March 18, 2010

District Title Hopes Slip Away From Tigers in Second Half

One of the worse losses of the season for Scotland County came at the hands of conference rival Putnam County. The Midgets looked poised to stand tall once again over SCR-I after opening the Class 2 District 14 championship game with a 12-4 lead over the Tigers on Saturday in Memphis.

But the Tigers refused to go away quietly. The third seeded SCR-I squad fell behind 5-0 before Brandon Garnett hit a pair of free throws. The senior converted on a drive to the hoop to make it 5-4 with 5:17 left to play in the first period. Putnam County closed the quarter on a 7-0 run to lead by eight.

Andrew Mathes goes up for the reverse lay up while Kasey Dial moves into rebounding position for the Tigers.

Scotland County came storming back in the second period. With the score 14-4, Andrew Mathes scored in the paint. Kasey Dial followed with a three pointer to trim the deficit to 14-9 with 5:37 left in the first half.

Trailing 18-9 midway through the period the Tigers put together an 11-0 run to close out the first half and head to the locker room with its first lead of the game at 20-18. Garnett fueled the run with six points, including back-to-back hoops as time ran out on the second period. Brock Bondurant scored on a nice in- bounds play and Dakota Wells knocked down a three pointer during the key stretch.

The momentum carried over into the third period. Garnett broke down the defense off the dribble and found Mathes with a nice pass. The sophomore forward, who has been thrust into a starting roll after season-ending injuries to Kyle Shelley and Derrick Muntz, made the basket and was fouled on the shot. After he completed the three point play, Dial added three points from behind the arc, giving Scotland County a 26-20 lead.

But Putnam County’s Blane Robinson brought the Midgets right back with some sharp shooting of his own. The Midgets point guard hit three three pointers in the third period and turned a six point deficit into a three point lead.

SCR-I regained the lead after Bondurant and Mathes scored in the paint to make it 30-29. Putnam County then closed the third quarter on a 6-0 run to lead 35-30.

The undermanned Tigers appeared to simply run out of gas in the fourth quarter. Playing with out three key players due to injury, SCR-I used a seven-man rotation that was wore down by Putnam County’s depth.

All-conference standout Daniel Mallette came to life in the second half for the Midgets. He and Robinson combined for all 17 Putnam County points in the key third quarter.

The Midgets continued to roll in the final eight minutes. Putnam County opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run. Harley Stone finally broke the streak with a basket with 3:34 left in the game but SCR-I trailed 43-32. The Midgets made seven of 10 free throws down the stretch to seal the 50-34 win.

Scotland County finished the year with a 12-15 record. Garnett scored eight points in his final contest to lead the Tigers. Mathes had seven points and Dial and Stone each added six points.

Mallette led Putnam County (11-7) with 16 points. Robinson finished with 13 points and Nolan Wood added 12 points. The Midgets advance to play District #13 champions Sturgeon (28-0) at MACC in Moberly on March 10 at 7:30 p.m.

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