SPORTS >> Cabot runs win streak to 10
Leader sports editor
This one had all the makings of a trap game for Cabot.
Winners of eight straight, the Panthers headed to Russellville on Tuesday night to take on a talented, somewhat desperate Cyclone team against whom Cabot began its winning streak after a remarkable comeback last month.
Add to that a short week with Cabot’s makeup game at Van Buren looming on Thursday and it’s no wonder Cabot head coach Jerry Bridges was just a little nervous.
But after a slow start, the Panthers rode the inspired play of Miles Monroe to win their ninth in a row with a 58-47 win. The Cabot post man scored 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds despite missing much of the second half with four fouls. Adam Sterrenberg, scored 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half.
“Miles really kept us in it in the first half,” said Cabot coach Jerry Bridges. “And he got some garbage and some putbacks that were real big for us.”
Cabot ran its winning streak to 10 games with a hard-fought 42-35 win at Van Buren in a make-up game on Thursday night. The wins, coupled with Conway’s victory over Catholic, put the Panthers temporarily in front of the Wampus Cats as they finished the conference season 12-2. Conway (11-2) finished the regular season at Russellville last night. The Wampus Cats own the tiebreak and would win the conference if they and the Panthers tie.
“Somebody told me they don’t think we’ve ever won a conference championship (in boys basketball),” said Bridges. “I am really proud of the kids. But we’ve still got work to do.”
After trailing by five points on four separate occasions in the first half against Russellville, the Panthers took the lead for good on Monroe’s baseline drive and left-handed lay-up. His free throw on the play put Cabot ahead 23-20 and they never trailed again. Alex Baker, who came up big off the bench to score 12 points, hit three free throws the rest of the way as Cabot took a 26-20 lead into intermission.
“Alex is capable of that,” Bridges said. “We call him the ‘Microwave’ because he can come off the bench and get hot for you. He hit a couple of big pull-up jumpers.”
But when Monroe picked up his third and fourth fouls in quick succession midway through the third period, thinks got dicey for the Panthers. Super quick point guard A.J. Broadnax, who had been hounded by a combination of Baker and Seth Bloomberg in the first half, began to find his way to the basket. His drive cut the Panther lead to 35-33 late in the third quarter. But Jack Bridges answered with a big three and Sterrenberg scored on a drive down the right side of the lane and the Panthers had some breathing room at 40-33 after three.
Two Sterrenberg free throws two minutes into the final period still had the Panthers up seven, but Russellville post man Hunter Hawkins began to assert himself with Monroe still on the bench. His putback narrowed the Cabot lead to 44-43 with 4:50 left in the game. Sterrenberg answered with a three-pointer and, after a pair of Russellville free throws cut the lead to two, Sterrenberg got a big offensive rebound off his own miss and stuck it back with 3:45.
Austin Johnson (11 points, four rebounds) made a pair of free throws and Baker knocked down 5 of 6 as Cabot held on. On Jan. 30, Cabot rallied from nine down in the fourth quarter when Sterrenberg scored 22 points in the final four minutes, 55 seconds. The Cyclones were not only hungry for revenge, but in need of a victory to secure a state playoff berth.
But after getting off to a hot start to take an 11-8 lead after one, the Cyclones went cold, making only 12 of their final 33 shots. Overall, they made just 2 of 24 from beyond the arc.
Cabot, meanwhile, made 4 of 10 from deep and 20 of 24 from the line, where they have been on fire of late. That, and a mere five turnovers, allowed them to overcome 17-of-43 shooting.
Baker was the fourth Panther in double figures with 12 points. Broadnax finished with 18 points, while Hawkins added 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Against Van Buren, Sterren-berg scored 17 points and Johnson added 16. Monroe had eight rebounds and Clark six.
CABOT GIRLS 63,
The Lady Panthers racked up a remarkable 20 steals — 10 in the first quarter alone — and were never threatened by winless Russellville on Tuesday night. The victory secured the No. 2 seed at the state tournament next week at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.
Shelby Ashcraft led the way in pilferage with five steals, while Taylor Rosel snagged four. Jenna Bailey and Stephanie Glover had three each and Kelsey Spry grabbed two.
Eleven Lady Panthers cracked the scoring column, led by Brooke Taylor’s 11 points and Glover’s 10 points and six rebounds.
The Lady Panthers, who led 15-0 after one period, forced 27 tunrovers and limited the Lady Cyclones to 10-of-32 shooting.
Amber Rock’s three-pointer opened up a 26-9 lead late in the second period and Cabot went on to lead 28-12 at intermission.
Ashcraft added eight points, six rebounds and three assists. Rock, Rosel, Spry and Sarah Moore added six each. Moore also swatted away three Lady Cyclone shots and grabbed six rebounds.
Cabot made 20 of 41 shots, including 5 of 9 from deep.