After an underwhelming week of practice, Scotland JV lady Scots’ coach Linda Crosland was concerned about her team’s preparedness heading into their Jan. 18 home game against Hoke County.
And for extended stretches against the lady Bucks, Crosland’s concerns were proven right.
Turnovers and inconsistent offense plagued the lady Scots throughout in a low-scoring game which placed a premium on defense and timely baskets.
But as is often the case for championship-caliber teams, the lady Scots managed to pull out the ugly 37-32 victory. And while it might not have been pretty, Scotland bolstered their undefeated record to 8-0 to maintain on top of the conference.
“Our practices haven’t been good lately, and that’s why we played the way we played tonight,” said Crosland after her team’s victory. “We made a lot of careless mistakes that we normally don’t make. But it’s always a good thing when you can win a game when you’re not playing your best.”
If the lady Scots were suffering from a lack of cohesion in recent practices, they didn’t show it in the opening minutes of Friday night’s game. When Scotland floor general Ashlyn Dial found an open Qutina Everette beyond the arc for the uncontested three-pointer, it capped off a 9-0 run that the lady Scots compiled in the first three minutes of the game, which prompted a Hoke timeout to halt their momentum.
The backcourt combination of Dial and Everette has been one of Scotland’s biggest catalysts for success this season, and this past Friday night it was no different. Dial and Everette combined for 31 of the lady Scots’ 37 points in the game, as each scored 14 and 17 points, respectively.
Yet, after that opening offensive explosion, Scotland went a combined 1-9 from the field to close the quarter, and Hoke managed to claw their way back into the contest despite scoring just five points in the quarter.
The first quarter ended with Scotland up 11-6 over the lady Bucks.
While she only made one basket in the second quarter, Dial didn’t shy away from attacking the basket which resulted in six points coming at the free throw line. But Hoke managed to bridge the gap even further heading into halftime based largely on the performance of forward Mikayla King. The freshman scored seven of her nine points on the evening in the second quarter, including a three-pointer with under a minute left to end the first half with the lady Bucks down just 24-21 to Scotland.
The lady Scots followed halftime with an offensive performance that should have spelled the end of their unbeaten streak. In the final 16 minutes of play, Scotland managed to sink just three combined baskets with a shooting percentage dipping below 20%. Yet, their aggressiveness and hard-nosed defense never faltered throughout, as the game devolved into a free-throw shooting contest in the waning minutes once both teams reached their foul limits.
And as bad as the lady Scots played down the stretch, Hoke was even worse, managing just 12 points in the final two quarters combined despite having numerous opportunities to capitalize on Scotland turnovers.