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December 19, 2013

Howard Powers SCR-I Past Raiders 56-54 in Key Conference Clash

Brice Cowell drives through the North Shelby defense as Lucas Howard moves into rebounding position during Tuesday night’s win at Shelbina.

He's Back! After a slow start to the basketball season, Scotland County forward Lucas Howard reemerged Tuesday night in Shelbina. The senior poured in 21 points, including the game winning free throws in the final seconds of the December 10th 56-54 win over North Shelby.

Howard appears to be fully recovered from pre-season knee surgery that initially was expected to keep him out until after Christmas. Last year's leading scorer, Howard had been limited in the team's first four games to just over nine points per contest.

The senior returned to form versus the Raiders. After a slow start for SCR-I, Howard scored on an offensive rebound and followed that up with a three-point play to keep the Tigers close.

Jacob Blessing put SCR-I ahead 7-6 with a drive to the hoop. He hit a three pointer on the next possession but the home team was able to pull ahead 15-12.

Howard made his presence felt in the second period. North Shelby was unable to stop the forward's inside game, only slowing him down with four different trips to the free throw line. He hit five of eight from the charity stripe, putting North Shelby in serious foul trouble in the process.

Cordie Kigar provided the outside game to go with Howard's interior play. The senior guard hit a pair of three-pointers but North Shelby was still able to hold on to a 33-31 lead at the intermission.

SCR-I looked poised to pull away in the third quarter. Bailey Johnston tied the game with two free throws. After a bucket by Howard on the offensive glass, Blessing drilled another three-pointer. A fast break basket by Brice Cowell extended the lead to 40-34. Caleb Doubet gave SCR-I its' biggest lead of the night when he connected from behind the arc to extend the margin to 45-36.

The Raiders closed out the quarter with a 5-0 run lead to trim the deficit to four points with eight minutes left to play.

The rally came full swing with a 5-0 run by North Shelby to start the fourth period.

Howard finally got the Tigers back on track when he scored on an offensive rebound with 4:33 left to play. His free throw with 3:19 put Scotland County ahead 50-49.

Buckets by Howard and Johnston gave the Tigers a commanding 54-50 lead with 32 seconds to play. North Shelby's Lucas Daniel did his best Willis Reed imitation. A hobbled Reed returned from the locker room to lead his NBA team to a championship. Daniel returned from the locker room with a heavily bandaged forehead after a collision had opened a cut with two-minutes to play.

Daniel drained a deep three pointer with 16.4 seconds on the clock to tie the game.

But the Tigers earned a pair of opportunities at the free throw line in the final seconds. Howard sank two with 2.9 ticks on the clock to seal the 56-54 win.

He finished with 21 points and also grabbed 16 rebounds in a dominating performance. Blessing pitched in with 14 points as SCR-I improved to 3-2 on the year and 1-0 in the TRC.

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