LAURINBURG — Scotland High School hosted its annual fall banquet Thursday night, where coaches from each fall sport honored their student-athletes with end-of-season awards.
The proceedings opened with athletic director and football coach Richard Bailey thanking the student-athletes, parents and coaches for their hard work and dedication they displayed during the year.
Girls golf coach Michael Way was the first coach to take the stage, and he handed out three awards. Brooke Bathie, who was the lone Scot to qualify for the all-Southeastern Conference team, was named Most Valuable Player. Way selected Emily McClellan as Most Improved, and Caroline Bounds garnered the Coach’s Award.
“Some of them were new to the game, and some of them have only been playing for a year or two, so they gained some valuable experience this year,” Way said. “We’re looking for big things in the coming years.”
Girls tennis coach Atondra Ellis followed Way, and she tabbed Camryn Ellis and Anna Griswold as co-MVPs. The pair qualified for the all-SEC team as Scotland’s No. 1 doubles team, and they advanced to the second round of the 4A East Regional.
As a team, Scotland finished the year with a 7-5 overall record and a 6-4 mark in the SEC.
Liza McIntyre won the Coach’s award, and Cheyanne Strong was Most Improved.
Cross country coach Greg Wrape was up next — Scotland’s boys team finished second in the SEC behind Pinecrest. Jaylaan Poe and Tyler Sellers were the Scots’ all-SEC performers, and Mylasia Pratt earned all-SEC honors on the girls’ side.
Poe and Pratt were named Runners of the Year by Wrape, and Drew Guinn won the Coach’s Award. Bradley Pate rounded out the awards, winning Most Improved.
Molly Hayes presented the volleyball awards for a Scotland team that finished 13-10 overall and 7-3 in the SEC this season. The Scots tied for second in the conference standings and appeared in the first round of the 4A state playoffs.
“We had some extreme highs this season where the girls played amazing, and we also had the opposite of that at some games,” Hayes said. “We worked through the frustrations and I truly believe we became a strong team.”
All-SEC sophomore Nahir Pegues was the Most Improved, and Kandon Luquer earned the Coach’s Award. Junior captain and all-SEC selection Emma Gray Beacham was named MVP. Kaitlin Lewis rounded out the all-conference selections.
The Scotland boys soccer team finished 7-12 this year, 2-8 in the SEC, and had two players selected to the all-conference squad in McKenzie White and Jeb Britt.
“Our season was streaky — we’d go on a streak where we’d lose three or four games then win three or four games, so it was dealing and adjusting on the fly,” said head coach Danny Gallagher.
White, the team’s leading goal-scorer, was named MVP, and Britt earned the Best Defensive Player Award. Gallagher gave the Coach’s Award to Travis Jackson, and John Williams was Most Improved.
Bailey rounded out the coaches by handing out a dozen awards to his football team. The Scots finished 12-1 this year and won their fifth straight SEC championship en route to a second-round appearance in the 4A state playoffs. Bailey mentioned that the senior class set to graduate this summer compiled a 51-6 record during their four years with the program, a mark unsurpassed by any other class in Scotland history.
“I’ve been doing this for 24 years, and this group is one of the most fun, most enjoyable to coach. They’re great kids, they worked hard and they put in the time,” Bailey said.
14 Scots were selected to the all-SEC team at season’s end — J’Quan Breeden, Willie Douglas, Dashaun Ferguson, Trevon Gibson, Wells Graham, Donta Green, Niga Hailey, Randy Leak, Octavis McLaurin, Redric McLean, Timon McMillan, Jonathan Smith, Mazani Stubbs and Zamir White.
Six Scots were all-SEC honorable mention: Malik Bryant, Grant Ciarrocca, Bryson Patterson, Jalen Poole, Alston Smith and Mitchell Smith.
White, the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year who tallied a school-record 43 total touchdowns, was honored as the Scots’ Offensive MVP. Two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year Jonathan Smith was given the team’s Defensive MVP award.
Ferguson received Best Back; Leak the Best Wide Receiver; McMillan the Best Offensive Lineman; Stubbs the Best Defensive Lineman; Graham the Best Linebacker; Gibson the Best Defensive Back; Jacob Young the Specialist Award; Patterson the Most Improved; Bryan Baines the Most Dedicated; and Poole the Coach’s Award.
Bailey received the SEC Coach of the Year award at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Scotland will have an end-of-the-year banquet when winter and spring sports wrap up in May.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.