HENDERSON – There’s not too much at stake in the first game of the year, but Elizabeth Barrow faced a reasonably big moment in the Scotts Hill basketball team’s season opener Tuesday night.
Barrow made both her free throws with 1:21 left, and those turned out to be the tying and winning free throws as the Lady Lions beat host Chester County 67-65.
Barrow said she was “not so good” at the free throw line last year.
“I was just praying that all my practicing was working. I’ve been working on them since last year,” she said.
Chester County junior Paige Pipkin tried a bank shot that narrowly missed, and the Eaglettes nearly forced a turnover in the waning seconds. But Scotts Hill got possession on a fortunate loose ball and Lauren Scott made one of two free throws with two seconds left.
The 6-1 senior Barrow had 10 points, including some helpful baskets off rebounds.
Kaitlyn Hayes, a senior, led Scotts Hill (1-0) with 21 points including two 3-pointers.
“She’s been working hard on her 3 and she’s made a lot of progress on it,” Barrow said. “She used to not be able to hit them as consistently as she does now. Now she’s an all-around player completely.”
Chester County starter Kelsey Luttrell left the game early in the first quarter and did not put weight on her left foot as she was helped off. Chester County coach Lee Pipkin didn’t know the severity of the injury.
The Lady Lions climbed out of a double-digit deficit in the first half, cutting Chester County’s lead to 43-38 at the half. Scotts Hill took its first lead at 52-50 late in the third quarter when Lyndy Anderson fed Chelsey Gore for a fast break lay-up, but Amya Boyle scored to tie the game entering the fourth.
Anderson had two more assists, including a beautiful bounce pass to Katie Wyatt, and then made a basket to put Scotts Hill ahead 62-55. Boyle scored five straight points, and after two Scotts Hill foul shots Pipkin completed a 3-point play thanks to Boyle’s hustle to save the ball.
Pipkin made two more free throws to put her team up one, but Barrow did the same for Scotts Hill.
Paige Pipkin’s foul trouble and Luttrell’s injury triggered more playing time for some Chester County players who Lee Pipkin said were probably not ready yet. She said Scotts Hill capitalized on all her team’s mistakes.
“Everybody wants to play offense. Nobody wants to play defense,” Lee Pipkin said. “We didn’t play together. It was every man out for themselves. I’m irritated right now because I’m think we’re better, we’re so much better, than what we did out there tonight.”
Gore had 13 points for Scotts Hill, and Scott and Wyatt added nine each.
Paige Pipkin led Chester County (0-1) with 20 points. Margie Coleman, a transfer from McNairy who is a strong shooter but also tall enough to help inside, scored 16, and Boyle had 13. Lee Pipkin and her staff believe the team has great potential, but players must get to know each other and learn each other’s tendencies.
“Whenever we shift our focus from the offensive end to the defensive end, we’ll be in really good shape because we have kids that can put the ball in the basket,” she said.
Craig Thomas, 425-9634