By David Sharp
An improved Scotland County Tiger boys’ basketball team battled a more experienced Knox County Eagle club on even terms during the first half of a January 11, 2008 Tri-Rivers Conference contest. The Tiger Courtwarming crowd created an electric atmosphere for high school basketball.
Dennis Dent led a 12-2 Knox County run starting at the 5:34 mark of the third quarter. The Eagles (7-5, 3-1 in the conference) outscored their hosts 30-20 in the second half and claimed the 57-45 victory.
Scotland County (5-7, 0-1) grabbed an early lead before Daniel McMahon answered a spirited Tiger student section with a driving lay up and a three point shot. Knox County led 9-6 with 2:13 remaining in the first quarter. Scotland County scored the last four points of the opening period.
Jacob Howard’s put back pulled the Tigers within a 12-10 deficit after one quarter of play. The Eagles executed their offense better in the second quarter, putting up 17 points. Scotland County made plays on both ends of the court. Both teams left scoring chances open at the free throw line in the first half.
Scotland County harmed their chance for victory with a 5-13 performance at the charity stripe. Knox County sank 18 of 24 free throws and scored three trifectas on the night. The Tigers had two more field goals at the end of the evening. Foul trouble was also a story line.
Scotland County saw their options limited when reigning Tri-Rivers Conference boys’ MVP Cody Musgrove sat out most of the second quarter with two fouls. Dennis Dent was forced to the bench with his third foul with 3:20 to play in period two.
The Tigers led much of the second quarter. Jacob Howard pounded home a tough two pointer for a 16-12 Tiger lead with 6:30 showing on the second quarter clock. Cody Musgrove entered the game with about two minutes to play in the second quarter. Musgrove joined Dennis Dent in the dreaded three foul club before intermission.
Knox County battled back late in the first half and took a 27-25 lead to the dressing room. Jacob Howard scored over Dennis Dent with 6:20 to play in the third quarter tying the score at 29. Howard finished with a team leading 15 Scotland County points.
Mitchel Penn answered a Jacob Howard put back with a Knox County basket at the 5:34 mark of the third quarter. The Eagles held a slender 33-31 edge. Cory Shultz lit the fuse for the decisive Knox County third quarter scoring run with a three pointer at the 4:27 mark of period three.
The Eagles led 36-31. Dennis Dent stepped outside and drained a momentum shifting three ball for a 39-31 Eagle advantage with 3:24 remaining in period three. Cody Musgrove answered with an offensive rebound bucket 16 seconds later, trimming the Knox County advantage to 39-33.
Zach Parrish stole the basketball near mid court, leading to a Dennis Dent bucket and a 41-33 Knox County lead with 2:49 to play in the third quarter. Cody Musgrove was assessed his fourth foul with 1:41 showing on the clock. Dennis Dent converted both free throws for a 43-33 KC lead.
Scotland County did not get back on defense with 1:23 to go in the quarter. Dennis Dent scored giving the Eagles a 45-33 lead. Scotland County converted at least four offensive rebounds to points. Jacob Howard sank a put back with 40 seconds showing on the third quarter clock, pulling the Tigers back within a 45-35 deficit after three quarters of play.
Dennis Dent led all scorers with 19 Knox County points along with 15 rebounds. Knox County outscored their hosts 18-10 in the third quarter. "We started out slow," said Dennis Dent. "Beating them by 30 points earlier in the season didn’t help tonight."
"We played a good second half," said the 6’5" junior forward. "We realized that they were ready to play and that we had to play harder in the second half. We lost a close game to Clark County, or we could be 4-0 in the conference."
The Eagles scored half of their 12 fourth quarter points at the free throw line. Knox County hit key shots during the third quarter. Scotland County did not turn the ball over often, but Knox County took advantage of their limited scoring opportunities off turnovers.
The Eagles led 51-41 when Brandon Garnett converted a nice looking feed from Cody Musgrove into a basket at the 2:30 mark of the fourth quarter. Knox County did a good job taking care of the basketball and managing the final three minutes of the contest.
The final score did not indicate the intensity shown by both sides. Scotland County put forth a gritty effort, but missed too many free throws to win a close game with a quality opponent.
"We knew the first four minutes of the game were crucial," said Scotland County coach Ryan Bergeson. "We came out ready to play. Some of our kids have definitely gotten a lot better in the last 12
See WIN, Page 8
games. All in all, we played hard. I’m really proud of the kids."
"Foul trouble was pivotal in the game," said Coach Bergeson. "(Dennis) Dent and (Shane) Clouse sat out with three fouls. Then (Cody) Musgrove picked up his third. It was a matter of who could guard who. (Daniel) McMahon and (Cory) Shultz really stepped up. We missed some lay ups and gave up a lot of offensive rebounds we shouldn’t have if we had boxed out."
Daniel McMahon tossed in 16 Knox County points. Cory Shultz had a solid all around game. Shultz scored 11 points, pulled down six rebound and dished out three assists. Mitchel Penn contributed seven points and solid interior play. Zach Parrish went 4-4 at the free throw line and recorded four assists.
The Eagles grabbed 12 offensive rebounds and had 33 total boards. Knox County had nine steals, and 14 turnovers. The Eagles had nine assists on the night.
Second seeded Knox County enters the North Shelby Tournament on January 15, with seventh seeded North Shelby as their 9PM first round opponent. If the seeds hold up, Brashear (9-2) is the third seed. The Tigers put 97 points on the board at Bevier last Friday. The 6PM Thursday championship semi-final has the makings of a marquis match up.
"Scotland County is a completely different team than we saw a month ago," said Knox County mentor Jesse Crawford. "When you face a player like Cody Musgrove, there will always be match up problems. We finally saw what Dennis Dent is all about in the third quarter. He came out, took over the third quarter and dominated the game."
"We have one goal next week, that is to win the whole thing at North Shelby," said Crawford. "This was a good team effort. Our guards took care of the ball. We limited our turnovers. We didn’t make a whole lot of careless mistakes. This was one of our biggest wins as a team to this point in the season."