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By: Corey Stott
QUEEN CITY, Mo.- 12/5/20- The annual basketball reunion of the former Tri-Rivers Conference schools at Schuyler County High School ended with the Scotland County Lady Tigers bringing home the third-place hardware. The Lady Tigers (2-1) cruised to an opening round victory over Brookfield 58-29, fell in a championship semi-final to Schuyler County 43-38, and won the third-place game 67-29 over Putnam County.
In opening round action against Brookfield, the Lady Tigers jumped out to an early 19-5 lead by the end of the first quarter. It was much of the same in the second quarter, with the Lady Tigers outscoring the Lady Bulldogs 16-6. Scotland County led 35-11 at the half.
It was a much more even contest in the third quarter. Brookfield matched Scotland’s 12 points with 11 of their own to make it 47-22 Scotland County after three periods. The final quarter saw the Lady Tigers put up another 11 points, while holding Brookfield to seven. Scotland County won the contest 58-29.
Kylee Stott, Abby Curry and Alaynna Whitaker each had 10 points in the game. Hannah Feeney and Abby Doster had nine points apiece, Morgan Blessing and Emiley Dial had four apiece, and Paige Bishop had two points.
The championship semi-final saw a matchup of rivals Scotland County and Schuyler County. Scotland County head coach Cory Shultz knew his team would have their hands full. “That was a much-improved team out there. We knew it was probably going to be a dogfight.”
The Lady Tigers outscored the Lady Rams 9-8 in the first quarter. Scotland County’s full court pressure created several Schuyler County turnovers which the Lady Tigers capitalized on by building a 23-17 lead at by halftime.
The third quarter saw some very physical play and very few whistles on either end. That led to some transition points for Schuyler County and they outscored Scotland County 11-9 to narrow the gap to 32-28 by the end of the third period.
The final quarter of play would be the undoing of the Lady Tigers. With just over four minutes to play, Whitaker picked up her fourth foul. The Lady Rams made their free throws to take a 36-35 lead. Both teams would create turnovers and get to the line, but Schuyler held on to outscore Scotland 15-6 in the fourth quarter and escaped with a 43-38 victory.
“We just never got into a flow,” said Shultz. “We didn’t have much time to prepare and were still shaking off a little rust. We let them hang around and it bit us in the rear at the end of the game.”
Curry led the Lady Tigers in scoring with eight points. Blessing had seven and Aayla Humprey had six. Feeney, Doster and Whitaker each scored four points. Dial chipped in three points and Stott had two points.
Scotland County returned to Queen City on Saturday to face the Putnam County Lady Midgets in the third-place game. “We came out a little slow and spotted them something like nine points in the beginning of the game, then we finally settled in,” said Shultz.
The Lady Tiger defense stepped up the pressure and by the end of the first quarter they had taken the lead 19-12. The second quarter saw the Scotland County pressure put the game well out of reach, as the Lady Tigers outscored Putnam County 20-6, and led 39-18 at the half. “The pressure finally got to them there,” Shultz said. “Mid second quarter it started clicking and we were well on our way.”
The Lady Tigers never let off the gas as they again outscored Putnam 21-4 in the third quarter. The final period was even with seven points scored by both teams, and Scotland County was accepting the third-place plaque after a 67-29 victory.
Feeney led the Lady Tigers with 12 points. Stott scored 11 points, Doster had 10 points, Curry had nine points, Whitaker scored eight points, Dial scored seven points, Blessing had six points, and Humphrey chipped in three points.
Feeney was named to the Tri-Rivers Classic All-Tournament Team, along with Jordyn Gray of Milan, Natalie Thrasher of North Shelby, Kait Hatfield of Schuyler, and tournament MVP Cady Pauley of Milan.
The Lady Tigers will next be in action this Friday night when they travel to Putnam County for a re-match with the Lady Midgets on their home floor.