March 20, 2003

Lady Tigers Hoops Season Ends In Sectional Playoff Loss To Clopton

The Scotland County Lady Tigers prolonged the start of the spring track season by advancing into the state playoffs for the first time in school history. Unfortunately for SCR-I they ended up in a track meet anyway when they took on the Clopton Lady Hawks March 12 in the sectional playoff hosted by Hannibal High School.

Clopton should consider changing the schools nickname to Roadrunners or Greyhounds as the team sped up and down the court in the opening minutes of the contest.

"They were a lot quicker than we anticipated," said Coach Andrea Dabney. "I thought our team speed was fairly good but Clopton was just quicker. Our game plan was to slow things down but they got off to the good start and we were forced into the running game."

The Hawks got two quick baskets off SCR-I turnovers to open the game and that set the tone for the first half.

Meagan Fromm hit a three pointer to momentarily stop the run but the Hawks quickly built a 10-3 lead and forced a Scotland County timeout with 5:45 left in the first quarter.

Fromm answered the challenge with a three pointer and followed it up with a driving score to pull SCR-I to within four points at 12-8.

Jessie Cotton takes the ball to the hoop against two Clopton defenders during the Lady Tigers sectional playoff game against the Lady Hawks March 12 in Hannibal.

But the Clopton pressure defense began to take its toll as the Hawks swarmed the ball handlers and used their quickness to cause 17 first half turnovers for SCR-I, building a 21-10 lead to close out the first period.

The team was equally impressive on the offensive end led by 6'1" sophomore forward Brandi Tipton who missed just two shots on her way to a game-high 27 points. For the game the Hawks shot 57 percent from the field.

Tipton led a second period charge that saw the Hawks fly by SCR-I to build a 20-point margin by halftime. The rush came quickly in the second period as Clopton went on an 8-0 run to start the quarter. Brandi Mallett ended the streak with a basket in the paint. The Hawks went right back to work and led 34-12 before Fromm scored on a drive to the basket.

Scotland County was unable to move the margin from 20 points for the remainder of the second period despite a pair of buckets from Jessie Cotton, including a put back at the buzzer that left the score at 46-26.

The two teams went toe-to-toe in the third period. Scotland County picked up the intensity in every aspect. The Lady Tigers crashed the boards on offense. Fromm and Amy Blomme both scored on offensive rebounds to start the third period. Blomme followed that up with a three pointer yet SCR-I still trailed 53-33.

Scotland County got it done on defense in the third period as well, slowing down the mighty Hawks for just 13 points in the period. Fromm closed out the period with the final six points to make the score 59-39.

Mallett had a couple buckets early in the fourth period but with the deficit still in double figures Coach Dabney turned to her bench early in the fourth quarter as she bid farewell to her five seniors - Meagan Fromm, Amy Blomme, Katie Kittle, Jennifer Crawford and Amber Brush.

Fromm closed out her four-year career at Scotland County by scoring 23 points and grabbing 13 rebounds against arguably the best team in the state.

Tipton led Clopton with 27 points on a tremendous shooting performance that saw her miss only two shots all night. The team's lone senior Richele Dorsey pitched in with 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds from her guard spot to help lead her team to its 24th straight victory.

Clopton, the #1 ranked team in Missouri Class 2 advanced to the second round of the playoffs where the Hawks dispatched Fayette (21-7) 72-61. Clopton will take on perennial power-house St. Joseph Academy (27-2) in the semi-finals March 20. Skyline (27-4) will take on Stoutland (27-3) in the other semifinal.

The class 2 championship game is slotted for 2:00 p.m. Friday, March 21 at the Hearnes Center in Columbia.

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