According to Scotland varsity girls head coach David Johnson, the team spends more practice on defensive drills than in any other area of the game.
If the first two games of the season are any indication, then the constant commitment to improving their team defense has paid dividends for the lady Scots.
Scotland easily defeated Southern Lee Wednesday night by a final score of 66-31, as the lady Scots forced the Cavs into countless turnovers and held their opponent to just a 13-35 shooting night.
“We spend so much time on our defense because that’s what will consistently win us games,” said Johnson, whose Scotland squad is now 2-0 on the young season. “Some games will be more close than others this year to be sure, so in those games our defense will be the difference between winning and losing.”
After holding their season-opening opponent Whiteville scoreless in the first quarter, the lady Scots watched as Southern Lee point guard Brianna Taylor drained a three-pointer to open Wednesday night’s contest.
However, it would be the lady Cavs’ only bucket of the first quarter, as Southern Lee proceeded to finish the quarter going 1-6 as Scotland’s vaunted defense applied a first-half stranglehold.
The Lady Scots finished the quarter by scoring 20 straight points to take the 20-3 lead heading into the second.
Though she finished the first half with seven points, Jonissa Monley was just part of Scotland’s team-oriented offense that saw eight different players notch a basket in the half alone.
One of those players was sophomore center Destiny Campbell, who scored six of her 10 game points in the second quarter as the lady Scots continued to roll.
Perhaps the most telling indication of Scotland’s selfless style of play was the number of assists that the lady Scots tallied: 13 combined in the first half, and 19 for the game.
“When we play unselfish and spread the ball around, it builds good team camaraderie all around,” Johnson said. “In order to play up-tempo and make those easy transition baskets, we have to share, and that’s exactly what we did tonight.”
The score was 40-8 in favor of the lady Scots at halftime.
After both teams returned to the court for the second half of regulation, Southern Lee found some semblance of offensive production. Taylor would score five of her team-high 11 points in the third quarter, which were part of a 16-point quarter for the lady Cavaliers in what was easily their best output of the night.
But the lady Scots were never in danger of allowing a miraculous comeback, as the defense only allowed Southern Lee the occasional run in fits and spurts. Scotland pounded the glass all night to the tune of 43 team rebounds (Monley, D’Andra Spinks Quintavia Deberry had more than six boards each) and capitalized all night on Southern Lee’s forced pass attempts and miscues. The lady Scots added 22 combined steals as well, with eight of those belonged to Ariel Ratcliff, who also added a game-high six assists as well to her nine points.
The lady Scots will next travel to Cape Fear Dec. 7 for the next game in their non-conference schedule.