ROCKINGHAM — Games are won and lost at the free-throw line — the Lady Scots learned that the hard way on Tuesday in the first round of the girl’s Southeastern Conference tournament. The No. 5 Lady Scots traveled to Rockingham to take on the No. 4 Richmond.
After tying for the conference title with Lumberton last season, losing in the first round of the tournament to the Lady Raiders, 63-48, was a serious fall from grace for the Lady Scots.
The difference between a win and a loss for the Lady Scots came at the free-throw line. The team made 22 trips to the free-throw line on Tuesday. The Lady Scots finished the game making 24 of 43 free-throws, which averages out to 56 percent from the line.
That left 19 points up for grabs, if the Lady Scots had made all 43 free-throws they would have beat Richmond by four, instead of losing by 15.
The Lady Scots started the first quarter off a little shaky, and got into some foul trouble early. Senior Khasiya Sellers, junior Amaya Pegues and sophomore Niaria Leach all had to take a seat after quickly picking up two fouls a piece. The fouls forced Lady Scots head coach Mallarie Snow to go with some unique line-ups, but her team still found a way to end the first quarter with a two-point lead, 13-11.
The lead didn’t last long as Richmond turned up the pressure on defense and forced 13 Lady Scots turnovers in the second quarter. Unable to keep the ball for longer than a few steps, the Lady Scots found themselves in a 31-22 hole at the break.
The third quarter saw a mess for both teams, as the two combined for 20 turnovers. The Lady Raiders came up with three steals on defense that resulted in points each time. By the end of the quarter, the Lady Raiders had extended their lead t0 13 points, 44-31.
The Lady Scots offense continued to turn the ball over in the fourth quarter with Richmond often times just taking the ball right out of the Lady Scots hands. Despite putting Pegues, Leach and Sellers back into the game, the Lady Scots were too far behind, down 19 points mid-way through the quarter.
Richmond continued to capitalize on the Lady Scots turnovers to take a third victory over the Lady Scots this season, 63-48.
The Lady Raiders will travel to Lumberton for the SEC tournament semifinals on Thursday. Lumberton (22-1) earned the tournament’s No. 1 seed due to its undefeated conference record during the regular season.
Amber Hatten can be reached 910-506-3170.