December 14, 2006

Johnston Steals Win From Schuyler County

Stealing is legal in basketball. Scotland County guard Kirsten Johnston’s “thievery” helped the Lady Tigers escape Queen City on December 5th with a 42-40 victory.

The junior guard used her offense to get SCR-I off on the right foot. She scored the game’s first five points as the Lady Tigers opened up a 7-1 advanatge in the opening minutes after Jessica Bair connected on a jumper.

The Rams rallied to cut the deficit to 8-7 to end the first period.

Already without starter Kaela Cook who missed the game due to illness, SCR-I found itself shorthanded in the post after both Bair and Valerie Oldham picked up early foul trouble.

That forced Cheyenne Ward into the action. The sophomore responded in her first real varsity action. Ward scored six straight points for SCR-I to allow the Lady Tigers to pull ahead 16-12 midway through the second period.

“She really stepped up for us tonight,” said Coach Kelli Swearingen. “She is a bit undersized to play inside, but she handles herself well whereever I put her on the floor.”

But just as they had in the first period, Schuyler County closed out the quarter strong, erasing a 20-14 deficit to trail by just one at the intermission.

The Rams’ rally continued into the third period as Schuyler County started the quarter with a 6-0 run to pull ahead 25-20.

That is when Johnston’s pilfering helped bring her team back. After she nailed a jumper from the wing, Johnston stole the inbounds pass and converted a layup to cut the deficit to one point. She made it six straight points for SCR-I but it was her second steal that set up a jumper by Amanda Bogatzke to tie the contest at 28-28.

The Rams mounted another 6-0 run but Bair and Johnston teamed up to regain the lead for Scotland County. Bair converted a three point play before Johnston made her third steal of the period, going coast to coast for the score. Bair scored in the paint and then capped off the comeback, hitting a jumper at the buzzer that was set up by yet another steal by Johnston. That bucket put SCR-I on top 36-34.

Johnston and Melissa Cotton hit jumpers to start the fourth period and put the Lady Tigers ahead 40-34. That’s where the score stood with 3:30 left to play as SCR-I started to take the air out of the ball, slowing play down and forcing the Rams to foul to stop the clock and get the ball back.

Schuyler trimmed the deficit to 40-38 and had a couple opportunities to tie the contest after SCR-I failed to convert at the free-throw line.

After Johnston made one of two from the charity stripe, Schuyler County converted at the other end to trim the lead to 41-40 with 16.3 seconds to play.

Johnston made one of two free throws and Schuyler County had three chances to tie the game up but the buzzer sounded before Schuyler County could get the shots to fall, leaving SCR-I on top 42-40.

Johnston led all scorers with 19 points as SCR-I improved to 2-3. Bair finished with eight points. Schuyler County dropped to 0-2.

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