Nevada 59, Smith-Cotton 49
The Smith-Cotton Lady Tigers were prepared to enter halftime against Nevada with the lead. They led the entire first half, their press was effective and Cheyanne Tumlinson had just hit her second three of the game.
Within 30 seconds, Nevada cashed in on a turnover and scored on an inbounds play to tie the game at 25 before half.
It was deflating. And it only signaled more grief for the Lady Tigers, who lost 59-49 Tuesday on senior night.
Tumlinson led Smith-Cotton with 15 points on five 3-pointers. Monique Grant and Kiara Williams scored 11 points apiece.
Megan Payne led Nevada with 16 points. Renee Cox scored 14 points for Nevada.
On top of unlocking the complexities of S-C’s press, Nevada also trapped the Lady Tigers’ guards late. Nevada accrued a game-high 10-point lead before the final buzzer sounded.
Smith-Cotton head coach Zach Vandevender said adjustments made by Nevada, and using a variety of S-C lineups handicapped the full-court press’ effectiveness.
“We got a lot of different girls in there,” Vandevender said. “We played a lot of girls, and I think we just miscued a few times on getting back. We just kind of ran out of steam there at the end.”
A pair of free-throws from Carsten Warner gave Nevada a one-point edge two minutes into the second half.
After relinquishing the lead in the third, Smith-Cotton was held to four points the rest of the quarter.
Megan Hold opened the game with a three. Smith-Cotton responded with a 7-0 run. The Tigers led 10-6 after a Williams 3-pointer.
Cox cut the Nevada deficit to 15-10 with a field goal in the post. She scored twice more to open the second quarter to bring Nevada within one.
Smith-Cotton 56, Nevada 47
A second-half run from Nevada made things interesting late, but Smith-Cotton celebrated senior night with a win that featured few surprises, but was not easy.
Dante Scroggins, one of two S-C seniors, led the Tigers with 24 points and seven rebounds. Zion Buckner added 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Smith-Cotton head coach Brennan Scanlon said his Tigers slowed down on both sides of the ball to let Nevada back into the game.
“We didn’t get stops when we needed to and we weren’t hitting shots on the other end,” Scanlon said. “It was a combination of not getting stops and not hitting shots. But that’s basketball. Teams go on runs and you have to fight through it.”
Nevada cut an 11-point halftime lead to six before the final quarter.
Matthew Sommer cut the Nevada deficit to 39-34 with a trey early in the fourth. Sommer finished the game with 12 points.
Gavin Jones gave the Tigers a 42-36 lead with a corner three.
Clay Gayman led Nevada with 12 points, scoring 10 for the visiting Tigers in the second half. He brought Nevada within three points with a layup with 3:31 to play.
Brandon Couch made the lead five again with a floater. Buckner kept Nevada at bay with a 3-pointer that sent the student section into a frenzy.
Kendall Weymuth sprouted above the Nevada frontcourt for a rebound and hit two subsequent free-throws to give S-C a 50-44 lead late.
Senior Smith-Cotton Tiger Nick Keller, who checked into the game with 16 seconds to play, was welcomed to wild applause after students requested his entrance with cheers of “Mamba! Mamba!”
Scanlon said he was proud of Scroggins’ senior-night performance.
“He didn’t have his best game, but he led us to another victory,” Scanlon said. “Really, really happy for him.”
A pair of early free-throws from Scroggins tied the game at five.
Zion Buckner layed in a bucket after a successful eurostep. A 3-point attempt from Myles McNeley, who had 2 earlier, rattled out before the quarter ended. Smith-Cotton led 13-10.
Scroggins spun past a defender and dunked to make the score 19-13 early in the second. Smith-Cotton entered halftime leading 28-17 after a Buckner elbow jumper.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2