

The Fillies were able to slice into Cabotís lead on the outside shooting strength of Brittney Gatewood. Twelve of her game-leading 19 points came off three-point baskets, including her final one with 6:53 left to play that cut the advantage to 43-38.

To go along with her double-double, Ashcraft also had five assists and a block. Glover had 10 points and six rebounds. Rock had six points and four assists, and Amalie Benjamin helped lead defensively with three steals.