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By: Corey Stott
PHILADELPHIA, Mo.- 1/31/22- After crashing Brashear’s Homecoming the Friday previous, the Scotland County basketball teams continued their tour of Northeast Missouri with a stop in Philadelphia to take on Marion County. By the time the final buzzer had sounded, both squads had earned hard-fought victories over a tough non-conference opponent.
The ladies were up first and the Scotland County Lady Tigers led wire to wire to earn a 58-35 victory and improve their mark to 15-2 overall (4-0 conference). The Marion County Lady Mustangs fell to 14-4 overall.
Scotland County controlled the opening tip and got on the board five seconds later with an Emiley Dial layup. A three-pointer and another Dial shot in the paint had the Lady Tigers up 7-0 just two minutes into the contest. By the end of the first period, Scotland County led 19-4.
The Lady Tigers were flat to start the second quarter, and didn’t score their first bucket of the period until the 5:42 mark. The Lady Mustangs outscored Scotland County 10-8 in the frame. Scotland County led 27- 14 at the half.
The scoring was even in the third period and the Lady Tigers led 40-27 after three quarters. Scotland County re-focused in the final frame and scored 18 points while holding Marion County to just eight of their own. The Lady Tigers won the contest 58-35.
Asked after the game what his team can take out of a somewhat lopsided contest as this, Coach Cory Shultz said “I think a lot. That was a good physical game. Those are what make you better down the stretch. They battled down to the last minute and a half. That’s good for you down the road.”
A welcome addition to the box score was the production of his younger players off the bench. “I’ve told those girls countless times, if they come in and score five or six points, if they all together get anywhere near 10 points, we’re pretty tough to beat,” Shultz said of his underclassmen.
Hannah Feeney led all scorers with 21 points. Dial had 16, Alaynna Whitaker 10, Paige Bishop 7 and Aayla Humphrey 4. Tristen Holt led Marion County with 9 points.
The men were up next. The Tigers survived a gritty battle with a game Mustang squad to improve to 6-10 overall (1-3 conference) with a 42-36 win. Marion County fell to 4-13.
The Tigers controlled the tip and scored the first three points of the game. But the Mustangs battled hard and tied the game just past the half-way mark of the first quarter. The two teams then traded the lead back and forth and at the end of the period Marion County led 9-7.
The Mustangs had the ball to start the second period and started off with a quick three-pointer from the left corner by Jackson Stewart. That was followed up by another trey from Wyatt Goldinger from the left wing and suddenly the Tigers found themselves doubled up at 15-7. Scotland County battled back but Marion County still outscored them 13-9 to lead 22-16 at the half.
In the locker room, Coach Jeremy Austin had a discussion with his team about being the aggressor. “We second guessed every decision (in the first half). We’ve still got to be aggressive and attacking. We didn’t do a very good job of that. We let the defense dictate where we were gonna play instead of the other way around. We talked about that and saw results reasonably quickly.”
The defense stepped it up and Scotland scored 10 points in the third quarter while holding the Mustangs to just six points. The end of the period saw the Marion County lead reduced to just two at 28-26.
“I think the boys started working a little bit more effectively,” Austin said. “Not necessarily harder, just more effective. They just weren’t very effective early on in our defense. We made a couple modifications and were able to do a better job getting out there and getting a hand in their face and that really helped. That’s probably the best that our pressure has looked.”
The stage was set for an intense battle of wills over the final eight minutes. A Corbyn Spurgeon steal and lay-in tied the game at 30 at the 6:48 mark.
There were five more ties or lead changes going down the stretch until the Tigers took the lead for good with 1:50 to play on a Kabe Hamlin shot in the paint to lead 37-36. Scotland County went 5 of 8 over the final 1:50 from the free-throw line to seal the 42-36 victory.
Hamlin led all scorers with 16 points. Hunter Holt tallied 11 points, Spurgeon and Owen Triplett had a half-dozen each, Vince Dale had a pair and Jared Cerroni had 1 point. Joey Lagemann had 11 points for Marion County.