(Kenny Felt/Captured Images)
Kendra Mattox hit a 3-point shot in the waning seconds but with 1/10th of a second remaining, all visiting Highland had to do was get the ball in-bounds in order to hold off Fort Scott Community College's women, 69-68, in Jayhawk Conference-Eastern Division play Wednesday night.
If there's any good from this, it's that since Highland is a Division II team, the loss didn't hurt the Greyhounds' chances for getting a home game in the first round of the Region VI Tournament. Unfortunately, a Kansas City Kansas victory over Labette put an end to those chances. The Blue Devils' 70-62 win at Parsons ensures KCK of the fourth seed since it is now two games ahead of Fort Scott and Labette.
Kansas City is 5-6 in Division I games while Fort Scott and Labette are both 3-8 .
The top four seeds from each division host first-round games against a corresponding bottom-five seed from the opposite division in the first round, which will be held Tuesday night (more at the end of this summary following the box score).
While Fort Scott head coach Diana Couch wasn't upset with the numbers the Greyhounds put up, it was bothersome that her players didn't stick to the game plan early and fell behind 5-0, missing several long shots in the first four minutes.
"We came out in the first three minutes and shot seven 3's," Couch said. "Our goal the entire time was to go inside. That right there kind of told me how it was going to go. "
The Greyhounds (6-11 East, 9-20 overall) managed to catch up and stay within 2 points of the Scotties (4-13, 12-17) most of the half.
Highland, which had lost 9 of its last 10 games, used a 6-2 run to pull ahead, 29-24, with 2:10 left in the half. But Fort Scott used free throws to take a 31-29 lead at halftime, making 7 of 8 in the final 1:25.
Six-foot post Coretta Hall, who have Fort Scott problems inside all night, scored 6 of Highland's first 8 points of the second half as the Scotties reclaimed the lead, 37-33, with 17:42 remaining.
But the Greyhounds came back with a 9-2 run that saw them go up 42-39 with 13 minutes to go. Highland's only points in that span came on free throws.
After that, the game was back-and-fourth with Mattox popping in a 16-footer to put the 'Hounds up 55-53 with 5:09 to go.
That, however, turned out to be the last time Fort Scott lead. Hall made one free throw with 4:58 left for Highland. She missed the second, but the Scotties got the rebound and found Tracie Weege for a 3-point shot that put Highland up 59-55 with 3:08 to go.
The Scotties led 67-61 with 44 seconds to go but couldn't stop fouling. The 'Hounds essentially traded two of their makes for Highland misses until they were within 69-65 with 11 seconds left.
Hall finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds for Highland while Weege made five 3-pointers on her way to scoring 20. The two combined to make 16 of 32 field-goal attempts.
"When you let girls we were focusing on score, there's not much to say about our defense," Couch said.
Mattox led the 'Hounds with 17 points while Jolee Sharp added 16 and Ashlie Baker chipped in with 12. However, Couch has said all season that Fort Scott needs to have four double-digit scorers in order to win.
"We needed that fourth player tonight," Couch said. "I don't know where that fourth player was."
Sharp also had 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Baker and Kerenza Singletary had 3 steals each.
Highland shot 42 percent from the field as a team, making 24 of 57 field-goal attempts and outrebounded the Greyhounds, 46-37. Fort Scott shot 33 percent on 19 of 57, which countered a 25-of-32 night at the free-throw line.
Saturday's game versus KCK tips off at 2 p.m.
HIGHLAND: Hall 9-17 4-8 22, Weege 7-15 1-2 20, Span 0-2 0-0 0, Clark 0-5 2-4 2, Lockwood 0-0 0-0 0, Durbin 1-2 5-6 7, Hollander 1-3 3-9 6, Dishon 5-8 0-2 10, Tittel 1-5 0-0 2. TOTALS: 24-57 15-31 69.
FORT SCOTT: Crow 1-5 3-4 6, Sharp 4-9 8-8 16, Singletary 3-7 1-2 8, Mattox 6-12 2-2 17, Carter 1-5 0-0 2, Baker 2-15 8-12 12, Bonaparte 2-4 3-4 7. TOTALS: 19-57 25-32 68.
Halftime: Fort Scott, 31-29.
Three-point field goals: Highland 6-20 (Weege 5-9, Hollander 1-3, Span 0-2, Clark 0-3, Tittel 0-3), Fort Scott 5-15 (Mattox 3-4, Crow 1-3, Singletary 1-3, Sharp 0-1, Carter 0-1, Baker 0-3).
Total fouls: Highland 23, Fort Scott 20. Fouled out: Hall, Dishon. Technical fouls: Highland head coach Arnold.
Rebounds: Highland 46 (Hall 12, Dishon 10), Fort Scott 37 (Sharp 10). Assists: Highland 9 (Hollander 5), Fort Scott 8 (Sharp 5). Turnovers: Highland 15, Fort Scott 12. Steals: Highland 4 (Hollander 2, Tittel 2), Fort Scott 11 (Singletary 3, Baker 3). Blocked shots: Highland 1 (Dishon), Fort Scott 3 (Sharp 2).
When Kansas City Kansas comes to Arnold Arena Saturday, Fort Scott's women will looking for a victory to clinch the No. 5 seed from the East and have a favorable match-up with whomever finishes fourth in the Western Division in the first round of the Region VI Tournament. As it happens, Seward County and Butler are tied for that spot right now at 9-6 and the winner of Saturday night's game between them at El Dorado will be the fourth seed.
Since Fort Scott and Labette have the same Division I record and have split with each other in the season series, there are four possible outcomes:
* They both win. Labette will be playing Coffeyville -- currently holding the No. 3 East seed -- Saturday, so if both Fort Scott and Labette win, Labette will be the No. 5 seed since it will have beaten a team that finishes higher in Division I seeding.
* They both lose. Then there will be no tie-breakers between the teams as they have both beaten Allen County and Neosho County twice and will have lost twice to everybody else. A coin toss will decide the higher seed.
* Fort Scott wins, Labette loses. Fort Scott will be No. 5.
* Labette wins, Fort Scott loses. Labette will be No. 5.
Being the sixth seed from the East means a trip out West to take on a team that has a record of no worse than 19-11, either Barton County or Cloud County.
First-round games will be held Tuesday night. Should Fort Scott win its first-round match-up, the 'Hounds will advance to the quarterfinals in Wichita on March 4.