NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The Cabot Panthers gave defending state champion North Little Rock fits but a dry spell in the second quarter proved fatal in a 65-47 loss Friday night.
Cabot is now 9-4 overall and 0-1 in the 7A/6A-East conference.
The Panthers scored the first seven points of the game — all by Hunter Southerland. North Little Rock replied with a 10-0 run. The Charging Wildcats led 12-11 after one quarter.
North Little Rock’s Kevaughn Allen scored early in the second quarter to give his team a 14-11 lead. The Panthers tied the game at 14-14 on a three-pointer by Hunter York. That was as close as Cabot would be the remainder of the game.
North Little Rock’s Adrian Moore hit two free throws to ignite a 20-1 run, giving the Charging Wildcats a 34-15 lead with 1:54 left in the first half.
Cabot hit 3 of 4 free throws in the final 1:24, including two by Garrett Rowe, but the Panthers trailed 37-18 at halftime.
Cabot played the Charging Wildcats tough in the second half as the Panthers outscored North Little Rock 29-28 in the final 16 minutes.
North Little Rock’s largest lead was 23 points on two occasions — the last coming at 51-28. From there, the Panthers outscored the Charging Wildcats 19-14 in the final nine minutes.
“We didn’t quit but that second quarter, they rushed us and we had way too many turnovers,” Cabot coach Jerry Bridges said. “If we could have six minutes of that back … we played them all right. They’ve got that gear that they can find.”
Bridges said he wasn’t disappointed in the way his team played.
“We could have come out in the second half and quit,” he said. “I thought we competed hard in the second half. If we had made a few more free throws, it might have been more respectable.”
Southerland led Cabot with 12 points. York had nine. Jared Dixon scored six. Rowe had five. Scoring four each were Michael Smith and Jeremiah Penner. Adolfo Iglesias had three. Scoring two each were Nick Thomas and Jake Ferguson.
Allen led North Little Rock with 19 points. Arkansas Razorbacks signee Anton Beard had 15.
Despite the loss, Bridges is not down on his team.
“I think we are better than we were last year,” he said. “We’re going to find the good things out of this game and build off those and hopefully, come out Tuesday, and get a big win against Marion.”