The Scotland County boys’ basketball team put on a show Friday night for a packed house, complete with a bit of a nail-biting finish that many fans would have been happy to do without. SCR-I led by double-digits much of the night before having to hold off a late Knox County rally to post the key 72-67 Tri-Rivers Conference win.
Aaron Buford scored on the opening possession to insure that SCR-I would never trail on the night. The Tigers caught fire from three-point range in the first period. Gage Dodge and Caleb Doubet connected from behind the arc. Freshman Will Fromm came off the bench to sink a three-pointer as well while Sturgis Knupp put in six points in the paint as SCR-I built a 19-11 lead to end the first quarter.
Fromm put up the first five points of the second period to extend the margin to double digits. Dodge and Doubet each connected again from behind the arc as SCR-I built a 39-30 lead at the half.
The Tigers got a pair of three-point plays to start the third period. Dodge was fouled on a drive to the hoop and sank the free throw. Knupp scored six straight points, including a three-point play of his own on an offensive rebound to help extend the SCR-I lead to 56-43 with just eight minutes left to play.
Caleb Doubet continued the string of three-point plays to open the fourth period. But Knox County put together a 6-0 run to trim the deficit to 59-52 with 6:32 left to play.
The margin grew back to double digits with hoops by Buford and Zach Doubet but again Knox County rallied to pull within 64-59.
The Tigers got a pair of big defensive plays to stall the Eagles takeoff. Caleb Doubet blocked a shot before Knupp swatted another shot attempt that set up a huge three pointer by Fromm to make the score 67-63 with 1:19 left to play.
“That was a huge shot for a freshman,” said Coach Lance Campbell. “He had ice in his veins, and that shot really stopped the bleeding. Will had been starting, but now he’s coming off the bench. He could have sulked, but instead he stepped up and helped lead us to the win.”
Caleb Doubet and Dodge both sank key free throws to help seal the 72-67 victory.
Scotland County improved to 6-1 with the victory and 3-0 in the Tri-Rivers Conference. Caleb Doubet led a balanced scoring attack with 16 points. Fromm, Dodge and Knupp each had 13 points and Buford added nine.
Knupp added 10 rebounds, eight assists and four steals.
“Sturg had a huge night for us,” said Campbell. “He played his rear end off on defense, grabbed some key rebounds and distributed the ball well.”