In a game defined by frequent fouling and physicality in the paint, Scotland JV lady Scots’ guard Qutina Everette was nearly neutralized against chief-rival Richmond at home Tuesday night.
Along with Scotland point guard Ashlyn Dial, Everette has helped form arguably the top scoring tandem in the Southeastern Conference this season. But against the lady Raiders, a pair of quick fouls at the start of the second quarter resulted in Everette’s benching for the majority of the second and third quarters.
Yet, when the Scots fell behind Richmond before halftime and saw the end of their undefeated streak staring them in the face, Everette regained her dominant form and scored eight of her 13 points in a 21-point Scotland fourth quarter that helped topple the Raiders 61-57 in a thriller.
For Scotland coach Linda Crosland, her team’s toughness and unwillingness to back down from the challenge that Richmond posed was on full display.
“This team has been excited for the Richmond game all season long,” Crosland said. “And I like when a team gives us competition because it shows that we can fight. When you want to a win game, you’ll win, and these girls wanted to win tonight.”
The tone was set right from the early goings, as Scotland and Richmond traded baskets in a back-and-forth first quarter. Dial and Everette scored five points each, while Richmond guard Lecie Griffin led all scorers by scoring six of her 19 points in the quarter as well. The score was 14-12 in favor of Scotland heading into the second quarter.
With roughly three minutes left in the quarter, a three-pointer from the lady Raiders’ Jamesha Smith gave Richmond the lead, which they would maintain all the way until the final eight minutes of regulation. With Everette largely absent from the game, the offensive burden largely fell on Dial’s shoulders, and the freshman responded by recording 16 of her game-high 26 points in the second and third quarters as Scotland battled back from a deficit as large as eight points to be down just 41-40 heading into the fourth.
In the fury which was the second and fourth quarters, there were 14 lead changes as the Scotland High School gym buzzed with the epic game unfolding before their very eyes.
After Everette (who had collected four fouls heading into the fourth quarter) overcame the frustration that surrounded her performance for most of the game, Dial played the role of facilitator down the stretch. Engineering several fast breaks and uptempo offensive plays for her team, Dial found Everette in full stride after a Richmond turnover to convert the easy transition layup with under a minute to play.
And though she fouled out of the game with 45 seconds remaining, the damage had already been done. Griffin had one last open look at a game-tying three with under 30 seconds left, and the SHS gym fell silent as she let loose her final shot. But it was not to be, and Scotland held on to beat their chief-rival.
With the win, Scotland improves to 11-0 on the season.