ALCOA — If Scott had a nemesis during its 16-0 start, it might have been finishing games.
On Tuesday, January 14, that bit the Highlanders, as Alcoa came back from 12 down to win on its home floor, 68-62, handing Scott its first loss of the season.
Scott High has had impressive second half comebacks this season, none moreso than a rebound from a 17-point deficit against Anderson County. But there have also been late-game comebacks by opponents. Kingston roared back from a huge hole to force overtime, and Livingston bounced back from a 14-point halftime deficit to have a shot to win at the buzzer.
But Alcoa was the first team that was actually able to complete the challenge, overcoming a 12-point hole after the opening period for the 6-point win.
Scott was as impressive out of the gates as it has been all season. By the time Logan Goodman’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer settled through the net at the end of the first quarter, the Highlanders were up 24-12. Goodman would go on to finish with 29 points.
Trey Morrow had 10 points in that first quarter. He finished with 22 points and 8 rebounds.
While Alcoa slowly chipped away at the margin, it was still a six-point hole going into the final period. The Tornadoes had managed to hold Morrow scoreless in the second quarter, but Goodman had 11 to help the Highlanders maintain an eight-point lead going into the half. In the third quarter, Morrow and Goodman teamed up for 16 — each scoring eight — as the two teams played nearly evenly.
But the Tornadoes took charge in the fourth quarter. Alcoa first tied the game, then took care of its business at the free throw line. The Tornadoes were 8 of 11 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. They finished 14 of 20 at the line. By contrast, the Highlanders did not shoot a free throw until late in the third quarter, and were 3 of 3 at the line. Goodman was the only Scott High player to get to the free throw line during the game, as Alcoa was whistled for only 11 fouls.
But the free throw line wasn’t Scott’s only nemesis. The Highlanders had 20 turnovers, which offset a 61 percent shooting percentage. It was also a sub-par rebounding night for Scott High.
Nevertheless, Tuesday’s game could be perceived as a win. It takes the pressure off the Highlanders to keep their unbeaten streak alive, and will hardly matter in the final standings if they can take care of their business against the teams that matter the rest of the way. Few people around District 4-AA expected the Highlanders to be able to win on Alcoa’s home floor. But Scott proved it could stand toe-to-toe, on the road, with a team picked by some to win the district.
Scott head coach Jordan Jeffers reflected those sentiments after the game, tweeting, “Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn.
“We’ll be better and learn to finish,” he said.
Next up is a home game against Fulton on Friday. That game looms large for the Highlanders, as the Falcons are the best team in the district after defeating the Tornadoes by 14 last week.
SCOTT (62): Goodman 29, Morrow 22, Strunk 5, West 4, Tucker 2.
ALCOA (68): Burden 18, Roberts 17, Martin 11, Cates 10, Cox 6, Marsh 4, Asbury 2.