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CABOT — A 10-0 run in the third quarter highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers by Caitlin LaCerra sparked the Bryant White Lady Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School to its ninth consecutive win, 31-21, over the Cabot North Lady Panthers on Thursday night at Cabot North Junior High.
The Lady Hornets held a tenuous 15-12 lead at the half. Daria Greer started the third-quarter scoring with a bucket off the offensive glass. Cabot North countered with a pair of free throws.
It was a back-and-forth scramble after that before, with 2:47 left in the period, Jordan Hancock took advantage of a Lady Panthers’ turnover for a layup and a 19-14 lead.
That started the run.
After turnovers by both teams and a Cabot North timeout, the Lady Panthers misfired and LaCerra drained her first 3 with 2:03 left in the quarter. Bryant White’s Emma Chappell blocked a Cabot North shot on the other end. Regan Dillon rebounded and got the ball ahead to LaCerra, who drilled another 3 to push the lead to double digits for the first time, 25-14.
In the final minute of the quarter, Dillon grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to make it 27-14 going into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Panthers tried to rally, cutting the lead to 29-21 with 1:38 left but they missed too many free-throw opportunities to get any closer. Similarly, the Lady Hornets struggled at the line to extend the lead. Hancock fed Chappell for the final bucket with :42 left.
I was disappointed in the free-throw comparisons,” allowed Lady Hornets coach Ben Perry. “Cabot shot 20 free throws making nine of them while we shot 13 free throws only making three. We are a much better free-throw shooting team. I do not like allowing the other team to the line that much either. The foul calls were pretty even as well, with Cabot committing 16 and Bryant 17. They just went to the line more and made more of them.
“We will get ready for Lake Hamilton next Tuesday and work on cleaning up our mistakes both offensively and defensively,” he added. “I’m proud of the team and how hard they are working. They are fighters and they never quit.”
Hancock wound up with 13 points. LaCerra had 8, Greer 5. Along with the 2 points apiece that Chappell and Dillon contributed, Jayla Purifoy added a free throw.
Bryant led 6-5 after a quarter.
“Starting the game off we had our same game plan,” Perry related. “We were going to press and attack on offense. At our last meeting (a 25-18 win for Bryant), they had two girls that accounted for most of their points so we keyed in on one’s outside shooting and tried to reign her in. We were successful in keeping her scoreless this game.
“It seems that, since our last meeting, Cabot was bound and determined to work on beating our press because that was the key in that game,” he added. “They were able to work the ball around our press more than not, which caused us to have to adjust our plan on defense.
“When we were on offense, they clogged up the middle real well, which hindered our guards from driving the paint, the coach explained. “The girls were getting frustrated and we found ourselves only up by 3 at the half. We adjusted at halftime and, with a little encouragement and fire in the locker room, we were able to surge a 12 to 2 run in the 3rd quarter aided by Caitlin Lacerra’s 3’s.
“We dropped back to half-court defense and made their offense try and beat our quick hands on defense,” he said. “Cabot struggled in their half-court offense in finding open shots. In the fourth, we worked on trying to work the ball around and wait for an open shot. At an early timeout in the fourth, I reminded the girls of the situation they were in and that they did not have to rush a shot. We were able to get the bench involved and ended the game ahead 10 points.”