January 8, 2004

Lady Tigers Welcomed Back From Break With Roller-Coaster Ride To 52-49 Win

It was a roller coaster ride with plenty of ups and downs but the Scotland County Lady Tigers ended up on top of the ride with a 52-49 win over Hannibal in the opening round of the 32nd Annual Highland Invitational Tournament January 5.

SCR-I jumped out to an 8-2 lead behind a pair of buckets by Brittney Courtright in the opening minutes of the game. But the Lady Tigers cooled off and scored just three more points in the period but still led 11-6 to close the first quarter.

A full court press and up-tempo style of offense fueled a big run in the second period for Scotland County. Valerie Crawford came off the bench to spark a 7-0 run hitting a three pointer to make the score 18-6 and force a timeout by Hannibal with 5:43 left in the first half.

The Pirates rallied and pulled to within four points before Crawford found Becky Miller with a nice pass for an easy score in the paint. Ali Fromm hit four straight free throws down the stretch before Crawford scored on a nifty reverse lay up as time ran out on the first half with Scotland County ahead 31-23.

Hannibal refused to go quietly. Jessie Cotton did her best to end the night for Hannibal running off seven straight points to start the third period. Her three pointer put the Lady Tigers on top 38-31 and forced a Hannibal timeout at the 3:05 mark.

Fromm scored on a drive to the basket before Cotton hit another jumper but Scotland County could not shake Hannibal, which stayed within striking distance at 42-37 to end the third quarter.

After Courtright nailed a jumper to start the fourth period the SCR-I offense went cold. Hannibal did not fair much better but finally did pull even at 44-44 with 3:52 left in the game.

The Lady Tigers clamped down on defense in the final three minutes of the contest. Both teams went nearly two minutes without a tally before a free throw by Fromm broke the tie. Angie Bulen scored on the fast break to give SCR-I a three-point cushion with two minutes to play.

A free throw by Ashlee Frederick made it a two-possession contest. Hannibal got a free throw on its next offensive trip and followed that up with a three pointer to tie the game at 48-48 with just 60 seconds left to play.

The lead went back to SCR-I when Ali Fromm drove around the Hannibal defense and found Brandi Mallett open underneath for the easy score.

But with less than 30 seconds to play the Lady Tigers fouled on defense and sent Hannibal to the free throw line where the lead was trimmed to just one point.

Scotland County then turned the ball over on offense and gave Hannibal yet another shot.

Fortunately the SCR-I defense held and the Lady Tigers stopped Hannibal and put the game away on the other end with a fast break bucket by Mallett.

Hannibal got one last shot with just under four seconds left on the clock. The Pirates advanced the ball and got a three pointer off at the buzzer but it fell short and SCR-I prevailed 52-49.

Scotland County improved to 4-4 with the win and advanced to the tourney semifinals January 7 to take on top seeded Clark County which was an easy winner over Knox County in another opening round game Monday night.

Cotton led the Lady Tigers in scoring with 13 points on the night while Fromm finished with 10. Courtright aided the cause with eight points and Mallett added six points in the winning effort.

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