Scotland County had plenty of answers on offense on Thursday night in the semifinals of the North Shelby Tournament, but it was the Lady Tigers’ defense that helped propel SCR-I into Saturday’s title game.

SCR-I jumped out to a 35-16 advantage at halftime, and the defense ensured that even a scoreless second half would not deny SCR-I a shot at defending its tournament crown on Saturday night, as the defense held the Lady Rams to just 31 points on the night in the 52-13 victory.

The two teams traded baskets in the opening minutes before SCR-I took charge. Abi Feeney scored on a drive to the hoop to put SCR-I up 7-6. A Maddie Brassfield jumper extended the margin before Chelsea Wood scored six straight  points in the paint. Feeney connected on a jumper to put SCR-I on top 17-10 to close the first quarter.

Scotland County opened the second period with a 6-0 run behind field goals from Wood, Feeney and Ashleigh Creek. Calesse Bair scored on a drive to the hoop and followed it up with a three-pointer to make the score 31-16. Kassie Bulen scored on the fast break on a nice pass from Feeney before the junior point guard dished out another assist to Wood under the basket for a 35-16 halftime lead.

After the fast paced first half, Scotland County slowed things down a bit in the third period, managing just seven points of offense. The Lady Rams went on a 9-2 run to end the period to trim the deficit to 42-29.

Scotland County answered to open the fourth period. Wood scored in the paint before Brassfield sank a key three-pointer. Wood came up with a block on defense and fed Feeney for the fast break score that capped a 7-0 run to push the lead back to 49-29. Kassie Bulen capped off the scoring with a three-pointer that sealed the 52-31 victory.

Wood led all scorers with 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Feeney added 12 points, five steals and dished out six assists. Bair had eight points and five rebounds and Bulen had six points.

Scotland County improved to 13-1 on the season heading into the championship game versus Knox County.