January 24, 2013

Dominating Defense Delivers Trophy for Lady Tigers

The dominating 1-2-2 full court trap deployed by Scotland County allowed the Lady Tigers to hold North Shelby to just five first-half points on Friday night. The five SCR-I defenders pictured are (L to R) Jessica Morrow, Alexis Dodge, Hailey Dial, Shay Wright and Katie Howard.

Looking at a shot chart after Friday night's third place game at the North Shelby Tournament, a statistician might say Scotland County struggled shooting the ball. Fortunately for SCR-I the scoreboard told a different story, as the Lady Tigers prevailed 40-27 over North Shelby behind a dominating defensive performance and huge advantage on the offensive glass.

North Shelby simply had no answer for Scotland County's swarming 1-2-2 full court trap pressure. Megan Creek, Hailey Dial and Randi Slaughter hounded the North Shelby ball handlers into numerous turnovers at the front of the press.

When the Raiders were able to get by the top of the press, Bethany Rader and Jessica Morrow made their work even more difficult. Rader forced numerous turnovers while Morrow erased several scoring threats with enough blocked shots to earn her a new nickname, No-More-O for the other team.

Unfortunately, SCR-I needed the staunch defense early on, as the shots simply were not falling.

Megan Creek got a free throw to fall to open the game and added a basket on a drive to the hoop, but the score was tied 3-3 for much of the first period. Hailey Dial finally broke the drought with a jumper and then she made a steal and converted on the fast break to make the score 7-3 at the end of the first period.

The Lady Tigers got a scoring spark off the bench as Alexis Dodge and Katie Howard knocked down jumpers to start the second quarter. A pair of free throws by Creek extended the lead to 13-3 and force a North Shelby timeout with 5:36 left in the first half.

SCR-I continued to struggle shooting the ball, but the Lady Tigers crashed the offensive boards, providing numerous second and third shot opportunities on each possession. SCR-I closed the quarter with a 9-2 run fueled by the interior play of Creek, Rader and Dial who dominated the offensive glass. The Lady Tigers led 22-5 at the intermission.

Scotland County added to the lead as the perimeter game showed signs of life in the third period. Randi Slaughter and Howard both made three-pointers that helped push the cushion to 31-11 with just eight minutes to play.

SCR-I maintained the 20-point margin early in the fourth period courtesy of a pair of free throws by Creek and a bucket by Rader. But North Shelby closed out the game with a 10-3 run to make the final score 40-27.

Scotland County improved to 12-3 on the season with the victory. The Lady Tigers were led in scoring by Creek and Rader who both hit double digits.



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