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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Miller, Cave City shoot down Lady Panthers

  • Cave City rangy guard Morgan Miller buried six three-pointers, including two in the fourth quarter as the Cavewomen pulled out a 52-48 win over the Heber Springs Lady Panthers on Tuesday in the season opener for both teams at the Panther Den.
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  • Cave City rangy guard Morgan Miller buried six three-pointers, including two in the fourth quarter as the Cavewomen pulled out a 52-48 win over the Heber Springs Lady Panthers on Tuesday in the season opener for both teams at the Panther Den.
    "She was a huge difference," said Heber Coach Jamey Riddle. "We talked about it because we played them twice last year and she hit four threes in both games last year. I think a couple times we had a hand in her face and she stepped up and knocked them down. We've got to start picking up on little things throughout the season, knowing the shooter and shading to her side and communicating about where she is at."
    The Cavewomen used a balanced attack to lead 11-10 after the first quarter as forwards Vashti Crick, Shyanne Price and Jamie Holley each recorded a bucket, guard Candra Carpenter hit two free throws and guard Gracen Ratliff scored three points, including a slashing layup in the final minute.
    Heber hung around in the first quarter behind seven points from guard Skylar Johnson and a three-pointer from twin sister Hannah Johnson.
    The Lady Panthers opened the second quarter with four straight as forward Makenzie Martin canned two free throws and Skylar Johnson popped a 17-foot jumper from right baseline, but Miller responded with a three-pointer from left wing, knotting the score at 14-all.
    Heber forward Mary Lawrence whirled around a defender and scored from left block and Hannah Johnson drove right side of lane and scored while drawing a foul. Hannah Johnson completed the three-point play then forward Mary Simmons notched a putback in transition, boosting the Lady Panthers' lead to 21-15.
    Cave City trimmed its deficit to 21-20 with five straight to close the first half as guard Morgan Graddy sliced down right side of lane for a layup and Miller drained a three-pointer from right elbow extended.
    Cave City opened the third quarter with a 7-2 run sparked by Holley, who scored inside before Miller ripped a three-pointer from left wing and Price added a bucket in the paint.
    Trailing 27-23, Heber regrouped with a timeout and regained the lead with six straight as Martin scored from right block to start the spurt and Hannah Johnson hit a pull up jumper from the foul line to end the run.
    Tied at 29-29 following a pair of free throws by Holley, Skylar Johnson sank a 12-foot pull up jumper from right baseline, but Holley answered with a turnaround jumper in traffic.
    Heber took a 33-31 lead when Skylar Johnson hit two free throws, but Cave City closed the third quarter with an 8-1 run ignited by Miller, who drained a three-pointer from right wing.
    After Skylar Johnson hit a free throw, Graddy drilled a deep three-pointer out front and Price scored at the buzzer off an assist from Miller, pushing the Cavewomen lead to 39-34 entering the fourth quarter.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Lady Panthers opened the fourth with a 4-0 spurt as Skylar Johnson sank a pull up jumper from right wing then Hannah Johnson picked a steal and hit Martin dashing to the basket for a layup.
    Cave City fired back with consecutive three-pointers from Miller and Graddy, seemingly seizing command, but Heber refused to go down easily as guard Madeline Spanel scored from right block off a back cut and assist from Martin.
    Moments later, with Heber applying full-court pressure, Spanel poked the ball away to Hannah Johnson, who gathered the steal and scored, causing Cave City to call from timeout with 4:13 remaining, clinging to a 45-42 lead.
    Heber jumped in front following the break in action as Martin canned a pair of free throws before Spanel found Martin for a layup in transition, but Miller popped a three-pointer from right corner off an inbound play.
    The Lady Panthers tied the score at 48-all on a runner in traffic by Hannah Johnson, but with under a minute remaining, Holley caught the ball in the middle of the lane, where she drove around a defender and scored from right block.
    With Heber down by two, the Cavewomen forced a turnover, which led to a pair of free throws by Miller to seal the game.
    Miller scored a game-high 20 points for Cave City (1-0), Holley followed with 10, Graddy added eight and Price chipped in six.
    Skylar Johnson paced Heber (0-1) with 16 points, Hannah Johnson added 14 and Martin finished with 11.
    Riddle said he wouldn't be surprised to see the Cavewomen again down the road in the regional tournament.
    "It was a good intense game for us to play right off the bat. We had our chances at the end. It was two good teams going at it and we had a break down a time or two on defense and just didn't execute on offense a couple of times but I was pleased with the effort.
    "They are in our region so we could be playing them in the regional finals or something … I feel like both of us will have a pretty good season," added Riddle.

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