Despite shrinking a bit due to injuries and attrition, Scotland County’s bench continues to give coach Lance Campbell plenty of options, and Friday night was no different in Putnam County as SCR-I’s depth fueled a 78-65 win.
SCR-I normally goes nine or 10 deep, so it can beat you with quantity. But the depth is also demonstrated in quality, as the starters’ versatility is equally as dangerous.
While Aaron Buford was more of a distributer last season, the junior guard has transitioned into the team’s top scorer. Friday night was no different, as Buford poured in 21 points.
But even a better example of the team’s adaptability was demonstrated by Sturgis Knupp, who did a little bit of everything in the win, notching a triple-double in the process. The senior scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and also dished out 10 assists.
The duo scored 13 points in the first period to help SCR-I take a 22-14 lead.
Back-to-back fast break scores by Elijah Cooley and Caleb Doubet pushed the advantage to 26-14 and forced a Putnam County timeout just a minute into the second quarter.
Knupp scored on a pair of offensive rebounds to keep the lead at double digits until a 7-2 run by the Midgets closed the second half with SCR-I on top 40-33.
Putnam County pulled within four points early in the third period before Lane Pence scored on a drive to the basket. That started a 13-2 run by the Tigers. Cooley and Caleb Doubet scored fast break hoops and Cooley added a three-pointer to make the score 60-43.
But the Midgets again answered with a 7-0 run to pull within 60-50 to close the third period.
The Tigers gained some breathing room to start the fourth period. Will Fromm scored in the paint and added a three-point play before a field goal by Knupp extended the lead to 71-57.
The Tigers were able to maintain the margin by 10 of 16 free throws in the fourth period to secure the 78-65 victory.
In addition to the big games by Buford and Knupp, Fromm, Caleb Doubet and Cooley each added nine points and Pence had eight as SCR-I improved to 14-6 and 7-1 in the Tri-Rivers Conference.