Depth and defense were the difference makers on Tuesday night in Novinger as the Tigers were able to knock off the state-ranked Wildcats 47-45 despite only having one player reach double digits in scoring.
Aaron Buford topped the Scotland County scorebook with 10 points, but all eight Tigers dressed for the game contributed on both ends of the court as SCR-I wore down Novinger with its relentless defensive pressure and held off a second-half Novinger rally to pick up the non-conference win.
Neither team got off to a fast start offensively. Caleb Doubet gave SCR-I a 2-0 lead with a jumper from the corner, but the Tigers went nearly four minutes before their next field goal, a three-pointer by Will Fromm. Elijah Cooley connected from behind the arc to give SCR-I an 8-6 lead to end the first period.
The Tigers managed just three field goals again in the second period, but several trips to the free throw line helped the Tigers pull ahead 22-14, as the defense held Novinger to just a single field goal.
That changed in the third period as Collin Roberts caught fire. The Novinger guard sank three three-pointers and poured in 15 points during the third period to pull Novinger within 33-32 heading into the fourth period.
Unlike the previous night at Marion County when the Tigers’ offense disappeared in the second half, SCR-I was able to hit just enough shots to stay on top. Buford sank a three-pointer and Cooley and Sturgis Knupp added field goals as SCR-I clung to the one-point lead.
The Tigers were able to survive their Achilles Heel, free throw shooting, in the fourth quarter. Despite making just three of nine free throws down the stretch, SCR-I got a pair of key field goals from Caleb Doubet and a big three-pointer by Cooley to post the 47-45 win.
SCR-I clamped down on Roberts, allowing him one final three-pointer in the fourth period that gave him a game-high 26 points. The rest of the team managed just 21 points, as the Tigers defense did its job.
Buford led Scotland County in scoring with 10 points. Cooley and Caleb Doubet each had eight points and Knupp and Fromm each finished with seven. Lane Pence had three points but tied for the team lead with six rebounds, with Grant Campbell. Zach Doubet had just two points but anchored the defense with five blocked shots.
Scotland County improved to 13-6 on the season by knocking off the #8 ranked team in Missouri Class 1.