Scot Girls Escape Patriots' Upset Bid
The Pinecrest girls put themselves in a position to hand Scotland County its first league loss by bringing the Scot offense to a grinding halt in the middle quarters of Tuesday’s basketball game.
Overcoming an early 10-point deficit, the Patriots took the lead late in the third quarter. The final period was back and forth before the Scots’ Jonisa Monley made the big plays that saddled the Pats with a 41-35 home loss.
Coach Mike Loutzenheiser’s squad dropped to 3-4 in the Southeastern Conference and 10-10 overall. The Patriots travel to Purnell Swett for a 6 p.m. tip-off Friday. Monley scored a game-high 19 points for the 7-0 and 14-5 Scots.
The Scots must have thought it was going to be easy after the Patriots turned the ball over on five of their first six possessions and fell behind 12-2.
A steal and a basket by Dessence Waddell got the comeback started. Keegan Lynch fed Jasmine Chalmers for a layup and then received a pass from Felicia Painter and canned a three. Moments later a putback by Painter made it 12-11.
The first period ended with the Scots on top 17-11 after a three by Tykera Johnson. But Megan Thomas, Azarriah Fairley and Morgan Braswell, who had come in off the bench, each had steals to help hold the Scots to four points in the second quarter. Braswell and Painter both scored second-chance baskets to cut the deficit to 21-18 at the intermission.
“I thought the girls did an incredible job getting us back into it by halftime,” Loutzenheiser said. “But you expend so much energy and work so hard just to get there.”
When the Patriot offense finds a rhythm, it produces easy baskets off movement without the ball as well as any team in the conference. Lynch and Chalmers each connected with Janea Williams for the first two Patriot baskets of the second half.
The Pats drew even at 25-25 on another three by Lynch. Williams then made one for two at the foul line for their first lead. A short time later, a jumper from the side by Megan Thomas made it 28-25, but the visitors tied it up at 28-28 going to the fourth quarter.
The home team led for the last time at 32-30 after Painter fed Chalmers for a layup, answering a basket by Monley. With just over five minutes remaining, Quintavia DeBerry stole the ball in the Patriot backcourt and put the Scots on top 34-32.
That’s when Monley, a conference player of the year candidate, came up big again. After the second of two misses by teammate Ariel Ratcliff at the foul line, she grabbed the rebound and put it in, making it 36-32. The Patriot basket had a lid on it the rest of the way. A pair at the line by Monley helped wrap things up for the visitors.
“I hope she’s a senior,” Loutzenheiser said wishfully of the 5-11 junior who is also a volleyball standout. “She’s got great up and under moves and really positions her body well.”
After Scotland, the conference standings are very jumbled, with Richmond Senior and Lumberton at 4-3, and Pinecrest and Purnell Swett at 3-4. Hoke County is 0-7.
The Patriots go into the final three games of the regular season with plenty to play for.
“I felt really good about the way we played and rebounded from the slow start,” Loutzenheiser said. “I thought Keegan was tremendous tonight, hitting the jumpers, and Felicia and Janea were big inside.”
Williams led the Patriots with nine points and Chalmers had eight. Lynch added six to go with three assists. Painter grabbed 10 rebounds and Waddell was credited with five steals.
Scotland 17 4 7 14 — 41
Pinecrest 11 7 10 7 — 35
Scotland: Ratcliff 4 1-4 9, Johnson 3 0-1 8, Monley 8 3-4 19, DeBerry 1 0-0 2, Spinks 1 1-2 3, McNeill 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 5-11 41.
Pinecrest: Chalmers 3 2-4 8, Waddell 2 0-0 4, Painter 2 0-0 4, Lynch 2 0-0 6, Williams 4 1-4 9, M. Thomas 1 0-0 2, Fairley 0 0-0 0, Braswell 1 0-0 2, Z. Thomas 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 3-8 35.
Three-point goals: (S) 2 (Johnson 2); (P) 2 (Lynch 2).
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