BEEBE — When Ivory Russ opened the second quarter with a three-point play, the Bryant Lady Hornets only trailed the Cabot Lady Panthers 13-10. But, from that point until the end of the first half, the Lady Hornets went into a shooting slump.
Mady Scifres hit a 3 with 1:59 left for Bryant’s only points while the Lady Panthers scored 20, finishing the half with a 33-13 lead on the way to a 61-42 victory to capture the championship of the Beebe Holiday Classic on Monday night.
The Lady Hornets rallied in the third quarter, forcing Cabot into seven consecutive turnovers. But they were unable to whittle the lead to less than 11.
“Offensively, that was a really bad first half,” allowed Lady Hornets coach Brad Matthews. “Yet we were still hanging in and hanging in and hanging in. The last three or four minutes of the second quarter, we let them get some transition. We let their shooters hit a 3 and gave up some rebounds and it went from a 6- or 7-point game all the way up to 20.
“We’ve got to have better offense,” he asserted. “Everybody plays better defense and rebounds better when you’re scoring.
“To our kids’ credit, we fought back,” the coach noted. “We cut it down to 11. We executed much better in the second half. When we execute, we’re able to keep them out of a transition; we’re able to keep them off the boards. We just need to do that for a much larger portion of the game.
“Cabot’s a very good team,” Matthews said. “There’s a reason they’re 11-1. They’ve beaten some really good teams. For us, we’ll take tonight’s tape and look at it, make sure we get better for Benton on Tuesday and for (Cabot) next time.”
The Lady Hornets are set to host Benton in the annual Saline County Shootout on Tuesday, Jan. 7. Bryant plays Cabot twice during 6A-Central Conference play, at Cabot on Jan. 24, and at Bryant on Feb. 21.
Cabot was led by Shy Christopher, a move-in from Jacksonville, who had 22 points. But 11 of those came in the fourth quarter when the Lady Panthers already had a big lead. Izzy Arnold scored 13 while Katilyn Theobald and Hannah Ogilvie scored 11 apiece.
For Bryant, Tierra Trotter scored 20 but no one else had more than 5.
Cabot out-rebounded the Lady Hornets, 37-24, with Emily Belin collecting 11 boards for the Lady Panthers. Ogilvie had nine.
Bryant shot just five free throws in the game, compared to 14 for Cabot. But the Lady Panthers were much more aggressive attacking the basket. While the Lady Hornets got into the lane in the first half, the Cabot bigs, Belin and Ogilvie, made it difficult to get clean looks.
The game went for quite some time before either team scored. Christopher drove for a basket to break the ice with 4:52 left in the opening quarter. The lead grew to 5-0 before Bryant broke through on a drive by Trotter. McKenzie Muse followed with a 3-pointer and, after Christopher hit a free throw, Muse hit a short jumper that gave Bryant a 7-6 lead.
It was the Lady Hornets’ lone lead of the game.
Cabot closed the quarter with 7 points to make it 13-7 before Russ’ three-point play to start the second period.
Before the Lady Hornets scored again, however, Ogilvie and Christopher converted free throws, Arnold hit a 3 then drove for a layup. Belin hit the offensive glass for a basket and Theobald knocked down a triple to make it 25-10.
Along the way, the Lady Hornets, already without sophomore starter Parris Atkins, lost senior Celena Martin with an ankle injury.
After Scifres interrupted the run with her 3, Cabot scored the last 8 points of the half.
The Lady Hornets opened the second half with a steal and layup by India Atkins. Trotter stole the ball and drove for an easy two. Off another Cabot turnover, Atkins fed Trotter for a 3 to make it 33-20.
Another theft by Atkins led to a layup for Trotter and the lead was down to 11. Cabot called a timeout but when play resumed, Russ made a steal.
But the Lady Hornets were unable to take advantage. The teams traded missed shot and turnovers until Ogilvie scored with 2:11 left in the quarter. Trotter answered with a drive to the rack but, in the last seconds of the period, Arnold scored to make it 37-24.
Christopher and Muse traded basked to start the fourth quarter but then the Lady Hornets when cold again. A 10-0 run by Cabot produced the largest lead of the game, 49-26.
LADY PANTHERS 61, LADY HORNETS 42
Score by quarters
Cabot 13 20 4 24 — 61
BRYANT 7 6 11 18 — 42
LADY PANTHERS (11-1) 61
Theobald 4-11 0-0 11, Arnold 5-13 0-0 13, Christopher 8-12 6-8 22, Ogilvie 5-11 1-4 11, Belin 1-2 0-0 2, Madar 0-1 0-0 0, Dolan 0-0 0-0 0, Ringgold 0-1 0-0 0, Siegler 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 23-51 (45%) 9-14 (64%) 61.
LADY HORNETS (7-4) 42
Trotter 7-17 4-4 20, Atkins 2-9 0-0 5, Martin 0-2 0-0 0, Taylor 1-9 0-0 2, Muse 2-8 0-0 5, Baker 2-2 0-0 4, Russ 1-2 1-1 3, Scifres 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 16-51 (31%) 5-5 (100%) 42.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 5-25 (Trotter 2-6, Muse 1-6, Atkins 1-3, Scifres 1-2, Taylor 0-6, Martin 0-1, Russ 0-1), Cabot 6-20 (Arnold 3-9, Theobald 3-8, Ogilvie 0-2, Christopher 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 15, Cabot 13. Rebounds: Bryant 8-16 24 (Trotter 0-5 5, Atkins 1-4 5, Baker 1-2 3, Muse 1-1 2, Martin 1-0 1, Taylor 0-1 1, Scifres 1-0 1, team 3-3 6), Cabot 12-25 37 (Belin 4-7 11, Ogilvie 5-4 9, Christopher 1-4 5, Arnold 1-2 3, Madar 0-2 2, Siegler 0-2 2, Theobald 0-1 1, team 1-3 4). Team fouls: Bryant 16, Cabot 8. Fouled out: Bryant, Russ.