VAN BUREN -- Cabot used a strong first quarter to build a lead and continued the strong shooting after that to pull away Saturday in the championship game of the Citizens Bank Classic.
Cabot opened the game with five 3-pointers and didn't look back in a 64-45 victory against Fort Smith Southside at Clair Bates Arena. Cabot was able to make 23 of its 35 field goals.
Cabot 64, Fort Smith Southside 45
Cabot (4-1): Vance 12. Hudson 12, Rudolph 10, Muse 9, Vaught 9, Roberts 5, Rainey 3, Rogers 2, Smith 2.
Southside (2-4): Gatewood 17, Solomon 8, Franks 8, Coleman 6, York 3, Thomas 3.
"We shot the ball extremely well," Cabot coach coach Chris Meseke said. "We didn't miss a three in the first half. That was the big different tonight. When you shoot the ball like we did, it takes a lot out of the other team."
Cabot (4-1) had nine different players score with Seth Vance and Jacob Hudson leading the way with a team-high 12 points each. Kairo Rudolph added 10 points, while Jackson Muse and Weston Vaught both scored nine.
"We shared the ball," Meseke said. "One of the things we do well is shoot the basketball. We got some guys who can knock down shots. When we get open and clean looks, you expect to shoot a high percentage."
Fort Smith Southside's Taye Gatewood finished with a game-high 17 for the Mavericks (2-4).
Cabot was able to take a 36-21 advantage into halftime by shooting better than 70 percent in the initial two quarters. The Panthers made four of its five shots to open the game.
The Panthers were able to take advantage of the 3-point line in the first quarter, making 5-of-5, to hold a 23-13 lead.
Southside got a 3-point basket from Mykale Franks to cut the Cabot first-quarter lead to 17-12. The Panthers after that were able to hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close out the quarter.
Cabot, which made 14 of 19 shots in the first half, was able to extend its lead in the second quarter making five of six baskets from the floor. A 7-0 run from the Panthers pushed the edge to 36-19 just before the break.
"We went into halftime and knew they didn't miss many," Southside coach Charlie Cooper said. "We have to figure out why they got that many good looks. It's early and we are working with some new kids. I saw a lot of good things, and things to work on as well."
Cabot's hot shooting didn't slow down much after the half, as it made nine of 16 floor shots. The Panthers added two more 3-point baskets in the third quarter to take a 52-33 lead into the final quarter.
Meseke said Cabot, which has just two seniors, was able to advance a lot as a team in the tournament.
"I feel like we grew a lot in this tournament," Meseke said. "It's good to get away from it all and bond with your team on the road. It's good to get away from the norm. I saw a big difference in that. It's a lot easier to fight for somebody when you like them."
Southside started the season 0-3 but found some momentum in the tournament by winning back-to-back games against Clarksville and Mena in the opening rounds.
"This was a good tournament for us," Cooper said. "That's why you play these games. We go up to Rogers and we'll see some teams from Missouri soon as well. We are growing toward January. We made progress."
Sports on 12/02/2018