What a difference mere days can make in the fortunes of the varsity basketball Fighting Scots.
On Friday Feb. 1, the Scots rode an explosive 21-point first quarter to their second win of the regular season, a 78-66 victory over Purnell Swett. Morale and team support were at an all-time high, and the result was Scotland’s most impressive game of the season.
But returning home on Monday night to welcome the Lumberton Pirates, Scotland once again fell into the bad habits which have lingered throughout the frustrating 2012-13 season. From being dominated on the boards to appearing lost at times offensively, the Scots fell behind early to a red-hot Pirates’ squad and never recovered, resulting in a resounding 76-55 loss which was their 14th on the year.
“We came out flat and then started to panic,” said Scotland coach Jackie Amos. “If we get down, these guys automatically think they’re going to lose because that’s how it’s been this season. Last Friday (against Purnell Swett) everyone was involved and supportive of one another, and you didn’t see any of that tonight.”
Providing consistent offensive has proven to be the biggest hurdle for Scotland to overcome this season, and it became readily apparent in the first quarter when Lumberton started out on fire.
The Pirates began the game going 5-6 from the field, but Scotland momentarily halted the Lumberton onslaught with baskets from Artemis Robinson and Robert McKoy. Robinson scored a game-high 22 points, with 11 of those coming in the fourth quarter when the game was far out of reach. Scotland point-forward Tra’Shawn Gregory added 11 points on the night as well.
Lumberton would never stop pouring it on, however, as Colby Johnson’s nine first-quarter points (which included six points from beyond the arc) were part of the Pirates’ 28-point explosion that left Scotland gasping for their collective breath. The first quarter ended with the Pirates up 28-10 over the Scots.
Offense became even tougher to come by for the Scots in the second quarter, as Scotland scored just eight points on 3-11 shooting while Lumberton converted one easy transition layup after another. Lumberton team captain Montrae Strother scored six of his team-leading 15 points in the quarter, which helped facilitate a 25-point Pirates lead at halftime.
The Lumberton lead would balloon to 30 points at the end of the third quarter.
“We need more heart, more desire, more conviction out there, I don’t know what else to say,” Amos said. “If we come out hard and play hard, maybe we can get over the hump.”