By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Down 11 points to Scott midway through the third quarter, Summers County was in danger of being blown off its own court.
The Lady Bobcats were hurrying shots on their attack, and failing to communicate on defense. Scott was getting easy shots and making them, and led 28-17.
“Somebody has got to step up,” Summers coach Wayne Ryan told his team during a timeout. “Somebody has got to make some plays,”
His words made their mark. The Lady Bobcats went on a 17-4 run the rest of the period, battled Scott evenly in the fourth, and then got a shot at the buzzer from Shelby Smith to finish off a 50-49 victory over its top rival.
Brandy Morrison, a 5-foot-11 junior center, and Smith, a 5-6 sophomore forward, certainly answered Ryan’s call. Despite facing two Scott posts over 6-feet tall, Ali Whitman and Andrea Rankin, Morrison scored 20 points and had seven rebounds and four steals.
“They were certainly bigger than us,” Ryan said. “You have to give Brandy and Shelby credit for the job they did.”
Smith’s numbers weren’t as flashy — seven points and four rebounds — but she hit the basket that mattered most.
With 0.6 second left in the game, Smith raced into the lane, took Abby Taylor’s inbounds pass and sank an eight-footer as time expired.
The shot was controversial. Scott’s fans, and several from Summers County, thought the shot was after the buzzer.
Neither Ryan nor Scott coach John Porter would comment on whether they thought the shot was good. Ryan did say, “Our execution was great. She was open, and you can make a lay-up in 6/10 of a second.”
Both teams hurt themselves throughout the contest. Both Whitman and Rankin got into early foul trouble and spent time on the bench.
Rankin eventually fouled out with 5:47 left to play after scoring eight points, grabbing seven rebounds and blocking five shots.
Meanwhile, Summers had a miserable night at the foul line, making just 10 of 25 shots.
Scott roared into its lead behind the play of junior guard Jaimee Dotson, who scored eight first-quarter points and six in the third quarter. She finished with 22, with one 3-point shot and nine free throws out of 11 attempted.
“She’s a basketball player,” Porter said.
But with both Whitman and Rankin on the bench for most of the second quarter, Summers was able to put Haley Shrewsbury on her full time.
Shrewsbury, a senior guard-forward who had been helping Morrison and Smith inside, clamped down on Dotson and held her to one foul shot in the period.
“Haley’s our best defender. She does a really good job on whoever we put her on,” Ryan said. “She’s a big part of what we do.”
Scott led 20-14 at halftime, and with both Whitman and Rankin back in the game, the Lady Skyhawks moved ahead 28-17 and 30-19, fueled by three baskets from Dotson.
But Summers roared back, partly on heroics inside from Morrison, Smith and forward Avery Pivont (eight points and 11 rebounds in the contest), but also on some great defensive play from Shrewsbury, Tara Wynes and sophomore reserve Taylor.
The trio had several key steals, buckets and assists down the stretch, frustrating the Lady Skyhawks.
“We missed lay-ups,” Porter said. “We didn’t handle the pressure real well.”
Still, it came down to an exciting final 19 seconds. Smith missed two foul shots, and Scott guard Julie Conway, who had missed much of the week with sickness, grabbed the rebound, raced downcourt and scored with eight seconds left on the clock.
Summers got the ball quickly down the floor. Wynes (six points) drove to the basket and missed, with the ball bouncing out of bounds, last touched by Scott.
Taylor (seven points and four steals) then passed to a suddenly wide open Smith for the game-winner.
“I’m proud we had people in a pressure-game like this to step up and make plays,” Ryan said. “She was wide open.”
Rankin scored eight points and had eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks for Scott.
It was another classic battle between the two clubs, who met in the 2010 and 2011 state championship games (both won by the Lady Bobcats). The regular-season games on both courts have been barnburners.
“Neither team played well tonight; Summers was better than we were,” Porter said. “I look forward to playing them again at our place.”
They’ll meet again Feb. 16 in Madison in their final games before sectional tournaments begin.
— E-mail: dstillwell@
Jaimee Dotson 6 9-11 22, Ali Whitman 4 0-0 8, Landyn McKinney 2 0-0 4, Victoria Ellis 1 0-0 2, Andrea Rankin 4 0-0 8, Jessy Blankenship 0 1-2 1, Julie Conway 1 0-0 2, Carolyn Green 1 0-0 2, Courtney Goodwin 0 0-0 0, Meagan Blankenship 0 0-0 0, Tori Smoot 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 10-13 49.
Summers County (10-2)
Avery Pivont 2 4-5 8, Tyra Wynes 3 0-0 6, Brandy Morrison 9 2-7 20, Shelby Smith 3 1-4 7, Haley Shrewsbury 0 0-0 0, Abby Taylor 2 3-9 7, Emily Smith 0 0-0 0, Brennah Davis 0 0-0 0, Brittany Bonds 1 0-0 2, Audrey Holley 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 10-25 50.
S 12 8 12 17 — 49
SC 7 7 20 16 — 50
3-point goals — S: 1 (Dotson); SC: None. Fouled out — Whitman.