LAURINBURG — The first three minutes of Scotland’s season opener against E.E. Smith set the tone for the rest of the game.
Unfortunately for the Scots girls basketball team, they failed to crack the scoreboard and the Golden Bulls jumped out to an early 6-0 lead.
And though Janie Hodges’ squad eventually regrouped and went on an 11-1 run before the end of the first quarter, offensive droughts were all too common throughout the course of the contest as Scotland fell to the visitors from Fayetteville, 57-32.
E.E. Smith (1-1) came back from an 11-7 first-quarter deficit to take a 24-20 advantage into the halftime locker room, then proceeded to outscore the hosts 33-12 in the second half.
“Our kids didn’t want it tonight, they didn’t have the heart and desire and they got outhustled,” Hodges said after the defeat. “E.E. Smith wanted the win and it showed.”
The Golden Bulls blew open the game in the third quarter, taking advantage of Scotland’s inability to knock down open shots and layup attempts. When Scotland committed miscues on offense, its defense suffered for it as E.E. Smith repeatedly beat the Scots down the court for transition baskets. By the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Golden Bulls had built a 43-26 advantage.
Rayvin Griffin in particular had her way against every Scotland defender that attempted to check her, scoring a game-high 20 points. Two other Golden Bulls reached double-digits as well — Jasmine Lucas had 14 and Arielle Wilson tacked on 10.
“They beat us in transition, you can’t beat a team when they score 12 points a quarter from transition points,” Hodges said.
Two-time all-Southeastern Conference performers ShanQaylia Stanton, Ashlyn Dial and Khasiya Sellers all struggled in the opener. Stanton scored a team-high 13 points, but committed several turnovers and missed most of her field goal attempts. Dial, one of Scotland’s best 3-point shooters a season ago, was also mired in a shooting slump and only tallied seven points. The 6-2 Sellers never found a rhythm in the post while defended by the 6-5 Wilson, who racked up multiple blocks while patrolling the paint. The Scotland junior finished with six points.
“Shots weren’t falling, we have to execute when we have wide-open shots and we didn’t do that tonight,” Hodges said. “It kills momentum when you have a wide-open layup and you just blow it.”
Hodges mentioned her girls didn’t come close to playing to their full potential, saying she had a good feeling about her team entering the opener based on their performances in scrimmages.
“Ultimately, we just have to get back in practice and refocus and get better,” Hodges said. “It’s very disappointing that my kids came out tonight and acted like we haven’t played basketball for the past two weekends.”
Scotland, now 0-1 on the season, will look to regroup Monday when it travels to Fayetteville to take on Terry Sanford.
“Hopefully they’ll learn from their mistakes,” Hodges said. “It’s early, but we have a lot of work to do.”
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.