Scots unable to hold halftime lead

Corbin Ensminger Sports Editor

December 19, 2013

LAURINBURG — Another night, another fourth-quarter rally that came up just short for Scotland as the Scots lost to Laney High School 67-59 on Thursday.

Like the previous two games, the Scots strung together several points in the final quarter to narrow the gap, but were unable to find that final push needed. The closest Scotland came in the fourth quarter was three-points, but then Laney made a few fast break shots and free throws to win the game.

It was the third game in a row that Scotland (0-4) found itself behind to start the fourth quarter, although in this game the Scots actually led 31-30 at halftime. Coach Michael Malpass said the team did better to stay competitive throughout the entire game, but still needs to find that finishing touch.

“We competed a little better, we executed better and we hung around longer but we’ve still got to learn how to finish and win. There are a lot of reasons,” Malpass said.

One reason, Malpass said, was a few missed chances to swing the game’s momentum by taking charges or coming down with an offensive rebound.

“That’s on me to be able to ingrain in these guys what it takes to be able to finish and win.”

The Scots got off to a strong start by making shots and coming up with defensive stops. They led 17-11 after the first quarter. But the third quarter was where Laney took over. Scotland only scored two points through the first six minutes of the third quarter, and was outscored 15-8 in that frame.

Malpass said consistency is key to having a good team, and that is something that will likely improve once the Scots get a taste of victory.

“The challenge when you’re building a program is consistency and teaching them to finish in every phase. And that will remain to be the challenge until we get over the hump. Then once they experience finishing and what that brings about I think it will grow them up and mature them a little bit,” Malpass said.

Junior guard Travis Miles led the Scots with his 21 points. Jordan Ratliffe added 14 and Jaylend Ratliffe had 12.

Malpass said the Scots looked better offensively than they did in Wednesday’s game.

“I was really proud of our zone offense. We’re starting to find our identity but it’s all about finishing games.”

The Scots are off until Dec. 27, when they travel to West Bladen High School for a Christmas Tournament that will last until Dec. 30.