December 25, 2008

Panthers Pull Away From SCR-I In Final Minute for 47-42 Win

Mother Nature has been hard on Scotland Countyís basketball schedule early in the year. Inclement weather has forced several date changes for SCR-I. The Tigers looked every bit like a team that had limited practice time over the past 10 days when the weather finally did allow the squad to take the court on Saturday afternoon in Quincy, IL against Monroe City. The Panthers pulled away in the final minute to prevail 47-42.

The Tigers tipped off against Monroe City in the John Wood Community College Rumble on the River appearing like the layoff had limited effects on the team. Jacob Howard nailed a pair of free throws and Andrew Duley knocked down a three pointer as the Tigers jumped out to the early lead. But the only other scoring of the first period was a free throw by Kyle Shelley as the Panthers pounced on SCR-I to take a 10-6 lead.

Monroe City utilized a 1-3-1 defense to cause fits for the SCR-I ballhandlers. The Tigers struggled to get into the offense. The Panthers took advantage of several Scotland County turnovers to build a 14-6 lead early in the second period.

But despite the havoc created by the unusual defense, Monroe City was unable to pull away. Scotland County took advantage of the Panthers poor shooting performance to rally. After a Brandon Garnett free throw, Harley Stone converted a field goal in the paint. The freshman then stole the inbounds pass and scored the layup to make it 16-15 and force a Monroe City timeout with 4:51 left in the first half.

Thatís where the score remained over the next three minutes before Scotland County finally broke the scoring drought with a bucket by Howard with 1:46 on the clock. SCR-I retook the lead when Garnett scored in the paint on a nice pass from Howard making it 17-16.

The two squads traded buckets over the final minute before Monroe City finally went ahead 20-19 at the break.

The third period saw half a dozen lead changes as the momentum swung back and forth. Stone put the Tigers ahead 23-22 with 4:49 to play and followed that up with a three-point play on the next possession. But the Panthers battled back to tie the score at 29-29 to close the quarter.

Monore City opened the fourth quarter with a 4-0 run to force an SCR-I timeout with 5:53 left to play. The Tigers responded. Shelley converted a three point play to pull SCR-I back to within one. But the Tigers rally hopes took a big blow when Stone went to the bench with an ankle injury. SCR-I then lost Howard, who fouled out with 1:05 left to play.

Shelley kept SCR-I close, making three of four free throws before scoring in the paint to allow the Tigers too regain the lead 38-37 with 1:45 left to play.

Kasey Dial retied the game with a free throw at the 1:28 mark. But after Monroe City made one of two free throws, the Panthers got the ball back and knocked down a three-pointer with 40 ticks left on the clock.

The Tigers couldnít convert on the next two possessions, missing a pair of three point attempts. Forced to foul to stop the clock, SCR-I saw the game slip away as Monroe City made its free throws down the stretch to seal the 47-42 defeat.

Scotland County (2-5) dropped its fourth straight contest after opening the year 2-1. The team continues to struggle to find offense from the perimeter, as SCR-I made just one three pointer. Shelley continued his strong play of late, leading the Tigers with 14 points on the night. Howard finished with 10 points and Stone added nine before suffering the ankle injury.

The Tigers will get back to work on January 2nd when they host Knox County in a contest rescheduled from December 19th before heading to the Highland Tourney.

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