First half free-throw shooting and 30 turnovers were the key culprits in the Forrest City Lady Mustangs’ 58-52 loss to Cabot on Monday.
Despite all those odds, Forrest City had a chance to secure the win in the fourth quarter, before a late run by the Lady Panthers put them up by eight, and were able to hold on for the win in the first round of the Heavenly Hoops Classic at Mount St. Mary’s in Little Rock.
The two teams met during the summer at a team camp and Forrest City took that victory by one point.
Forrest City returns for a second-round loser’s bracket game on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Forrest City jumped out on Cabot at the beginning of both halves, but inexperience plus Cabot’s pressure took its toll towards the end.
“We’re going to clean it up,” said Forrest City coach Erica Taylor. “When Ty Norment fouls out, you have to put players in there who aren’t as used to handling things like that, and we didn’t do a good job of it. It’s just going to take more work and getting more experience.”
Cabot scored the first basket of the game 12 seconds after the opening tip, but the Lady Mustangs scored the next 10 and held an eight-point lead when Lady Panther coach Carla Crowder called timeout with 3:50 left in the first period.
From that point, Cabot turned the tables and outscored Forrest City 7 to 2 the rest of the quarter, then scored first to start the second period to pull within 12-11.
Cabot took its first lead of the game since 2-0 when senior Lesley Roberts hit a three-pointer that gave her team a 16-15 lead with 5:40 to go in the half.
It was back and forth from that point until the break, and the two teams went into intermission tied at 24-24.
Both teams left several points on the floor with missed free throws. Forrest City was just 6 of 15 from the line in the first half. Cabot was even worse, making just 4 of 16 attempts in the first two quarters.
The third quarter started much like the first. Cabot went up 29-26 on a three-point play by point guard Blair Nichols, but the Lady Mustangs answered with a 9-0 run to take a 35-29 lead 3:35 left in the period.
The Lady Panthers finally broke a four-minute drought when Gabby Dodson scored with 3:12 on the clock. Dodson then picked up her fourth foul and sent Tykia Edwards to the line making one of two free throws for a 31-26 Lady Mustangs lead, but Cabot took control.
The Lady Panthers scored nine consecutive points to close the third quarter.
Arnold and Dejah Jimerson came off the bench to force a series of turnovers that led to the run. Morgan Westbrook also came off the bench and took a charge that led to a bucket by Roberts that set the margin going into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Mustangs still had a run in them, Norment’s steal and layup put Forrest City up by one point, 43-42 with 5:32 to play, but she fouled a minute later and sent Brooklyn Stracener to the line who sank both free throws to put Cabot up 44-43.
Kourtney Blanchett broke the press and hit a layup that put Forrest City right back on top 45-44 with 4:28 left in the game.
But just like in the second quarter, Cabot took control late in the period. Roberts hit a three-pointer for Cabot. Arnold then got a steal and found Roberts for another basket that made the score 49-45 with four minutes left.
Taylor called timeout, but the Lady Mustangs turned it over on the inbound pass. Cabot held it for almost a minute before Dodson missed. Keamber Appleby got the rebound, but Roberts stole her outlet pass and passed to Nichols for a layup and a 51-45 lead 2:50 left in the game.
Dodson got a steal and passed to Arnold, who passed back to Dodson in transition for a layup and an eight-point lead.
Another Forrest City turnover allowed the Lady Panthers to burn another minute off the clock, and the Lady Mustangs couldn’t mount another comeback.
Roberts led all scorers with 18 points and was the only Lady Panther in double figures.
Norment scored 15 points for Forrest City, but was only 3 for 8 from the foul line. Appleby had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Forrest City junior high basketball teams will be on the road again today when they travel to West Memphis West for a three-game set beginning at 5 p.m.
Both the junior boys and junior girls are still looking for the first win of the season and both teams are coming off first-round losses on Saturday at the Beebe Junior high Invitational Tournament.
Kaylee Edgar sank seven three-pointers to score 21 points Monday as Greene County Tech whipped Searcy 71-42 in a senior girls basketball benefit game.
Allie Thomas added 14 points for the Lady Eagles, who led 41-14 at halftime and 68-32 after the third quarter.
Batesville rolled past Hoxie 86-66 in senior girls basketball Monday at the Highland Classic.
Taylor Griffin scored 26 points and Hannah Baxter added 20 for the Lady Pioneers. Batesville led 44-35 at halftime and 69-49 after the third quarter.
Kaitlin Henson led Hoxie with 23 points. Cassidy Clayton and Emily Davis finished with 14 points each.