KNOXVILLE — Scott High’s quest for its first district championship game appearance in nearly 25 years came up short here Friday, as the Lady Highlanders fell to Fulton in the District 4-AA semifinals, 54-40.
After the two teams played nearly evenly for much of the first half, the Falcons closed the second quarter on a run and the Lady Highlanders were never able to recover.
Scott High was up 16-14 midway through the second quarter, before Fulton went on a 13-3 run to end the first half with an 8-point lead. That lead ballooned to as much as 14 points in the third quarter, and the Lady Highlanders were never able to get back into it, although they had opportunities in both the third and fourth quarters to trim the gap to single digits.
Perhaps the Lady Highlanders’ best chance to get back in it was midway through the final period, when Julia Butts stole the ball and knocked down a 3-point shot that would have trimmed the lead to seven, but was whistled for a controversial walk that negated the score.
Playing its aggressive brand of defense that has led it to 20-plus wins this season as District 4-AA’s most improved team, Fulton was able to take away Butts, the Lady Highlanders’ leading scorer. Callie Carson, Scott High’s senior point guard, led the way with 15 points, but no other player scored more than seven.
The free throw line was a huge advantage for the Falcons. They shot 19 more free throws than Scott High in the second half, and had a 36-16 advantage at the line for the game.
In the fourth quarter, in fact, Fulton hit only two field goals, but went to the line 19 times. Falcons guard Anila Matthews shot 12 free throws all by herself in the fourth quarter — nearly as many as the entire Scott High team shot for the entire game.
The Falcons didn’t shoot a particularly high percentage from the line, hitting only 21 of 36 attempts, while Scott High was 10 of 16 from the line. But the 11-point advantage was more than enough for Fulton, which won by 14 despite hitting only two more field goals than the Lady Highlanders.
Carson had six rebounds to accompany her 15 points. Annalyne Woodward had a team-high eight rebounds to go along with four points. Rachel Garrett had seven rebounds and seven points.
The loss means that Scott High will be at home on Monday to face Kingston in the district’s third place game, then on the road on Feb. 26 to face either Northview Academy or Gatlinburg-Pittman.
SCOTT (40): Carson 15, Garrett 7, Woodward 4, Lewallen 4, Young 4, J. Butts 4, Duncan 2.
FULTON (54): Taylor 19, Matthews 11, Simmons 9, Gates 6, Knighton 5, Moore 4.