Defense spurs freshman girls to romp over Cabot North

Photo courtesy of Valerie Nagle

You know you’re in trouble when you’ve scored 3 points and turned the ball over 10 times in a quarter and that’s where the Cabot North Lady Panthers freshman team found itself after the first quarter of their game against the Bryant Lady Hornets on Monday night at Bryant Junior High.

In turn, the Lady Hornets had suffered just three turnovers and, with the help of those they had forced, had scored 15 points, attempting three times as many shots as the Lady Panthers.

Bryant never looked back on the way to a 35-18 win in which it forced Cabot North into 29 turnovers, including 28 in the first three periods before head coach Nathan Castaldi subbed in liberally. The Lady Hornets led 31-7 going into the fourth.

“Defensively, the first quarter, we really set the tone,” the coach acknowledged. “It kind of got us going.

“The game after Thanksgiving, I was kind of worried about starting slow,” he allowed, “but our defensive pressure really started us in the right direction. That gave us some easy transition buckets. We were able to get out and play fast and not have to worry about setting stuff up. It kind of calmed us down a little bit to start the game.”

In fact, Bryant allowed just one field goal in the first half and it came less than two minutes into the first quarter. The Lady Panthers didn’t have another field goal until there was just 1:29 left in the third quarter.

The 15-3 lead at the end of the opening period grew to 22-3 before a pair of free throws ended a long drought for Cabot North.

The Lady Hornets led 26-5 at the intermission.

The win improved the Lady Hornets to 4-1 this season. It was the fourth win in a row after a narrow loss to open the season. They play at North Little Rock on Thursday at 4:15 p.m.

“I think we’re getting to know each other a little better, game after game, kind of defining our roles, kind of figuring out who can do what,” Castaldi said. “Our girls have really bought in defensively to what we’re trying to do, our game plan each game. I think the last four, we really set the tone in the first quarter defensively.”

Of course, at Bryant, the freshman team brings together players that had been competing against each other at Bethel Middle School and Bryant Middle School in seventh and eighth grade.

Monday’s game was tied 2-2 before the Lady Hornets started on a 22-2 run. Natalie Edmonson scored off an inbounds pass from Lauren Lane to snap the deadlock. Emileigh Muse drove for a layup off a Cabot turnover to make it 6-2 then Lain grabbed an offensive rebound, scored and was fouled. Her free throw completed a three-point play that made it 9-2.

After a Cabot free throw, a driving layup by Jaelyn Allen got the run going again. Lain scored inside then Jayla Knight, in off the bench closed out the quarter with a basket.

Knight wound up leading all scorers with 11 points. Lain and Allen each had 7.

A coast-to-coast dash by Knight started the second-quarter scoring. Later, she scored off a drive to make it 19-3. Lain made a steal that Knight turned into a three-point play. And, with 2:06 left in the half, Muse scored off a drive to the hoop, extending the margin to 24-3.

After a pair of Cabot North free throws, Allen converted twice at the line and it was 26-5 at the half.

To start the third quarter, Allen hit another free throw. Lain made a steal and hit a layup, making it 29-5 before Cabot North ended its long dry spell with a field goal.

Free throws by Knight in the final :40 of the quarter extended the margin to 31-7.

In the fourth quarter, the Lady Panthers could get no closer than 17 down. Late baskets by Kiniyah Horton and Brooklyn Welch helped the Lady Hornets maintain the lead.

LADY HORNETS 35, LADY PANTHERS 18

Freshman

Score by quarters

Cabot North    3          2          2          11 — 18

BRYANT           15        11        5          4 — 35

LADY PANTHERS 18

Evans 2-9 0-0 5, Shelton 0-2 0-2 2, Barnard 2-4 0-0 4, Cook 1-6 1-2 3, Shock 1-1 0-0 2, Hock 0-0 2-2 2, Loe 0-0 0-0 0, Doyle 0-0 0-4 0, Petty 1-1 0-0 2, Gordon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 7-23 3-10 18.

LADY HORNETS 35

Lain 3-8 1-1 7, Edmonson 1-9 0-0 2, Muse 2-8 0-1 4, Winfield 0-1 0-0 0, Allen 2-4 3-5 7, Knight 4-9 3-7 11, Winston 0-1 0-0 0, Ellison 0-0 0-1 0, Horton 1-1 0-0 2, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Baker 0-1 0-0 0, Welch 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 14-43 7-15 35.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 0-8 (Edmonson 0-4, Muse 0-2, Allen 0-1, Knight 0-1), Cabot North 1-6 (Evans 1-3, Cook 0-2, Shelton 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 15, Cabot North 29. Rebounds: Bryant 10-15 25 (Muse 1-4 5, Lain 3-1 4, Winfield 2-0 2, Allen 0-2 2, Knight 0-2 2, Baker 0-2 2, Winston 1-0 1, Ellison 0-1 1, team 3-3 6), Cabot North 5-26 31 (Cook 0-7 7, Barnard 1-4 5, Shelton 1-2 3, Doyle 0-3 3, Evans 0-2 2, Shock 0-2 2, Hock 1-1 2, Loe 0-1 1, Petty 1-0 1, team 1-4 5). Team fouls: Bryant 13, Cabot North 13.



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