March 11, 2004

Wildcats Spoil SCR-Iís Search For Second Straight District Title

Scotland County fans were hoping for an upset Friday night, but they were wishing the surprise victory would come in the late game. Unfortunately for SCR-I the underdog showed up a little too early as the second seed Canton girls shocked the Lady Tigers 57-49 behind a stellar shooting performance.

The teams traded buckets early on as the game was tied 6-6 at the 4:26 mark. But Canton went ahead 11-6 as the Scotland County offense stalled a bit. Ali Fromm scored a couple of buckets to bring her team back before the Wildcats drilled a three pointer at the buzzer, a sign of things to come.

With Canton leading 18-12, Fromm decided to take things into her own hands. After scoring seven points in the first period, the sophomore guard hit back-to-back buckets to pull her team within 18-14 and force a Canton time out.

After Brittney Courtright hit a jumper from the free throw line, Fromm nailed a three pointer to make the score 24-21 in favor of Canton. But the Wildcats once again had the answer, hitting a pair of three pointers, including another as time expired to make the score 29-21. The three pointer hurt but not nearly as bad as the results of the play as Fromm went down with a twisted ankle trying to defend the shooter and was lost for the rest of the game.

Fromm scored 16 of the teamís 21 first-half points. The third period started off much like the first half, but without Fromm there simply were no points.

But SCR-I did not fold. The Lady Tigers defense held strong, allowing just three points to Canton before Ashlee Frederick hit a three pointer with 2:24 left in the third period for Scotland Countyís first bucket of the second half.

Jamie Fuller scored on a nice move to the bucket on the next possession and Canton was forced to take another time-out as the teamís lead shrank to 32-26 with 2:08 left in the third period.

The stoppage didnít help Canton as the SCR-I defense came up big and forced a turnover.

Enter instant offense. Coach Kelli Swearingen called out the play and told Jessie Cotton to hit the three pointer. The senior did just what she was told. But Cotton wasnít done. After another stop on the defensive end Cotton scored in transition to cut the deficit to 34-31. The rally came full swing when Courtright made a big block on the defense. Cotton spotted up on the other end and hit the three pointer to tie the game at 34-34.

But there was still time for Canton. The Wildcats stole the momentum right back hitting yet another three pointer at the buzzer as the third quarter ended with the Wildcats leading 37-34.

Scotland County saw its hopes for a second straight district title begin slipping away in the fourth period. Canton simply did not miss. The Wildcats executed well and then converted with points on the first six possessions of the final quarter to build a comfortable margin.

Courtright hit a pair of jumpers to keep SCR-I within striking distance. A three pointer by Cotton made the score 52-41 with just over three minutes to play.

Scotland County trimmed the lead under double digits but never could move into striking distance down the stretch as Cantonís Stephanie Hill put the game away from the free-throw line. Hill had 12 of her game-high 17 points in the final period to secure the 57-49 Canton victory.

Fromm ended the contest as the Lady Tigers leading scorer with 16 points. Cotton closed out her solid career as a Lady Tiger with 12 points and Courtright added eight. Scotland County closed out the year with a 15-13 mark. Canton will now play Clopton, the #1 ranked team in the state.

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