LAURINBURG — Scotland opened the 2016 calender year Tuesday the same way it concluded 2015 — with a win.
And in the process, Scotland avenged an early-season defeat to visiting Jack Britt, beating the Buccaneers 45-39 in overtime to notch its fifth victory in six games. Jack Britt won the first matchup 49-36 in Hope Mills on Dec. 16.
The Scots (7-6) came back from a one-point deficit after the third quarter to force overtime, then senior shooting guard Ashlyn Dial drilled the eventual go-ahead 3-pointer moments into the extra session.
“We didn’t do a great job of executing throughout, but when it really mattered, we were able to knock down shots and get stops,” Scotland coach Janie Hodges said.
Both teams had numerous chances to steal the win before overtime, but the Buccaneers (6-8) and Scots were unable to break the 37-37 tie during the final minute of a physical, foul-plagued battle.
Three Scots cracked double-digit scoring, and a fourth (sophomore Amaya Pegues) tallied eight points. Junior point guard ShanQaylia Stanton and Dial paced Scotland with 12 points each, and Stanton added four assists and three steals. Junior center Khasiya Sellers posted a double double with 10 points and 14 rebounds while Pegues added 10 boards.
Jack Britt’s Kalin Young led all scorers with 16 points and teammate Aniya Williams tacked on 10.
The fourth quarter saw more than a half-dozen lead changes after Jack Britt entered the final frame leading 25-24. With the score knotted at 32-all with 2:42 remaining, Sellers converted a big-time and-one opportunity to put the Scots on top by three.
The two-time all-SEC performer was held scoreless in the first half as she struggled to find a rhythm against the Jack Britt defense, but she fought through her frustrations to lift up her team when points were paramount.
“Once she got in a groove and got confident in the flow of the game, she was able to execute,” Hodges said.
But on the ensuring Jack Britt possession, Young sank a 3-pointer to tie the game once more. Scotland came up empty on its possession, then Williams was fouled on the next offensive sequence. She hit one of two shots from the charity stripe to give Jack Britt the advantage.
Sellers followed with another clutch basket in the paint to make it 37-36 Scotland, but Young tied the contest with a free throw. Both teams went scoreless in the final minute — Jack Britt let its best chance to take the lead slip through its fingers when Williams missed a pair of free throws after drawing a foul with 15 seconds remaining.
In overtime, Dial drilled the key 3 from the wing, Pegues hit three of four free throws and Stanton added a pair of free throw shots to clinch the Scotland victory. The Scots only allowed one basket — a Young layup when the game was already decided — during the final four minutes.
Scotland opens Southeastern Conference play Friday when it travels to Pembroke to battle Purnell Swett.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.