The Lumberton lady Pirates have been an absolute buzz saw as of late, winning 13 straight games en route to staking their claim as perhaps the Southeastern Conference’s top team with a 15-4 record.
But on Monday night, they met the lady Scots, who would hold them to their lowest point total of the year in a decisive 53-35 Scotland victory.
After the loss to the lady Sots, both Lumberton and Scotland share a 5-1 conference record. But with the conference tournament looming on Feb. 18, Scotland has officially announced to the rest of their competition that last season’s conference championship was no fluke.
And with a 14-3 record of their own, Scotland has left little doubt that they are indeed the real deal.
“This group of girls understands that in order to repeat as conference champions, we have to win on the biggest stage possible,” said Scotland coach David Johnson after his team’s statement win. “For us to welcome a team riding a long winning streak and play like we did tonight says a lot about who we are as a team.”
Scotland never trailed Monday against the lady Pirates; and despite the challenge that Lumberton presented, the lady Scots were able to have their way on both ends of the court throughout the game.
After vaulting out to a 6-0 run to start the first quarter, the lady Scots gave Lumberton their best chance to keep pace with them by missing their next five baskets. However, the lady Pirates were stifled from the get-go and remained so for their worst offensive performance of the season.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, Lumberton had converted just 28% of their attempted shots (13-46) including a seven-point second quarter.
The lady Scots, meanwhile, maintained a balanced-offensive attack that saw scoring opportunities get evenly distributed amongst the team. While only two Scotland players scored in double figures on the night (center Destiny Campbell led all scorers with 13 and was joined by point guard Ariel Ratcliff with 10), four others also made an impact on the offensive end: Tykeria Johnson (nine points), Tuesday McLaurin (seven points), Quintavia Deberry and Malaysia Chisholm (who each had six points).
Campbell notched a double-double on the night by pulling down 10 rebounds (Deberry had nine boards herself), while Ratcliff added seven steals and five assists as well.
“We hold everyone accountable on this team,” Johnson said. “Whether we’re down or up 20 points, my expectations remain the same. Everyone is expected to play hard and help make their teammates better.”
Lumberton would make a minor run in what was a sluggish third quarter for the lady Scots, as they pulled within single digits of Scotland in the waning minutes. But then Johnson would break her team’s offensive dry spell with a three-pointer in the final 10 seconds to put Scotland back up 12 over Lumberton. It was a lead that the lady Scots would comfortably maintain for the remainder of the game.
The lady Scots next take the court against Pinecrest (their only conference loss), which will begin at 6 p.m. in the SHS new gym.