HUNTSVILLE — The last time Scott High and Austin-East met here, the Roadrunners stormed back from an 18-point deficit to force overtime and nearly win the game.
With much higher stakes Thursday evening, the Highlanders again started strong and this time stopped A-E’s comeback attempt in its tracks, pulling off a 56-44 win.
With the victory, Scott High kept its season alive, guaranteeing itself at least three more games and an opportunity to face arch-rival Kingston on Friday with a District 4-AA championship game appearance on the line.
Trey Morrow had a double-double, with 27 points and 11 rebounds, to lead the Highlanders to their third win of the season against the Roadrunners. It was the Highlanders’ fifth win against Austin-East in their past seven tries, in their final matchup with the Roadrunners before they leave for Class AAA after the season is over.
Cash Tucker added 10 points and six assists for Scott High, but the real story — at least in the first half — might have been the defense of Dalton Prewitt. The junior had four steals and constantly dogged A-E’s ball-handlers, frustrating the Roadrunner offense.
With Austin-East unable to get into any kind of rhythm offensively, Scott High jumped to a 20-8 lead after the first quarter, capped by a Morrow buzzer-beater from 3-point range that was the Highlanders’ fourth deep ball of the opening period. Tucker, Prewitt and Luke West also hit first quarter 3-pointers.
Scott High increased the lead to 33-17 at the half, despite cooling off on the offensive end in the second quarter.
It was the third time in three tries this season that Scott High has started strong against Austin-East. But this time, when the Roadrunners attempted a second half comeback, the Highlanders stopped it cold.
Austin-East came out firing in the third quarter. Jaquarius Sanders, who didn’t play in the teams’ first meeting in East Knoxville but was a key difference-maker in the overtime game last time out, hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter, and A-E trimmed the Highlander lead to seven points.
But Morrow hit an awkward layup at the buzzer — his only points of the third quarter — to increase the lead to nine, and Austin-East never threatened in the final period.
Scott hit a whopping 58% from the field for the game, including 43% from 3-point range.
The win earned the Highlanders a spot in the upcoming Region 2-AA tournament, and also advanced Scott to the district semifinals, to be played at Kingston on Friday. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.
Kingston has defeated the Highlanders twice this season, but both games came down to a final shot attempt and Scott High — which is riding an 8-game winning streak — is arguably playing its best basketball of the season.
SCOTT (56): Morrow 27, Tucker 10, Prewitt 6, McCarty 6, West 5, Todd 2.
AUSTIN-EAST (44): Morgan 20, Sanders 11, Steen 6, Allen 4, Mitchell 3.