Despite foul trouble much of the night that limited its two top scorers, Scotland County was able to close out the regular season in Edina with a hard-fought 53-43 victory to secure the Tri-Rivers Conference championship.
SCR-I’s top two scorers, Aaron Buford and Sturgis Knupp were sent to the bench quickly in the first period with two fouls a piece, a reoccurring theme for the first half when SCR-I was whistled for 14 fouls to just six called against the home team.
Fortunately for SCR-I, senior Caleb Doubet came to the rescue. Doubet hit a pair of three-pointers in the opening minutes to give the Tigers an 8-3 lead. He shouldered the entire load early on, scoring the first 12 SCR-I points before a bucket in the paint by Grant Campbell put Scotland County on top 14-13.
Knupp got on the board with a bucket to start the second period before heading back to the bench with foul #3. Doubet again stepped it up, sinking a jumper at the 5:30 mark that gave the Tigers an 18-17 lead.
Elijah Cooley sank a three-pointer to retake the lead for SCR-I before Lane Pence and Will Fromm scored on fast breaks to extend the lead 25-20 at the half.
Buford got his first two points on a jumper to start the third period before he grabbed some more pine following his fourth foul. Knupp quickly joined him to the chagrin of SCR-I head coach Lance Campbell.
Fromm picked up some of the slack with a pair of field goals and Pence slid into the point guard spot and was tasked with handling the tough Knox County pressure as SCR-I held on to a 33-28 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Knupp returned to start a fourth quarter surge for Scotland County. His bucket in the paint preceded back-to-back three-pointers by Gage Dodge before Cooley scored with a finger roll on the fast break to push the lead to 43-30.
Knox County answered with a 6-0 run before buckets by Buford and Knupp pushed the lead back to double digits and allowed SCR-I to begin working the clock with just under four minutes to play.
SCR-I burned a full two minutes before Buford was sent to the free throw line where he connected on two shots with 1:48 left to play to make the score 49-37.
The Tigers closed out the 53-43 win with a pair of fast break scores that sealed the Tri-Rivers Conference title for SCR-I, which finished 9-1 in league play. SCR-I closed out the regular season with a 18-6 record overall.
Caleb Doubet led the Tigers in scoring with 16 points. Knupp finished with eight points, while Buford, Dodge and Fromm each had six.