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By: Corey Stott
MEMPHIS, Mo.- 1/25/22- A game that many folks have had circled on their calendar ever since the end of last season finally hit the hardwood last Tuesday night. The Schuyler County Lady Rams (15-3, 3-1) are ranked #9 in Missouri Class 2. They were in town for a conference showdown with the Scotland County Lady Tigers (14-2, 4-0), who are ranked #5 in Missouri Class 2. The game did not disappoint. When the dust had settled, the Lady Tigers had held on for a hard-fought 45-41 victory.
Scotland County controlled the opening tip and a couple possessions later got on the board first with a Hannah Feeney jump shot. Emiley Dial added a 3-pointer from up top and Scotland found themselves with the early 5-0 lead. But the Lady Rams came charging back and a Kaitlyn Hatfield layup with just under three minutes to play in the quarter gave Schuyler County their first lead of the game at 6-5. When the defensive struggle of the first period ended, Scotland County was up 8-7.
Schuyler County struck first in the second quarter and re-took the lead. The Lady Rams were extending their 2-3 zone and pinching down hard on Alaynna Whitaker inside. A Paige Bishop putback with 2:24 to play in the half put the Lady Tigers back in front 12-11. The back and forth continued and when the halftime buzzer sounded, the Lady Rams were in front 15-14.
Schuyler County went on a 5-0 run to start the second half before Scotland County battled back to tie it up at 20 apiece with 5:18 to play in the third quarter. The Lady Tigers began to have more confidence in their shot and both teams traded the lead or tied five more times in the period. It was 29-26 in favor of the Lady Tigers after three quarters.
There would be four more lead changes or ties in the first three minutes of the final period, before Scotland County finally took the lead for good at 33-31. The Lady Rams made several runs after that, and the Lady Tigers struggled at the free throw line, but they did just enough to hang on for the 45-41 victory.
Coach Cory Shultz said after the game that rebounding made the difference in winning the game. After doing a good job in the first half of cleaning the boards, he felt like his team gave up too many rebounds toward the end of the third and early part of the fourth quarter. “I called a timeout and addressed that, and then it was much better after that.”
He added that he would have liked for his ladies to have made it less exciting at the end. “We could have made some free throws down the stretch to make everyone a little less nervous, but we’ll take them any way we can get them.”
Scotland County’s Feeney led all scorers with 14 points. Whitaker had 11 points, Abby Curry had 8 points, Dial 5 points, Aayla Humphrey 3 points, and Bishop and Abby Doster had two points apiece.
Hatfield led the Schuyler County with 13 points. MaKinley Aeschliman had 11 points and Sidney Aeschliman had 10 points.