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By: Corey Stott
MEMPHIS, Mo.- 12/17/21- Coach Cory Shultz and his Scotland County Lady Tigers (7-0 Overall, 1-0 Conference) came into Friday night’s contest ranked 5th in the state in Missouri Class 2 girls basketball. The Harrisburg Lady Bulldogs (5-2 Overall, 1-1 Conference) were in town to try and end the Lady Tigers’ hot streak. But it was never in doubt and Scotland County won it decisively 54-25.
Scotland County controlled the opening tip and on their first possession, Aayla Humphrey hit a jumper from the top of the key to go up 2-0. The Lady Tigers pounded the ball inside to Alaynna Whitaker relentlessly, and the senior center made Harrisburg pay dearly for letting her get it in the paint. She had eight of the ten points that Scotland County tallied in the first quarter and powered the Lady Tigers to a 10-1 lead at the end of the period.
As if that weren’t enough, she followed that up by scoring 13 of the next 19 Lady Tiger points in the second quarter. Harrisburg put up 17 points of their own but they still trailed 29-18 at the half. By the time the teams headed to the halftime locker room, Whitaker already had 21 points and many began to wonder if she might make a run at the single game scoring record.
With the Lady Tigers leading comfortably, Coach Shultz began to put many of his younger players in for extended minutes, and Whitaker’s torrid scoring rampage cooled off considerably. Even with the younger ladies on the floor, Scotland County still outscored Harrisburg 10-2. The Lady Tigers led 39-20 after three quarters of play.
Scotland County continued to keep their feet on the gas pedal and they outscored Harrisburg again 15-5 in the final stanza to cruise to the 54-25 victory in their conference opener.
Whitaker led all scorers and it wasn’t even close. She racked up an impressive 27 points, most of which came in the first half. Hannah Feeney racked up 6 points, Humphrey scored 5 points, Bryn Aylward and Emiley Dial each had 4 points, and Paige Bishop, Kwyn Hamlin and Abby Doster had two points apiece.
In the men’s game, the state ranked team was on the visitor’s bench. Harrisburg (6-0 Overall, 2-0 Conference) entered the game as the sixth ranked team in Missouri Class 2 boys basketball. Coach Jeremy Austin’s Scotland County Tigers (2-5 Overall, 0-1 Conference) came into the contest off a competitive loss to Highland on Monday night. Much like the Highland game, many of the Harrisburg players were familiar to the Tiger faithful, as they were the same weapons that had faced the Tiger football team earlier in the fall.
Harrisburg’s Tanner Lanes took the opening tip for a lay-in and the Bulldogs were on top immediately. True to their billing, Harrisburg opened the game with an 8-0 run. The Tigers didn’t get their first points until the 5:16 mark with a tough Kabe Hamlin face-up jumper in the paint. With 4:30 to play in the quarter, Austin called a timeout to settle his team. Whatever he said worked and within two minutes his team had fought back to tie and then take the lead 13-11. The Tiger rebounding was doing the job and they led 18-16 after one quarter of play.
The two teams traded buckets to start the second quarter, but the Tigers had their last lead of the game 22-21 with 5:54 left in the period. Scotland County was playing tough, physical basketball and at halftime were within six points of the top-ten Bulldogs, trailing 34-28.
The wheels began to come off in the third quarter. The Harrisburg inside size began to establish itself on the offensive and defensive glass. Those rebounds translated to several second-chance points for the Bulldogs, while limiting the Tigers’ opportunities. They outscored Scotland County 18-14 to lead 52-42.
In the final period, every time the Tigers would make a bucket and seem to have some momentum and energy, the Bulldogs would come the other way and find an answer. The Bulldogs put the game away, outscoring the Tigers 21-12 to take the conference victory by a final of 73-54.
Brayden Ott and Lanes both had 23 points to lead all scorers. Scotland County was led by Kabe Hamlin’s 19 points. Owen Triplett scored 18 points, Lucas Durflinger, Vince Dale and Corbyn Spurgeon had 4 points apiece, Trayton Buckallew had 3 points, and Jared Cerroni chipped in 2 points.