NORFORK — Cotter put together a furious rally in the third quarter to take the lead, but the Warriors had to weather a flurry by the Norfork Panthers in the fourth.
Norfork stormed back to tie the score midway through the final period, but the Warriors hit 12 of 17 free throws in the final stanza to hold for an 83-77 victory Tuesday night in nonconference action at Bobby D. Hulse Gymnasium.
The Warriors trailed 41-34 early in the third but rallied with a 24-6 run to close the quarter. Cotter took the lead back with an old-fashioned 3-point play by Shawn White to make it 45-43 with 4:10 left in the third.
Taran Eaton, who tossed in 12 in the third quarter alone, scored twice more, and Matthew Gorbet drained a 3-pointer as the Warriors stretched their lead to 52-45.
Back-to-back buckets by Maddux Adams stretched the Cotter lead to 58-47 to conclude the 24-6 spurt, and Norfork trailed 58-49 going into the fourth.
Adams buried a trey to open the final period, pushing Cotter’s lead to its biggest of the night at 12, but Norfork began to rally and climbed within 61-55 on a basket by Jacob Standfield with 6:57 left.
Travis Lewis brought the Panthers within 68-65, and after a free throw by Eaton, Lewis scored to make it a 2-point game with 3:58 left. Lewis tied the score at 69-69 with two foul shots with 3:41 left, but Adams responded for Cotter with a bucket in the paint and a trey for a 74-69 cushion.
Adams fouled out on a charge with 2:16 left, but Cotter never allowed the lead to slip under three the rest of the way.
Eaton led Cotter with 22 points, while Adams notched 20, Gorbet totaled 19 and Dawson Burns found double figures with 12 points.
Lewis led all scorers with 25 points, while Wyatt Chapman tallied 21, Grant Casey added 14 and Dustin Scott had 10 for the Panthers.
The teams traded baskets in the first quarter, with neither squad able to take a lead of more than three points. There were seven ties in the first period alone, and Cotter held an 18-16 edge at the end of the frame after a bucket by Gorbet.
Cotter built a lead as big as 25-20 early in the second on a basket by Eaton, but Norfork rallied with a 17-7 run to end the half. Chapman gave Norfork the lead at 28-27 with 2:42 left in the half.
Cotter went back ahead with a trey from the corner by Gorbet, but Norfork went on a 9-2 run from that point to hold a 37-32 advantage at the break.
Eaton 22, Adams 20, Gorbet 19, Burns 12, White 5, Martin 2, McBee 2, Dearmore 1.
Lewis 25, Chapman 21, Casey 14, Scott 10, Standfield 7.
COTTER 18 14 26 25 — 83
NORFORK 16 21 12 28 — 77
The Lady Panthers struggled shooting the ball, but the Lady Warriors were ice cold from the field, going just 7 of 41 for the game.
Norfork also forced 32 Cotter turnovers in the nonconference victory and received 20 points from sophomore Marleigh Dodson.
The Lady Panthers held a 7-0 after a slow first quarter for both teams. Dodson scored all seven in the quarter, and her layup with :35 left was the game’s first field goal.
Riley Scalf drained a 3-pointer, and Abbie Belding and Lauren Staples combined at the foul line to push the hosts’ lead to 13-0. Cotter did not get on the board until sophomore Alexa Wooten’s basket with 5:10 left in the second quarter, cutting it to 13-2.
Makayla Irby scored five straight to send Norfork’s lead to 18-2, and the Lady Panthers went on to hold a 29-8 lead at halftime.
Cotter began to climb back into the game with a 3-pointer from Macie Clawson and 1-of-2 free-throw shooting by Ruth Wiesboeck to make it 29-12. Norfork went on a 10-2 run to end the third, however, stretching the lead to 39-14.
Cotter pulled within 39-18 and later climbed as close as 41-23 on a bucket by Shawna Martin. Wooten led Cotter with five points on the night.
LADY WARRIORS (0-1)
Wooten 5, Clawson 3, Bramblett 3, Wiesboeck 3, Garay 3, Martin 2, Reed 2, Beard 2.
LADY PANTHERS (4-1)
Dodson 20, Belding 7, Staples 5, Irby 5, Scalf 3, Greve 2, Dillard 2, Sisco 1.
COTTER 0 8 6 9 — 23
NORFORK 7 22 10 6 — 45
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