January 8, 2009

Defense Fuels Last Minute Rally in 43-39 Win Over Knox County

A high school basketball game is 32 minutes long. If you can only lead one minute of that contest, obviously the last 60 seconds are the key.

Two free throws by Kaitlin Caldwell with 1:06 left to play gave Scotland County its first lead of the night and the Lady Tigers made that advantage stand up as SCR-I improved to 6-1 on the season with a 43-39 victory over Knox County in Memphis on January 2nd.

SCR-I struggled out of the gates. After Melissa Cotton tied the game at 2-2 with a pair of free throws, The Lady Eagles went on a 6-0 run. Ashley Tague broke the scoring drought with a basket at the 2:57 mark to trim the deficit to 8-4. Valerie Oldham and Kelsey Frazier both made one of two free throw attempts before Caldwell scored on an offensive rebound as the first quarter ended with Knox County ahead 14-8.

The offensive troubles carried over to the second period. Turnovers plagued SCR-I and when the Lady Tigers were able to get into the offense they appeared to be pressing, forcing bad shots that saw Scotland County go scoreless for nearly the first four minutes of the second period.

Fortunately for the home squad, the defensive effort more than made up for the scoring woes. SCR-I blanked Knox County over that same stretch.

Betsey Kittle hit three of four free throws to trim the deficit to 14-11 with 3:56 to play in the first half.

But Knox County converted a four-point play, scoring a basket and hitting two free throws for a foul committed after the shot.

Trailing 18-11, SCR-I turned to the perimeter for the answer. Cotton and Deidra Dochterman drilled back-to-back three pointers to bring SCR-I right back.

The Lady Eagles answered pushing the one-point lead back to five at 22-17 to end the half.

The margin grew to 25-17 to open the third period before Caldwell converted in the paint. Another three pointer by Dochterman was followed by a steal and a bucket by Cotton to once again pull SCR-I within one at 25-24.

The roller coaster ride continued for the home crowd. SCR-I fans saw their team fall behind by seven points before Oldham scored with 2:40 on the clock. Frazier and Caldwell went 6-6 from the charity stripe to end the period with their team down by just one point once again.

SCR-I opened the fourth period with both Oldham and Caldwell picking up their fourth fouls. Saddled with the foul troubles, SCR-I was unable to mount much scoring. Once again the team defense bailed the squad out.

A free throw by Cotton was the only scoring for the home team during the first four and a half minutes of the final period.

Tague got the ball rolling as she made a steal on defense and fed Oldham for the easy score making it 39-37 with 2:37 left to play.

Oldham then tied the game with a pair of free throws with 1:58 left on the clock.

Defense was the key once again. Tague blocked a Knox County shot. Oldham grabbed the lose ball allowing Caldwell to be fouled on the fast break. She made both free throws with 1:06 to play putting SCR-I ahead for the first time all night, 41-39.

The Lady Tigers made it interesting. They missed the front end of the 1-1 bonus on two straight trips to the free throw line, and went 2-6 at the charity stripe in the final 37 seconds but the defense shut out Knox County over the final two minutes to preserve the non-conference win.

Caldwell finished with 12 points to pace Scotland County. Cotton chipped in with eight points and Oldham added seven for the winners.

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