March 11, 2004
Canton Canít Be Stopped As Tigers Upset Bid Falls Short
Ask anyone, going into Friday nightís Class 2 District 5 Championship game and they would tell you the key to a Scotland County victory would be shutting down Cantonís all-state guard Aaron Hill.
The Tigers did just that for much of the contest but it was ultimately SCR-Iís own scoring troubles that allowed the top seeded Wildcats to escape with a 61-40 win.
In a game that few gave SCR-I a chance to win, the Tigers came to play, and that is a tribute of first-year coach Ryan Brown and his senior-laden squad.
Scotland County opened the game with a perfect defensive plan. Jared Shelley drew the unenviable task of checking Hill one-on-one as the rest of team played a box zone.
Shelley and the Tigers shut out Hill in the first period. The junior also contributed on the offensive end, hitting a three pointer to put his team on top 7-5. Cody Holt sank a pair of buckets in the opening period as well as the two teams played to a 9-9 tie.
The second period was all Canton. Scotland Countyís lone two points came on a pair of free throws by Aaron Dale. That allowed the Wildcats to build a 24-11 bulge at the intermission.
Scotland County did not give up. The Tigers made a valiant run in the third period. Dale opened the period with a driving score. The emotional senior fired up his team and the march was on. Clint Cottrell scored on a fastbreak before a jumper by Holt made the score 24-17.
The Tigers didnít stop there. Greg Neagle scored in the paint and then Danny Roach brought SCR-I within two points when he drilled a three pointer.
The Tigers had a pair of chances to tie the game or even to pull ahead but Hill drilled a deep three pointer to give Canton some breathing room.
Dale grabbed the momentum right back when he nailed a three pointer of his own to make the score 28-26 in favor of the Wildcats.
But Hill responded with another three pointer from well outside the arc, as the game started to slip away from the Tigers.
Cottrell and Dale each added buckets late in the third period to keep SCR-I within 35-30 at the end of the quarter.
After a very quiet first half, Hill put the game away for Canton from behind the arc and at the free-throw line. Hillís final three pointer fell at the 4:07 mark and made the score 48-30.
Shelley stripped Hill and took it in for a lay-up to give the Tigers their first points of the fourth period. Roach hit a pair of late three pointers but it was not enough as Canton went on to the 61-40 victory.
Scotland County ended the year with a 13-14 record. The Tigers were led in scoring by Dale with 11 points and Roach with 10. Cottrell and Holt each closed out their careers with six points.