A nearly decade-long domination of the Novinger Tournament finally came to an end on Saturday in Novinger as Scotland County saw its nine-year championship streak snapped in the Novinger Tournament as a talented Green City squad proved too much to handle in the title tilt.
The Gophers (4-0) advanced to the Class 1 Elite 8 a season ago led by freshman Brooke Littrell. If Saturday has anything to show, Littrell, now a sophomore, is posed to lead the Gophers even further in 2018, as she poured in 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to help lead Green City to a 52-43 win over SCR-I.
The Lady Tigers jumped out to a 6-2 lead behind a a pair of baskets by Katie Feeney. But the Gophers battled back as Kassi Straley netted a pair of three pointers, forcing SCR-I out of its double-team defense versus Littrell.
That opened up a little more space for the sophomore, and she took advantage, connecting on nine of 10 shot attempts in the paint. She also sank 10 of 11 free throws.
The latter resulted in some serious foul trouble for the Lady Tigers, who saw starters Ashleigh Creek and Kaylyn Anders both forced to the bench early with three fouls.
A solid game from Nova Cline helped keep SCR-I within striking distance. The junior center had back-to-back field goals in the paint to follow a three-pointer by Madie Bondurant. Green City still was able to lead 27-17 at the break.
The margin grew to as many as 17 early in the third period before Creek was forced back to the bench with her fourth foul.
Cline continued to carry the load in the paint for SCR-I, which also got solid minutes from Micah Cooley and Khloe Hamlin who helped rally to a 42-30 deficit to end the third period.
But SCR-I could never get the lead below double digits. Feeney had a pair of field goals to start the fourth period, but she fouled out with three minutes left to play. Creek and Anders soon joined her, leaving the bench full of starters, but empty of any substitutes.
Cline finished with 13 points to lead Scotland County (2-2). Feeney added 10 points and Bondurant had eight.