January 15, 2004
Lady Tigers Outscore Brownlee Twins To Win Shootout In Third Place Game
SCR-I had its best offensive game of the year and the Lady Tigers needed it as Warsaw’s sister duo combined for 48 points in the 72-70 Scotland County win.
The name Ashley Brownlee is familiar to Scotland County basketball fans. Two years ago as a freshman the Warsaw standout set the single game scoring record at the Highland Tourney against SCR-I pouring in 42 points.
Needless to say Brownlee was the center of attention for the SCR-I defense when the two teams met Friday night in the third place game of the tournament.
SCR-I’s Jessie Cotton, a member of the team two years earlier, drew the unenviable task of guarding Brownlee.
“I told Jessie before the game that I didn’t care if she scored a point all night on offense, her main job was to stay with Brownlee on defense,” said coach Kelly Swearingen. “I knew we weren’t going to shut her out I just hoped we could keep her in check.”
Little did Swearingen realize that not only would Cotton keep the clamps on Brownlee on defense, but the team’s point guard would also have her biggest scoring night of her career. The senior scored 22 points to help lead her team to the 72-70 win.
While the offense of Ashley Brownlee and her twin sister Brittany was the talk of the tourney it was the Scotland County scoring that stole the show.
The Tigers put up at least 20 points in each of the three quarters, proving that when it had trouble slowing down the Brownlees the next best thing was outscoring them.
SCR-I set the tone in the first period with a balanced scoring attack. Five different girls got into the scorebook led by Ali Fromm with seven points to help put the Lady Tigers on top 20-15. Ashley Brownlee was held to just three points in the opening period.
The second quarter was more of the same. While there was no precipitation in the forecast it definitely began to rain in the gym. Scotland County poured in three of its season-high eight three pointers of the game in the second period to build a 41-29 advantage at halftime.
“This was by far the most aggressive we have played on offense,” said coach Swearingen. “We’d hit nine three pointers all year long and we nearly made that many tonight alone, so we didn’t pass up too many looks at the basket.”
Cotton came alive on offense hitting a pair of triples as she and Fromm combined for 16 points in the period.
The scoring show continued for round three. Fittingly for period three it was more three pointers that sparked SCR-I. Fromm, Cotton and Valerie Crawford each hit from behind the arc. Cotton had nine points in the quarter to keep the team’s lead in double-digits at 61-51.
“This was our first opportunity to follow our boys game so we knew there would be a big crowd on hand so I told the girls that we needed to be aggressive and put on a good show,” Swearingen said. “We’re used to playing first when a lot of the fans don’t show up until halftime to watch the boys game. So with the big crowd here tonight we had a season-high in points. Maybe the high-scoring show will get folks to come out and watch us when we get back home.”
But after being held to just nine first half points, Ashley Brownlee came to life down the stretch and nearly brought her team back.
After Fromm opened the final quarter with a jumper, SCR-I saw its lead dip from 12 points to only six with 4:31 left in the game.
Fouls started to mount for Scotland County, which saw both Brandi Mallett and Jamie Fuller foul out late in the fourth quarter.
Warsaw took advantage of the free throw line while SCR-I missed several free throws down the stretch to leave the door open. With 2:20 left to play the Lady Wildcats tied the game at 63-63.
Fromm gave her team the lead back with a three-point play with 1:12 remaining. Ashley Brownlee tied the score with a free throw with 46 ticks left on the clock.
Rebecca Consbrock hit a pair of free throws to make it a two point game but Brownlee came right back and tied the contest at the charity stripe with 37 seconds to play.
Crawford gave the Lady Tigers the lead for good when she hit one free throw with 20 seconds to play.
Cotton made a huge defensive stop at mid court when she stole the ball from Brownlee and forced a jump ball.
Fromm made two clutch free throws to make it a three-point lead but SCR-I committed a foul on defense that let Warsaw stop the clock and trim the deficit to 72-70.
Warsaw got one final chance when SCR-I missed two free throws with nine seconds left in the game. Brittany Brownlee got a good look at a three pointer from the corner but missed the shot as the buzzer sounded.
Scotland County improved to 5-5 with the win, bringing home the third place trophy. Fromm led Scotland County in scoring with 27 points while Cotton chimed in with 22 points. After a slow start Ashley Brownlee ended up with 30 points on the night while Brittany Brownlee had 18.