March 16, 2006

Clopton ‘Bombers’ Shoot Lady Tigers Out of State Playoffs

Clopton should consider a name change. After outscoring the Scotland County Lady Tigers 30-0 from behind the three-point arc, the Lady Hawks could be renamed the bombers. The reigning Class 2 state champions used the huge advantage from long distance to defeat SCR-I 74-44 in the Class 2 sectional at Hannibal March 8th.

The Lady Tigers went into the game as underdogs, in just the second state playoff appearance for the girls’ program. Clopton was looking to return to the state title game for the fourth straight season. After finishing second in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, the Lady Hawks took the title in 2004-05.

SCR-I took a huge hit before the opening tip-off, when the Lady Tigers learned they would be without the services of leading scorer Ali Fromm. The senior shooting guard missed her final high school game because of deep thigh contusion she suffered in the district title game four days earlier.

The loss seemed to inspire Scotland County in the early going. Senior Jamie Fuller scored the first basket of the game. Her jumper tied the contest at 4-4.

But Clopton finally got things going from long range. Megan Nacke and Alicia Turner each hit a pair of three pointers as Clopton began to put a little space between it and SCR-I.

A jumper by Kirsten Johnston made the score 6-13 with 1:13 left in the first period.

Ashlee Frederick hit a jumper to start the second period and Fuller scored on an offensive rebound cutting the Clopton lead to 19-10. But a 6-0 run by the Lady Hawks forced an SCR-I time-out. The stoppage didn’t stem the tide. Clopton scored six more unanswered points before Frederick ended the run with a driving move to the basket that made the score 31-12.

Fuller scored 10 first-half points and also grabbed seven rebounds as she tried to keep her team in the game.

With Angie Bulen on the bench with a pair of early fouls, Clopton also took advantage of the inside game of Alicia Wheeler. The center forward scored nine points in the first half as the Lady Hawks soared to the 37-20 lead at half time.

Clopton really got hot from behind the arc in the second half. The Lady Hawks made 5-of-10 attempts from three-point range keeping SCR-I from ever mounting a rally.

Bulen scored 10 points in the second half and Kirsten Johnston finished off her first career start with 11 points but it wasn’t enough as Clopton advanced to the state quarterfinals for the fourth straight year, beating SCR-I for the second time during that reign as sectional winner.

Fuller finished with 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead SCR-I in her final game.

Turner topped all scorers with 19 points to pace Clopton. She made five of 10 three pointers. Wheeler added 17 points and all stater Mikal Bencomo had 16 points while Nacke gave the team four players in double figures with 11 points.

Clopton went on to defeat Russellville 66-56 on March 11th in the quarterfinals to set-up a final four appearance in Columbia. The Lady Hawks will have to get by North Platte to try to defend their state title.

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