March 11, 2004
Subs Steer SCR-I Lady Tigers Into District Championship Match-up
The Lady Tigers bench scored 44 points to lead Scotland County to a 75-57 win over Milan in the Class 2 District 5 semi-finals on Wednesday night.
While it’s not a secret recipe, Scotland County Coach Kelli Swearingen definitely has discovered the secret to instant offense.
Midway through the season Swearingen made a big switch in her starting line-up sending two of the team’s three top scorers to the bench. But this was anything but a demotion for guard Jessie Cotton and forward Brittney Courtright. Instead it was a strategic move, that has worked very well in the second half of the year.
The best example of the success story came March 3 at Queen City in the Class 2 District 5 semi-finals where SCR-I got 41 points off the bench to fuel a 75-57 victory over Milan.
Scotland County fell behind in the first period before Cotton and Courtright came off the bench to start a rally. The duo combined for 13 points in the first half to turn around a 12-8 deficit after the first period.
Courtright hit a jumper from the top of the key with 4:29 left in the second period to give SCR-I its first lead of the game. Ashlee Frederick followed that with a three pointer and the Lady Tigers never relinquished the advantage from that point. Cotton nailed a three pointer and scored the last seven points of the first half to put Scotland County on top 27-19.
“Moving Jessie and Brittney to the bench had nothing to do with the kids,” Swearingen said. “I just wanted to change things up and try to set the tone with our defense to start games. (Brandi) Mallett and (Rebecca) Consbrock start us off with a defensive presence. Then here come the scorers. Not many teams bring their second and third leading scorers off the bench so that gives us a huge advantage.”
The Lady Tigers put the game away in the third period. Ali Fromm opened the quarter with a jumper that sent the lead to double digits at 29-19. The advantage swelled to 24 points before the quarter was over as seven different Lady Tigers contributed points in one of the team’s more impressive eight minutes of the year.
Milan made one final push in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats went bombs away, hitting eight three pointers en route to surpassing the team’s offensive output in the first three quarters.
But while Milan was making every effort to rally, the Lady Tigers had all the answers. Courtright converted a three-point play to stop the first Milan run. Jamie Fuller scored four points in the final period to give the team three players off the bench in double figures scoring. But it was point guard Ashlee Frederick that did the most damage to Milan.
The sophomore was a perfect 10-10 from the free-throw line, preventing the Wildcats from ever getting too close.
“Ashlee stepped up big for us tonight,” Swearingen said. “She has the second best free-throw percentage on the team, so we were confident with her handling the ball and getting to the line there late in the game. Once she hit her first two she just got in a rhythm and kept sinking them.”
Scotland County finished the game with four players in double figures. Courtright led the way with a season-high 17 points. Cotton chimed in with 14 points, Frederick finished with 13, and Fuller had 10.