Tigers rally, hang on to snap losing streak
By Scott Nuzum
Tribune Sports Editor
Fort Scott High’s boys were probably a little out of whack at the start of Wednesday night’s game against Independence. First, there’s the fact that they were playing on Wednesday, a day after they originally scheduled. And they were also playing an hour earlier than usual, probably causing some confusion with their internal clocks trying to remind them that it should be halftime of the girls’ game.
Anyway, the Tigers came out sluggish in the first (almost) six minutes and were trailing Independence 10-3 in a Southeast Kansas League game that was postponed from Tuesday night due to the ice storm. But a 3-point shot by Jessie Lawrence with 2:05 to go in the quarter stirred up Fort Scott’s offense and the Tigers went on to complete a season sweep of the visiting Bulldogs, 45-43, and break a four-game losing streak.
Though Fort Scott (4-7 SEK, 8-11 overall) outscored Indy 23-13 the remainder of the first half and never trailed in the second, the win wasn’t secure until the final horn.
Independence sophomore Brayden Collier dribbled into the lane but instead of shooting, he tried to pass it to a teammate — who didn’t expect it and was only able to get his hands up enough to tip it out of bounds with 4.6 seconds to go.
The inbound pass went to Jesse Jones, who dribbled himself into the clear, then passed to a wide-open Jordan Hall with a second left. He elected to hold on to the ball and let the clock run out. None of the Bulldogs ever got near him.
Hall finished with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting for the Tigers and also led Fort Scott with 7 rebounds. Jones followed with 10 points, 5 assists and 3 steals.
The defensive battle was a complete contrast from the teams’ first meeting at Independence on January 12, won by the Tigers by a 70-57 score as Jones and Hall combined for 45 points on that night. Also, Independence sophomore center Davion Lewis scored 20 points that night but the Tigers were able to hold him to just 8 Wednesday on 3-of-12 field-goal shooting and the Bulldogs (3-8, 4-15) weren’t able to make up for that.
Independence outrebounded Fort Scott, 38-27, but the Tigers committed only nine turnovers.
Fort Scott missed its first 7 shots from the field until Jones hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with about 3 1/2 minutes to go. Jaden McGrath hit back-to-back 3-pointers for Independence to make it 10-3 with 2:22 to go.
Lawrence then hit his 3-pointer with 2:05 left and Fort Scott began to get something going, getting within 14-11 as Hall stuck back a missed shot with one second left.
The Tigers took their first lead, 15-14, on a pair of Jones free throws with 6:10 left in the second. But Indy went back in front on a basket by Collier and a 3-pointer from Zeadric Daniels, which made it 23-19 with 2:12 to go.
The Tigers kept the ’Dogs off the board the rest of the half and went into the locker room up 26-23. Hall scored 4 of the 7 points in the run, including a pair of free throws with 20 seconds to go.
Lawrence capped an 8-0 run midway through the third to make it 36-26 with 3:30 on the clock. Indy got within 38-34 at the end of the period on another three from Daniels.
An alley-oop style pass from Jones to Nick Lawrence for a layup made it 45-38 with two minutes to go. Daniels hit his third triple of the night and Lewis made two free throws to bring the ’Dogs within 2 with 1:09 to go. Those turned out to be the game’s final points.
NOTES — The 45 points the Tigers scored was the fewest while still winning the game since taking a 41-34 victory over Parsons on February 12, 2013, a little more than five years ago. Also Fort Scott hasn’t lost a game in which it surrendered 50 or fewer points in the past two seasons (10-0)....
JUNIOR VARSITY —Fort Scott won the junior varsity game going away, 42-27, as Drew Rhoades scored 14 points.
FRESHMEN — The freshmen game was cancelled.
INDEPENDENCE: McGrath 2-8 1-2 7, Daniels 4-10 0-1 11, Hadley 0-1 0-0 0, Kendrex 5-9 0-0 10, Farley 1-5 0-0 2, Pralle 0-0 0-0 0, Collier 2-3 0-0 5, Lewis 3-12 2-3 8. TOTALS: 17-48 3-6 43.
FORT SCOTT: J.Lawrence 2-8 0-0 5, Jones 3-9 2-2 10, N.Lawrence 2-5 1-3 5, Michaud 2-7 0-0 5, Campbell 2-3 0-1 4, Horton 0-1 1-2 1, Goldston 0-0 0-1 0, Hall 6-10 3-3 15. TOTALS: 17-43 7-12 45.
Independence.......... 14 9 11 9 — 43
Fort Scott................... 11 15 12 7 — 45
Three-point field goals: Independence 6-15 (Daniels 3-6, McGrath 2-7, Collier 1-1, Lewis 0-1), Fort Scott 4-14 (Jones 2-5, J.Lawrence 1-4, Michaud 1-5).
Total fouls: Independence 12, Fort Scott 9. Fouled out: None.
Rebounds: Independence 38 (Lewis 12), Fort Scott 27 (Hall 7). Assists: Independence 7 (Daniels 3), Fort Scott 11 (Jones 5). Turnovers: Independence 13, Fort Scott 9. Steals: Independence 6 (Farley 2), Fort Scott 8 (Jones 3, Michaud 30. Blocked shots: Independence 1 (Lewis), Fort Scott 3 (N.Lawrence 2).