LAURINBURG — Scotland boys basketball coach Matt Justin has said all year that he likes the depth of his team.
That depth was on display Wednesday when three reserves helped spark the Scots’ overtime win at Lumberton, and in Friday night’s matchup against Purnell Swett, another player off the bench was instrumental in the outcome.
Tyrese Baucum came off the pine to score 15 points in the fourth quarter as Scotland rallied from a nine-point deficit to force overtime. In the extra session, Baucum only notched two points, but they came on a pair of clutch free throws in the closing seconds to stave off the upset-minded Rams, 81-76.
For the second straight contest against a Robeson County opponent, it was Scotland that found itself on the ropes for much of the game. The Rams (3-12, 0-6 SEC) were quicker to loose balls and they relentlessly drove to the basket while playing feisty defense. It also helped that Scotland (10-8, 5-1 SEC) was ice-cold from 3-point range — the Scots didn’t hit a shot from behind the arc during regulation.
The game was tied 8-8 after the first quarter, and Purnell Swett held a 30-27 advantage at the halftime break. The Rams extended their advantage to 51-44 entering the final period before Scotland found its offense.
Baucum notched 15 of the Scots’ 26 points in the quarter, scoring most of them in the paint after strong drives to the goal. He finished with a team-high 21 points but Purnell Swett was able to hang around thanks to its 6-foot-7 center Austin Edwards.
Edwards netted 18 points for the Rams, but he missed two free throws with 18 seconds remaining in overtime that would have tied the game.
Baucum came down with the rebound after the second misfire, and proceeded to sink two shots from the charity stripe to all but end it.
Lady Scots roll Rams by 27
Two days after the Scotland girls basketball team saw its 14-game Southeastern Conference win streak come to an end at the hands Lumberton, the Scots welcomed Purnell Swett to Laurinburg Friday looking to begin anew.
The loss to the Pirates was the first time Janie Hodges’ squad had suffered an SEC defeat in almost two years, but Scotland rebounded from that performance to put away the visiting Rams and get back on the winning track. The Scots cruised to a 59-32 victory.
But it took a little longer than expected for the Scots to secure the victory, and it wasn’t because of Purnell Swett’s ability to stay within striking distance.
The fire alarm at the school went off with 2:39 in the third quarter, delaying the contest for almost thirty minutes. Scotland led 41-22 when the sirens blared throughout Scotland gym, prompting the spectators to head for the exits. Fans, coach and players remained outside for most of the half hour as they awaited the all-clear from the Scotland County Fire Department.
The break in the action did little to phase the hosts, however, as Scotland never allowed Purnell Swett to draw any closer.
ShanQaylia Stanton filled up the stat sheet for the Scots, scoring a game-high 24 points to go along with 12 rebounds, eight assists, six steals and one block. Ashlyn Dial was the only other Scot to crack double-digit scoring, tallying 12 points and five assists.
The only time Scotland (12-8, 5-1 SEC) trailed during the contest was when it found itself down 8-4 halfway through the first quarter. But the Scots ended the period on a 10-0 run to take the lead for good.
Scotland built its advantage to 14 points by halftime, then extended it to 19 before the alarms sounded in the closing minutes of the third.
Purnell Swett was paced by Paige Sweeney, who netted nine points.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.