December 25, 2003

Tigers Topple Third Conference Foe Of Season With Win Over Eagles

It was the Tigers first really close game of the year, and it showed. Scotland County had a double-digit lead late in the fourth period but had to stave off a late charge by Knox County to secure the 44-38 victory.

We played like we were losing by eight points instead of winning by eight points, said coach Ryan Brown. But that was our first close game of the year and the kids didnt really know how to handle it. It was good experience for us and hopefully well be able to take advantage of it down the road.

Scotland County opened an early lead behind the post play of Clint Cottrell. The senior forward scored the first two baskets of the game for SCR-I and closed out the first quarter with another score.

But the Eagles battled back in front of the packed crowd in Edina to tie the game at 13-13 to close the first quarter.

Knox County took its first lead of the contest to start the second period before Greg Neagle scored in the paint. Jared Shelley followed that with a three pointer to give the Tigers the lead back for good.

But while SCR-I never relinquished its advantage, the Tigers never really put the game away either.

Cottrell forced a Knox County timeout with back to back buckets midway through the second period. But that was the last tally for the Tigers as they were held scoreless the remaining 3:31 in the first half.

Scotland Countys defense did the job though, limiting the Eagles to just two points over that span to maintain a 24-21 lead at the break.

I felt like we played good defense tonight and that has been one of our strengths all season, coach Brown said.

Knox County made a run to start the third period. After Danny Roach opened the quarter with a jumper, the Eagles went on a 6-0 run to pull ahead 27-26 and force an SCR-I timeout with 5:42 on the clock.

The stoppage worked as the Tigers came out of the timeout on a mission. Cody Holt scored on a drive to the rack and Roach followed that up with a three pointer to put SCR-I on top 31-27.

Cottrell hit his first three pointer of the season from the corner and followed that up with an easy basket in the paint on a nice pass from Neagle to give Scotland County its largest lead of the night at 36-27 to close the quarter.

After a slow start to the fourth period offensively, SCR-I began milking the clock, hoping to hold onto the lead.

Aaron Dale hit two free throws early in the quarter. That proved to be the lone points for Scotland County until Danny Roach hit two from the charity stripe with 2:26 left in the game. During that time Knox County had whittled the lead down to 38-33.

They really clamped down on defense in the fourth quarter, coach Brown said. We couldnt get anything to fall when we did get a good look at the basket. It was like there was a lid on the hoop.

The Tigers struggled trying to run the clock and took a couple ill-advised shots that further opened the door for the home team. Knox County took advantage of the breaks and pulled within three points at 40-37 with 1:08 left in the contest.

After a key defensive stop by the Tigers, Roach made one of two free throws. The miss was tipped back out and the Tigers controlled the rebound, burning valuable time off the clock before Roach was fouled again.

He again made one of two before Cody Holt iced the game with a pair of free throws to seal the 44-38 victory.

The Tigers were led in scoring by Clint Cottrell with 15 points. Danny Roach chimed in with 13 points. SCR-I is now 3-4 on the year with non-conference wins over league opponents Milan, Clark County and Knox County.

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