January 22, 2009

Conference Opener Slips Away From SCR-I in Final Seconds

Scotland County had plenty of opportunities to open Tri-Rivers Conference play with a win. But when the final buzzer sounded on Friday night in Edina, it was Knox County getting a leg up in the TRC with 32-30 victory.

SCR-I looked to put a damper on the Lady Eagles Courtwarming festivities, jumping out to a 6-2 lead behind baskets from Melissa Cotton and Kelsey Frazier. Knox County tied the score up after a timeout, but the Lady Tigers put on another spurt to lead 10-6 after buckets by Deidra Dochterman and Cotton.

Knox County rallied to lead 11-10 at the end of the first period. Cotton hit back-to-back shots as SCR-I regained the lead 14-11 with 4:13 left in the first half. Scotland County’s only other points came on a basket by Kaitlin Caldwell, but the Lady Tigers still led 16-14 at the intermission.

After Valerie Oldham hit a jumper to open the third period, Knox County responded with a 7-0 run to take the lead. Caldwell converted on a drive to the hoop for the only other third period points, allowing the home team to stay on top 23-20.

Scotland County battled back to open the fourth period. Betsey Kittle hit a jumper and Caldwell scored in the paint to put the Lady Tigers ahead 24-23. Frazier made a steal on defense and then converted on the other end on an assist by Ashley Tague to make it 26-23 with 4:55 left to play and force a Knox County timeout.

The next three minutes was a defensive struggle. The two teams combined for just a pair of field goals. Knox County knotted the score at 28-28 with 1:20 left to play. The advantage went back to SCR-I with 51.1 seconds on the clock when Frazier made one of two free throws. Cotton grabbed the rebound on a Knox County miss and Frazier was fouled on the other end. She again made one of two free throws to extend the lead to 30-28.

SCR-I again came up with a stop on defense, and Knox County was forced to foul Tague with 22.8 seconds left. But SCR-I missed the front end of the 1 and 1 and Knox County was able to tie the game with 7.5 seconds to play when Lorrie Peters converted in the paint. Tessa Ramer then stole the inbounds pass and SCR-I was forced to foul as she was headed in for the layup. Ramer drilled both free throws with 2.5 seconds left to play and SCR-I’s last second shot fell short allowing Knox to prevail 32-30.

“We’re still trying to learn how to win the close ones,” said coach Jaryt Hunziker. “We make our free throws and they cannot come back like that. But we have six more conference games and I know these girls will continue to work hard and get better. We just have to put this game behind us.”

Stacey Leckbee had 10 points to lead the Lady Eagles (5-6, 2-1 TRC) to help avenge an early season loss to Scotland County.

Cotton topped Scotland County (8-5, 0-1) with 10 points. Frazier and Caldwell each finished with six points.

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