February 16, 2012

SCR-I 'Gets the Bulldog Off its Back' With 52-48 Win Over La Plata

Brice Cowell

You've heard of getting the monkey off your back, well after years of trying, the Scotland County boys basketball team finally got the Bulldog off its back on Thursday night in Memphis.

SCR-I seniors Harley Stone, Andrew Mathes and Drew Miller had never beaten La Plata in their high school careers. They had already had two shots at the Bulldogs this season, falling to their nemesis in the Novinger Tournament to open the season before the most excruciating loss of them all, on January 20th. The Tigers had the state-ranked Bulldogs on the ropes in the finals of the North Shelby Tournament. But a 20-point lead disappeared, and La Plata continued its dominance of SCR-I with an overtime win.

That was not the case in Memphis, as SCR-I made its early lead hold up despite numerous runs by the Bulldogs.

Brice Cowell opened the scoring with a bucket on an offensive rebound. La Plata momentarily took the lead on a three pointer, but that proved to be the lone time the Bulldogs were on top of the score board at 3-2.

Mathes converted on the fast break to give the Tigers the lead for good at 4-3. SCR-I attacked the La Plata full court press all night, taking advantage of scoring opportunities in the transition game.

After free throws by Stone and Cowell pushed the lead to 7-3, Mathes scored in the paint. But it was on the defensive end where he brought the crowd to its feet. The senior center emphatically swatted a La Plata shot attempt into the band area, setting the tone for the night.

The Tigers were able to overcome some early foul trouble that hampered Stone and Cordie Kigar. The later drilled a three pointer before Mathes closed out the first period with another fast break hoop to push the lead to 16-12.

Drew Miller

SCR-I opened strong in the second period. Jacob Blessing scored on a drive to the basket before Miller drained a three pointer to extend the margin to 21-12.

The Bulldogs responded with a 6-0 run to force an SCR-I timeout with 5:27 left in the second quarter. La Plata kept the pressure on, trimming the deficit to 22-21 before the Tigers went on a 6-1 run to end the first half with a 28-23 lead.

SCR-I looked poised to blow the game open in the third period as Kigar drilled a three pointer and Stone converted a three-point play to extend the margin to double digits at 34-24. Cowell converted on the fast break to give the Tigers their biggest lead of the night at 36-24. But turnovers began to take their toll on the Tigers and La Plata went on an 8-0 run to trim the deficit to 36-32 with 3:30 left in the third period.

Miller ended the run with a three pointer to give SCR-I some breathing room before Mathes scored on offensive rebounds on back-to-back possessions to make the score 43-32 heading into the fourth quarter. The senior dominated the interior play on the night, grabbing 16 rebounds and blocking three shots.

Harley Stone

The Tigers again extended the lead to double digits as Stone scored on a pair of fast breaks after SCR-I broke the La Plata press. Neither team could get much going on offense over the next four minutes. A jumper by Miller made the score 49-41 with 2:41 left to play.

The Bulldogs kept whittling away at the lead, making it 49-46 before Mathes made one of two free throws with 44.3 seconds left to play. La Plata made it a one possession game with a basket with just 24 ticks left on the clock and had a shot to tie the game after forcing a steal on the press. But Stone stepped up and saved the day, stealing the ball back.

Miller sealed the win with a pair of clutch free throws that made the final margin 52-48.

Mathes and Stone each had 12 points to lead SCR-I (8-11) in scoring. Miller finished with 10 points and Cowell had eight points. La Plata (15-6) was led in scoring by Peyton Swift with 16 points and Tanner Riggins and Weston Smith each added 10 points.

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