LAURINBURG — The Scotland girls basketball team learned its postseason fate over the weekend as Janie Hodges’ squad was selected as a No. 14 seed in this year’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs.
The tournament, which begins first-round action today, will continue until a champion is determined on March 12. Scotland will host No. 19 R.J. Reynolds tonight at home for its opening contest — the two schools were paired on the west side of the bracket. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.
The Scots are coming off a 64-57 defeat to Lumberton Friday in the Southeastern Conference tournament championship game while the Demons last took the floor in a 48-44 loss to West Forsyth in the Central Piedmont tournament semifinals.
The winner of the Scotland-R.J. Reynolds tilt will advance to the second round to play either No. 3 South Caldwell or No. 30 Lake Norman.
Scotland (17-9, 9-1 SEC), which was a regular season co-champion of the SEC, has only lost twice in the past month with both defeats coming at the hands of Lumberton. The Scots are paced by a trio of two-time all-SEC selections in ShanQaylia Stanton, Ashlyn Dial and Khasiya Sellers. Stanton leads the team in points (13.6), assists (4.0) and steals (3.0) per game, while Sellers is second in points (10.5) and first in rebounding (10.3) and blocks (1.9) Dial is close behind at 10.4 points per contest, and she is second in assists (3.2) and steals (2.3).
R.J. Reynolds (17-8, 8-4 CPC), which is coached by Johnathan Gainey, has alternated wins and losses in its last five outings. The Demons finished in a tie for third in the Central Piedmont Conference, one game behind co-champions Reagan and West Forsyth. Tierra Wilson and Amari Cuthbertson spearhead a two-pronged attack for the Demons as both average nearly 20 points per game.
Wilson (19.9 points) is the leading scorer on the team, but she is also a reliable facilitator (4.9 assists). The junior also gets the job done on the defensive end of the floor, averaging 2.9 steals per game. The Scots can’t just key in on her, though, as her backcourt mate, Cuthbertson, is averaging 18.2 points per game. The sophomore rebounds at a prolific clip for a guard (6.4 per game) and she is second on the squad in steals (2.6) and third in assists (3.2).
Three other SEC schools earned bids to the state tournament. Lumberton was awarded the highest seed of any team in the conference — the Pirates were tabbed as a No. 4 seed in the east, and they will host No. 29 Jack Britt. Hoke is a No. 21 seed in the east and it will travel to No. 12 New Bern, and Pinecrest joins Scotland in the west as a No. 31 seed. The Patriots will hit the road to battle No. 2 Mallard Creek.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.