KNOXVILLE — Less than 17 hours removed from the conclusion of a defining district win over Austin-East on Friday, the Lady Highlanders were unable to string together back-to-back district wins here Saturday afternoon.
Instead, Scott High fell to Fulton, 58-44, in a preview of a District 4-AA semifinal game that will be played on the same floor.
The Lady Highlanders never led against the Falcons, and struggled to find offensive consistency against Fulton’s aggressive defensive pressure.
Nevertheless, the game did not hurt Scott High in the district standings; the Lady Highlanders already had third place locked down, and Fulton already had second place locked down.
Sammy Taylor, the Falcons’ freshman phenom, finished with 18 points to lead all scorers. However, that was 10 fewer than she scored in the teams’ first meeting in Huntsville last month, and about eight points shy of her season average.
But she had enough help from teammate Jamia Simmons to push her team over the top. Simmons hit three early 3-pointers to set the tone, before getting into foul trouble. She finished with 17 points.
Simmons had 11 points in the first quarter, helping Fulton to a 21-10 lead as the Falcons threatened to run away with the game early. Taylor added eight points in the first quarter, and the Falcons limited Scott to just two field goals, though the Lady Highlanders were 6 of 7 from the free throw line.
Once Scott High found its sea legs after that, the game was played close to even.
In fact, Scott outscored Fulton across the second and third quarters, 22-20.
The second quarter was about the production of Jalin Young. The sophomore had six points after Callie Carson got into foul trouble — she had four fouls in the first half alone — and Julia Butts rolled an ankle that has been giving her problems.
The third quarter saw Scott crank up the defensive intensity, keeping Fulton off-balance. Taylor had just six points in the second half, after scoring 12 in the first half.
Astoundingly, however, the Falcons shot 27 free throws to Scott High’s 17, despite their aggressive brand of defense. Scott High head coach Jake Wright did not question any of the officials’ calls, yet still wound up in a confrontation with a referee at halftime, after the official angrily approached Wright and yelled at him to “keep control of his bench.”
Ultimately, though, it was the Lady Highlanders’ shooting woes that cost them more than Fulton’s advantage at the free throw line. Scott shot just 28% from the field and was an ice-cold 9% from 3-point range.
Nevertheless, the Lady Highlanders left Jody Wright Arena feeling they’re good enough to defeat Fulton in the more important district tournament game that is upcoming. Their leading scorers, Butts and Carson, combined for just 12 points in Saturday’s game. And Scott may have found a new bright spot offensively in Annalyne Woodward. The sophomore post scored seven points in the fourth quarter and finished with a team-high 10 points.
SCOTT (44): Woodward 10, Butts 8, Doran 8, Duncan 6, Young 6, Carson 4, Lewallen 2.
FULTON (58): Taylor 18, Simmons 17, Moore 10, McCoy 5, Gates 4, Bailey 2, Matthews 1, Knighten 1.