Corbin Ensminger Sports Editor
December 18, 2013
LAURINBURG — Once again the Scotland basketball team played hard in the fourth quarter but could not close the gap, losing to South View 67-59 Wednesday.
The Scots scored 31 points in the final frame, but every time they cut the lead to ten or fewer points, South View would score on a fast break or on free throws. Scotland coach Michael Malpass said the key to winning is getting the team to play that hard for the entire game. Malpass said a lack of effort on “hustle plays” put the Scots in a hole they were unable to climb out of.
“In the first half we gave up 14 of what I call hustle plays. Six were on offensive rebounds, four to not getting back on defense and we gave up two where we moved out of the way when we had clear charge opportunities,” Malpass said. “We’re not able to sustain four quarters and play hard yet, and that’s where we’re lacking. We play hard in spurts, we execute in spurts but you can’t win playing 2.5 quarters really hard when you’re getting beat on those kind of plays.”
The game started off as a low-scoring contest, as it was 9-9 after the first quarter. However, South View out-paced Scotland 36-19 over the next two quarters to pull away. Malpass said it is his job to figure out how to make the team think differently, and focus for the entire contest.
“In basketball you’re never going to execute perfectly for all four quarters, but we just need to execute enough to win and be able to make those hustle plays. We’ve waited to play hard. How to get them to think differently is on me,” Malpass said.
The game was similar to last week’s contest with Red Springs, where Scotland nearly came from behind, but could not close the gap in the fourth quarter. South View presented a new challenge for the Scots, as they played the zone defense, something Malpass’ team had not had to face yet.
Scotland’s offense struggled at times running their offense against the zone, but got it going late. Guard Jordan Ratliffe led the Scots with his 23 points and Travis Miles scored 11 for the Scots. Jeremias Easterling, a forward, had a strong game as well as he added 13 points.
“He played better. We’ve been on him about using his athleticism to make some moves and attacking the glass, and I thought tonight his energy and athleticism was a factor,” Malpass said.
The Scots are back in action tonight against Laney. That game will begin after the girls’ game, which is at 6 p.m.