Leader Blues

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

SPORTS>>Vilonia girls hand Cabot lopsided loss

By KELLY FENTON
Leader sports editor

GREENBRIER — It’s a game best forgotten. The question is, will the Cabot Lady Panthers ever be able to shake off the lingering effects of their total domination by Vilonia on Monday afternoon in the Battle of the Brier?

The Class 5A Lady Eagles, who improved to 11-0, thumped 7A Cabot, shutting it out in the third period en route to a 58-27 win.

Head coach Carla Crowder, while not happy with the performance, didn’t appear too concerned afterwards that the loss would shake her team’s confidence down the road.

“This happens all the time,” said Crowder, whose Lady Panthers fell to 8-3 and will take on Greenbrier on Saturday at 4 p.m.

“That’s just part of coaching. Sometimes you play like that.”
Crowder obviously hopes that will be the last time in a while, though.

“I told them, if we play like that, we’ll get our butts kicked every time.”

There was nothing good about this one, and what started out badly only got worse. The Lady Panthers hung around in the first half only because Stephanie Glover scored her team’s first 10 points. But by the time she reached that total, Cabot was already trailing 22-10. Glover finished with 16 points, one of only four Cabot players to score. Shelby Ashcraft added six, including the final four Cabot points of the first half. Cabot trailed 30-14 at intermission after Vilonia scorched the nets for 7-of-9 shooting.

Overall, Vilonia made just three fewer shots than Cabot attempted, finishing a torrid 24 of 38 to the Lady Panthers’ 11 of 27.

The Vilonia defense was every bit as impressive with an active 2-3 zone that had Cabot scrambling all night for open looks.

“They played a very solid game, but I don’t think it had anything to do with them,” Crowder said. “I think it had to do with us. I could tell yesterday we were going to play like that.”

The Lady Panthers committed eight turnovers in the third period and took only four shots — all misses — as Vilonia increased its lead to a crowd-silencing 38-14.

Cabot ended a 9-minute, 29-second scoring drought when Glover scored inside with 7:22 left in the game. It began the only run of the night for the Lady Panthers, who launched a 9-2 run to get within 18.

But Vilonia closed out the game the way it began it, going on a 17-4 run to set the final margin.

“Our whole team overall, I was pleased with our offensive and defensive effort,” said Vilonia coach Alvin Riley. “It’s the best we’ve played all year, by far. Cabot’s a very good team and I was worried we’d have trouble scoring on them, but what we did was we hit our open shots.

“Our 2-3 zone kept them off balance all night.”

The Lady Eagles scored the first six points of the game before Glover scored inside and hit a pair of free throws. Vilonia reeled off 14 of the next 16 points to take a 20-6 lead with 5:18 left in the half.

The Lady Eagles had no one reach double figures, but had three with nine points and another with eight.

Cabot reached the semifinals with a 53-30 cruise past Wonderview on Saturday. Jenna Bailey hit three three-pointers on her way to 14 points. Ashcraft had eight, while Amber Rock and Sarah Moore each added six.