December 9, 2004

Lady Tigers Cage Cougars In Hoops Home Opener

It wasn’t a perfect performance from start to finish but the Scotland County Lady Tigers had more than enough in the middle to best Highland 60-51 in the team’s home opener in Memphis December 2.

Highland opened a 15-8 lead in the first period before Ali Fromm hit her second three pointer of the period. Ashlee Frederick nailed a jumper at the buzzer to cut the Cougars advantage to 17-15 after one quarter.

The teams traded the lead back and forth to start the second period as Jamie Fuller and Valerie Crawford both connected on three pointers. Fuller’s two free throws put SCR-I ahead 23-21 at the 4:43 mark.

Angie Bulen scored on an offensive rebound followed by back-to-back scores from Fromm. Brittney Courtright’s jumper made it 31-25 in favor of the Lady Tigers at the intermission.

“In the first half we were bombing away from the outside,” said coach Kelli Swearingen. “That’s sort of our philosophy, to take the perimeter shots early, knowing that is going to open up the inside game for us to take advantage of later.”

SCR-I went to work in the paint in the third period taking advantage of the strong shooting in the first half. Fromm penetrated to the bucket for her first bucket of the third quarter. Courtright then scored in the paint on a nice pass from Rebecca Consbrock. The junior forward returned the favor, dishing out an assist to Crawford underneath the basket. Courtright then scored on an offensive rebound to push Scotland County ahead 39-33.

Crawford scored on an offensive rebound and Consbrock hit a jumper on another assist from Courtright as SCR-I began to pull away.

With the post game forcing Highland to sag down on defense, SCR-I went back to the perimeter. Fromm nailed a three pointer before Fuller caught fire. The junior forward hit three straight shots from behind the arc to make the score 55-37 to close out the third period.

“That’s something she [Fuller] has added to her game this year,” Swearingen said. “Jamie is an excellent athlete that can really take the ball to the basket. She’s worked on her perimeter game and it showed tonight.”

Despite the 18-point deficit, Highland did not give in. Amber Anders helped the Cougars cut the margin back to single digits. Courtright stopped the run with a jumper from the free-throw line, SCR-I’s first bucket of the fourth period, at the 3:30 mark. Fromm closed the door on Highland with a three-point play in the final minutes to preserve the win.

“This happened to us a lot last year as we were unable to put teams away,” Swearingen said. “We had a big lead, so the girls became timid on offense. I’m hoping this year, we are more experienced and have learned we have to finish strong. We only scored five points in the fourth quarter but we never stopped playing defense, and that was the difference.

Fromm finished with 21 points to lead all scorers. Fuller chipped in with 16 points. Crawford added eight points and Courtright finished with eight for a well-balanced attack.

“That’s going to be our strength,” Swearingen said. “Ali is going to get her points most nights, but on any given night we have lots of other options that should combine to give us two or three players in double digits. Our depth means there will be lots of different names in the box score each night.”

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