January 10, 2008

Fourth Quarter Stampede Sends Mustangs Past Lady Tigers 40-34

A shortened bench and an inability to solve a stingy 1-3-1 zone defense ultimately spelled doom for the Scotland County girls in the consolation finals of the Highland Tournament on January 4th.

SCR-I worked to pound the ball inside and the strategy paid off in the first period as Kaitlin Caldwell had a pair of baskets in the paint. A bucket by Ashley Tague made it 8-6 to close the first period.

But turnovers began to take their toll in the second period. Overall SCR-I committed 33 turnovers on the night. Oldham scored on the fast break and then went one of two at the free throw line on back-to-back possessions to put her team on top 12-7 with 3:17 to play in the first half.

Cheyenne Ward and Kelsey Frazier both converted two free throws late in the second period but Unity of Mendon battled back to trail 16-15 at the break.

In the third period, the Mustangs took their first lead since early in the first period. Caldwell reclaimed the advantage for SCR-I with a bucket in the paint. But Oldham was forced out of the game with a shoulder injury, further depleting the bench that has lost Jessica Bair, who has left the team.

Unity went on a 7-0 run that finally ended with a basket by Ward. Kirsten Johnston’s jumper trimmed the deficit to 24-22 to end the third period.

Johnston scored the first four points of the final period to tie the game at 26-26. But The Mustangs immediately ran out to a 33-28 advantage before Ashley Tague scored on the fast break with 3:41 left to play.

SCR-I was never able to get over the hump in the final minutes. Melissa Cotton hit a three pointer with 1:06 remaining on the clock but Unity held on for the 40-34 victory.

“As a whole I thought we played our best game of the season, effort-wise,” said Coach T.J. Young. “Our effort was outstanding. We were flying around after loose balls and battling for every minute. This game is a step in the right direction for our program. If we can consistently get this kind of effort from each person, the mistakes will start to dwindle down.”

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