March 4, 2004

Seniors Batter Bulldogs 55-42 In Regular Season Finale

Friday night’s game was the season finale for Scotland County R-I and marked the final home game for five SCR-I seniors who started together for the first time all season. Senior night for a senior dominated team might mean a lot of jitters. But if the Tigers were nervous, they sure didn’t show it.

“We knew this was a big night for these guys and they would have a lot on their minds, so we put the game plan down on paper for them to let them have it right in front of them as we prepared,” said Coach Ryan Brown. “The idea was to give them something to focus on, to help take care of the nerves. It worked good enough that we may continue the idea next week at districts.”

Danny Roach drilled a three pointer to open the game and the Tigers started rolling from there. Clint Cottrell had a pair of buckets in the opening minutes as SCR-I pulled ahead. Roach made it a 13-6 lead when he nailed a double-clutch three-pointer at the buzzer.

After the senior point guard hit a jumper and Jared Shelley scored on a lay up Brookfield was forced to call a timeout trailing 17-8. The Tigers kept pouring it on. Roach hit another jump shot and then found Greg Neagle in the paint with a nice pass for an easy score. Cody Holt’s athletic reverse la-up made the score 23-10 and forced another Bulldogs timeout.

For about five minutes it appeared like Brookfield might spoil the season finale for SCR-I. An 11-1 run by the Bulldogs upset the celebration for Scotland County heading into halftime and starting the third period.

“They had a good spurt to end the first half and then really came out with a lot more intensity to start the third period,” Coach Ryan Brown said of Brookfield. “They made their run with their defensive pressure.”

But the Tigers would not let Brookfield rain on their parade. After the Bulldogs pulled to within 24-21, SCR-I responded with a 15-3 run of its own to blow the game wide open.

“We finally got the press breaker organized,’ Brown said. “We had to burn a couple of timeouts to do it, but once we switched a couple of guys around, it started working. We want to look to attack the press, and that’s what we did, getting a lot of three-on-two fast breaks for scores.”

Senior Aaron Dale did the bulk of the damage scoring seven quick points during the spurt. He also dished out a nifty assist to Greg Neagle for a three point-play that put the Tigers over the top 39-27.

Scotland County continued to pile it on to start the fourth period as the advantage swelled to as many as 19 points before Brookfield trimmed the final margin to 55-42.

The Tigers hit 22 of 44 shot attempts to shoot 50-percent from the field.

“That was the first time all year we had shot that well,” Brown said. “It was really good to see us hit the 50-percent mark. Now we just hope it carries on into next week.”

Roach and Neagle each had 12 points on the evening to pace Scotland County. Dale finished with 10 points. Clint Cottrell added eight points and Cody Holt finished with seven. Sean Woods was the fifth senior in the Tigers starting line-up.

“Sean played good defense and kept us in the flow of the game,” Brown said of the senior. “While he doesn’t normally start, we really didn’t miss a beat with him out there.”

The Tigers closed out the regular season with a 12-13 record. SCR-I was 4-3 in conference play.

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