Leader Blues

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

SPORTS>>Cabot gets easy win over Trojans in first round of Searcy tourney

Leader sports editor

Jerry Bridges remembers Cabot’s dismal showing in last year’s Searcy Bank Classic and so, he says, does his team.

The Panthers played as though they wanted to erase the memories of that 7th-place showing by opening the 2008 Classic with a thoroughly dominating 61-36 win over a pretty good Hot Springs team.

“We came out of break last year and we were just terrible,” said Bridges, whose team improved to 3-0 and will take on Abundant Life in the tournament semifinals on Thursday night at 7 p.m. “Last year, we didn’t do very well here and these kids were a little embarrassed. They care about what other people think.”

The Panthers got 23 points, three steals and two assists from all-state guard Adam Sterrenberg. Though he was the only Cabot player in double figures, the Panthers showed plenty of balance with six players scoring four or more points.

The Panthers trailed just once in the contest after Hot Springs hit the first of three first-half three-pointers 46 seconds into the game to take a 3-2 lead. It was one of only four field goals in the first half by Hot Springs, which had only one two-point basket before intermission.

It took a while for Sterrenberg to get going but once he did, he couldn’t be stopped. His steal and lay-in was his first points of the night and came at the 3:27 mark of the first period to put Cabot up 11-6.

Sterrenberg took off midway through the second quarter, hitting a pull-up 14-footer and a three from the top of the circle to open up a 19-8 Cabot lead.

The Panther defense was stifling all night as the Trojans struggled to find an offensive rhythm. They finished the night making just 10 of 36 shots and only 4 of 17 threes.

Miles Monroe, who scored only two of his eight points in the first half, hit a base line shot, followed by a Sterrenberg steal and lay-up and another three and the rout was on. Jack Bridges put the exclamation point on the second-quarter eruption by hitting a three as Cabot led 29-13 at the half.

From there, it was just a matter of naming the final score. Sterrenberg kept the crowd tuned in with a spectacular play midway through the third period. The Arkansas State signee got a steal, drove toward the basket, dribbled behind his back to shed a defender and finished it off with a reverse lay-up.

“He’s just one of the best players in the state, that’s all you can say,” Bridges said.

Jack Bridges hit his third three-pointer of the night to open up a 50-24 Cabot lead after three quarters.

Monroe, who grabbed eight rebounds and dished out three assists, got it going on the offensive end in the final period, when he scored three baskets over a period of a minute and a half.

“Miles rebounded and did a great job,” Bridges said. “And I thought Gary Clark did a great job on No. 52, who was one of their best scorers. He pushed him out and we just had a great team effort all the way around. (Hot Springs) is a good team, a lot better than they showed. They’ll be in the middle of 5A this year.”

In addition to Sterrenberg’s 23 points, Bridges had nine points and two assists, Monroe had eight points and Austin Johnson and Alex Baker had six each. Johnson also had two assists and two steals. Baker had an assist and a pair of steals as Cabot finished with 11 steals and 14 assists. Clark scored four points and grabbed seven rebounds.

The Panthers hit 24 of 49 shots, including 5 of 13 threes.