January 6, 2005

Lady Tigers Outlast Highland In Overtime For 59-57 Win

When a three-point lead disappears in the blink of an eye in the gameís final seconds, most coaches would be livid with their teams. But despite two crucial turnovers in the contestís final 45 seconds, Scotland County Coach Kelli Swearingen was all smiles when her team came to the bench, trailing by two points with just 14 seconds left in the game.

She told her team it was all right and there was plenty of time left for the Lady Tigers to rally. While she may have simply been trying to instill some optimism in her club, she proved correct as SCR-I tied the game and went on to defeat Highland 59-57 in overtime in the opening round of the 33rd annual Highland Tournament on January 3.

SCR-I came out a bit sluggish in its first game in two weeks. Highland jumped out to a 6-0 lead before Ali Fromm connected for the teamís first points nearly four minutes into the contest.

The Lady Tigers got back into the contest quickly as Ashlee Frederick drilled a three pointer. Valerie Crawford then stole the Highland inbounds pass and scored. Rebecca Consbrock scored on an offensive rebound before Angie Bulen tied the game at 11-11 with a bucket in the paint.

Fromm put her team ahead in the second period when she converted a three-point play. She followed that up with a jumper from behind the arc to make the score 20-14 in favor of SCR-I with 5:06 left in the second quarter.

The Cougars clawed back into the contest as Scotland County went scoreless over the next four minutes. Frederick ended the drought with a layup with 90 seconds left in the half. Consbrock scored on a drive to the hoop before Fromm hit a jumper to end the first half with Scotland County ahead 26-21.

The Lady Tigers threatened to blow the game open starting the third period. Fromm hit back-to-back three pointers to expand the lead to 32-23.

But Highland remained in striking distance despite three pointers from Crawford and Fromm. A three-point play by Rebecca Consbrock pushed the advantage to its biggest margin at 45-35 before Highland trimmed the deficit to six heading into the fourth period.

Highland took the momentum to start the final period pulling to within 45-44 before Crawford scored in the paint with 3:57 left in the game. Fromm then blocked a Cougar shot from behind, snatched up the loose ball and went coast to coast to put the Lady Tigers on top 49-44.

The lead stayed at five points courtesy of two free throws by Fromm with just over one minute to play. But SCR-I committed a pair of costly turnovers in the next 45 seconds. Amber Anders made SCR-I pay as she drilled a deep three pointer to tie the game and then stole the inbounds pass and scored with 14.7 seconds left in the game to give Highland its first lead since the opening period.

But SCR-I did not fold. The Lady Tigers got the ball inbounds to Crawford who broke the Highland press and dribbled to the corner. She beat a double team and found Bulen wide open underneath the bucket for an easy score to tie the game at 53-53 and force overtime.

The Lady Cougars drew first blood in the extended period before SCR-I drew even on a pair of free throws by Fromm. Crawford kept the score knotted with two free throws with 1:47 left to play. After Highland tied the game at 57-57, Fromm took the ball to the hoop and was fouled. She nailed the clutch free throws with 10 seconds left to give SCR-I the 59-57 win.

SCR-I (5-3) knocked off Highland (3-6) without Brittney Courtright and Jamie Fuller who were in street clothes due to injuries. The Lady Tigers advance to play the top seeded Clark County on Wednesday night.

Fromm poured in 31 points to lead all scorers. Crawford and Consbrock each finished with nine points.

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