KNOXVILLE — When Scott High last played in Strawberry Plains, the Highlanders needed a last-second miracle from junior Trey Morrow to avoid defeat, winning 55-54.
That was five weeks ago. It might as well have been five years ago.
In Saturday’s rematch — which came in a game with much higher stakes; a win-or-go-home affair — the Highlanders dominated the Hornets, winning 63-31 with a running clock in the game’s closing stages.
An and-one by senior Eli Storey with under three minutes remaining gave Scott High a 61-26 lead, keying the running clock on a night when the Highlanders were surprisingly dominant.
Much like the first time the two teams played, when Scott High stormed back from an 18-point deficit to win in dramatic fashion, Carter was intent on slowing the tempo. It worked, too, but the Hornets weren’t happy with the end result on the offensive end. The Highlanders’ stifling half court zone defense frustrated Carter. In fact, the Hornets had just two shot attempts in the first four minutes of the game, and by that point had more than twice as many turnovers as looks at the basket.
Scott High built a 10-2 lead, and the game was never really in question. The Highlanders led 23-13 at halftime, even though Morrow was limited to just six points in the first half.
Junior Luke West was the story for the Highlanders in the first 16 minutes, with a game-high eight points and five steals. He would finish with 15 points and six steals in one of his best games of the season.
The third quarter saw Scott High finally begin to force the tempo — even though coach Jordan Jeffers had jumped into a press late in the first quarter in an effort to speed things up — and the Highlanders quickly put the game away.
Morrow and senior Cash Tucker were big in the third period. Tucker had 10 of his 14 points in the third. He also finished the game with nine rebounds.
Morrow, who finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds, also had 10 points in the third quarter. By the time he slammed home a dunk with 2:00 remaining in the third, Scott’s lead had grown to 45-20, and the end result was a mere formality.
Scott High continued to widen the lead in the fourth quarter, as Morrow scored seven more and West knocked down a 3-point shot.
The win kept Scott High’s season alive, earning the Highlanders a rematch with Kingston in the region semifinals. The Yellow Jackets have defeated Scott three times this season. The two regular season games between the two teams were neck-and-neck, before Kingston won by 16 in the District 4-AA semifinals. The fourth meeting between the Highlanders and the Yellow Jackets was to have been an elimination game, played Tuesday in Roane County.
SCOTT (63): Morrow 23, West 15, Tucker 14, McCarty 5, Storey 2, Todd 2, Bodwell 2.
CARTER (31): Reynolds 11, McKeehan 7, Clark 3, Ramsey 3, Smith 3, McNew 2, Wilson 2.