The sprint towards the end of the 2012-13 basketball season has been a grueling one for the varsity Fighting Scots. And after Friday night’s set of home games against Hoke County, it’s only halfway over.
Due to inclement weather causing the cancellation of Jan. 25’s games against Lumberton, Scotland’s clash with the Pirates was moved to this past Monday, which resulted in the Scots closing out their season with six conference games in just 10 days.
With that said, Scotland welcomed the Bucks Friday night at the SHS new gym. And while the lady Scots continued their postseason push by winning their third game this week, the varsity boys suffered their ugliest loss of the season to the Southeastern 4A Conference’s strongest team.
For the lady Scots, who moved to 16-3 (7-1 in conference play) with their 51-43 victory over Hoke, they furthered their increasing stranglehold on the conference despite a less-than-stellar performance.
“We did just enough out there to win, which I didn’t like,” said Scotland coach David Johnson after the win. “It was one of those games where we couldn’t get into that third or fourth gear. However, after three big-time games against tough opponents you’ll sometimes have your lulls. We still got the win, and we are still peaking as a team at the right time.”
The lady Bucks surprised Scotland at the onset after the Hoke backcourt of Courtney Pate and Shanice Horn (who led all scorers with 21 points) each hit baskets in the first minute to go up early on the lady Scots. Meanwhile, Scotland started sluggishly on the offensive end by missing nine of their first 11 shots.
But lady Scots’ senior forward Quintavia Deberry helped break her team out of the early slump by going coast-to-coast with a steal and a layup with under three minutes left in the first quarter to give Scotland their first lead of the game. A behind-the-back pass from point guard Ariel Ratcliff to Malaysia Chisholm (who converted the layup) with seconds remaining gave Scotland the 16-12 lead over Hoke after the first quarter.
After being the central focal point for her team’s success against Lumberton and Pinecrest earlier in the week, Ratcliff played limited minutes against Hoke and didn’t make much of an impact throughout. However, as has been the case all season for the lady Scots, their bench play came through when it was needed most to give Scotland an added boost in the wake of Ratcliff’s absence.
Coming off the bench Friday night to play a large hand in Scotland’s success was Eyana Rogers and Tuesday McLaurin, who each had critical baskets whenever Hoke threatened to climb back in the contest.
“Our bench has been the reason for our success this year,” Johnson said. “We challenge everyone to contribute, and these girls deserve an A+ for the effort and energy they’ve given us.”
The score was 27-22 in favor of Scotland at the half.
Hoke managed to chip the lady Scots’ lead to two points in the third quarter after Horn successfully converted a three-point play in the opening seconds after being fouled during a shot attempt. But a three-pointer from Rogers with under three minutes to play in the quarter (Rogers had eight points on the night) would later give Scotland its largest lead of the night, which would expand to double-digits after a mid-range jumper from guard Tykeria Johnson roughly a minute later. Johnson scored a team-high 12 points against Hoke.
The lady Bucks never quite went away, however, as a layup from Te’Montae Spellers with four and a half minutes left in the game cut Scotland’s lead to five points. But then McLaurin struck just 15 seconds later with a three-point play of her own (McLaurin led Scotland scorers with four fourth quarter points) which proved to be the difference-maker in the game.
Scotland sophomore center Destiny Campbell had 10 points and eight rebounds in the game as well.
While the lady Scots emerged triumphant against Hoke, the Scotland varsity boys (2-16) continued moving in the opposite direction as they welcomed a Bucks’ squad who has ran roughshod over the competition this year, to the tune of a 20-2 overall record.
And though Scotland managed to keep pace with Hoke in the early minutes of the game, things quickly turned dismal for the Scots as Hoke powered past them in the second quarter and never looked back.
In fact, after a horrific second quarter that saw Scotland get outscored 23-4 by Hoke, the Scots failed to sink a single basket until five minutes had elapsed in the fourth quarter as the team appeared to all but have waved the white flag Friday night.
When it was all said and done, Scotland fell to Hoke by the score of 92-28.
Hoke forward Tarique Thompson led all scorers with 23 points, while Scotland senior Artemis Robinson chipped in 11 points for the Scots.