CABOT -- Coming into the game at Panther Arena, Cabot and Little Rock Central had scored the same number of points over 23 games. When the dust settled Tuesday night, Central had the edge thanks to a 52-43 victory over the Panthers.
Ten consecutive free throws with a couple of three-pointers thrown in allowed the Tigers (12-12, 5-6 6A-Central) to pull away from the Panthers (15-9, 5-6).
Central entered the final quarter with a 33-31 lead, but a field goal from Jacob Hudson with 3:57 left in the game gave the Panthers a short-lived 38-37 edge. A three-pointer from CJ Price with 3:45 left put Central back in the lead, 40-38.
Cabot, using another field goal from Hudson, tied the game at 40-40 with 3:23 left. The Panthers would score only three points the rest of the way.
"We did a real good job of closing out the game," Central Coach Brian Ross said. "They had cut the lead to one, but we had a big three from the corner by Cody Robinson, then I think we made several straight free throws to put the game away.
"We've had a couple of slip-ups in the second round of conference play, but they showed up with a really great effort tonight."
Cabot scored the first nine points of the game, not allowing Central to score until the 3:16 mark of the first quarter.
The Panthers had a 13-5 lead, but Corey Camper hit a three-pointer from center court as the first-quarter buzzer sounded to narrow the lead to 13-8. That's when things started to change.
Central scored the first eight points of the second quarter and led 16-13 with 4:15 remaining. Zach Bates scored the Panthers' only points of the quarter to narrow the score to 16-15, but the Tigers held on for a 20-15 lead at the break.
Using eight points from Hudson, the Panthers closed to 24-23 with 5:01 left in the third quarter. But five points from Robinson put the Tigers back in control.
"We don't have a real big guy, but all five of our guys can crash the boards and we got a great effort from them," Ross said.
Central and Cabot are tied for the league's last state tournament berth, and Ross said that is his team's goal.
"We should be in the state tournament, but we are playing for seeding," he said. "We want to be hot at the right time of the year."
Hudson led all scorers with a game-high 21 points while Robinson led the Tigers with 17.
LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL 31
Shy Christopher and her Lady Panther teammates scored more than 10 points in each quarter to take a 6A-Central victory over the Lady Tigers.
Cabot (21-3, 9-2 6A-Central) led 31-16 at the half, then increased that to a 44-21 margin after three quarters.
Christopher led all scorers with 24 points, and Kaitlyn Theobald chipped in with 11 for Cabot. For Central (6-14, 2-9), Jordyn Head had 15 and Lauryn Pendleton scored 12.
Sports on 02/19/2020