Patriots Fall to Scots in Finals
The coaches for the Pinecrest and Scotland County girls went into Friday’s conference tournament final in Laurinburg, looking for their teams to impose their wills in different ways.
“They’ve got a lot of size so we really tried to speed the game up,” Scot basketball coach David Johnson said afterward. “We wanted to get more transition baskets so we didn’t have to play against that big zone.”
The Patriots led by Janie Hodges wanted to be patient – looking for opportunities to get the ball inside to tall double-figure scorers Janea Williams and Felicia Painter.
The defensive-minded Pats did not allow a lot of transition baskets, but the pressure the Scots put on the ball did speed things up, leading to 28 turnovers – many of the unforced variety.
The wasted possessions, coupled with too many missed layups, were the difference as the Patriots (16-9) fell 46-42. The Scots (21-3) won Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament titles for the second year in a row.”
Both teams were to find out some time on Saturday their opponent for Monday’s first round games in the 4A state playoffs. The Patriots go in as a third seed.
Coming off Thursday’s 47-30 semi-final win over Lumberton, the Patriots suffered through some long dry spells in the game. Leading 6-3 midway through the first period on a shot from the side by Painter, they fell behind 14-7 after scoring just one point in the next eight minutes of play.
“Why are we rushing,” was what Hodges was thinking as the turnover count mounted. “If we’re patient, it’s there.”
Out of the game for several minutes early in the second period after receiving a cut on her lip, Williams came back to spark the Patriots best offensive surge of the evening. She sank four free throws in a row to get things going.
Moments later Dessence Waddell made it six consecutive made-freebies with a pair that cut the Scot lead to 19-17. Nearing halftime, Jasmine Chalmers fed Megan Thomas for a three that put the Pats back in front 22-21. They led for the last time in the game at 24-23, going into the intermission.
“At their place it was nip and tuck until the end and at our place it was likewise so we expected this,” Johnson said, thinking back to the regular season games the teams split.
The Scots scored the first three baskets of the third period to take a 29-24 lead. Williams scored all 10 Patriot points of the quarter that ended with the home team on top 35-34.
The Patriots had more turnovers than shot opportunities in the fourth quarter. They didn’t make a field goal until Thomas scored to cut the Scot advantage to 41-38 with 1:05 remaining in the game. The final Patriot turnover was turned into a basket by Ariel Ratcliff that put the Scots up by seven with 40 seconds left.
“Turnovers got us in the end,” Hodges said. “The girls battled for four quarters. Scotland was aggressive. We were aggressive. I can’t take anything away from Scotland and I can’t take anything away from the effort of our girls tonight.”
Williams led the Patriots with 19 points and 15 rebounds. All but one of her points came in the middle quarters. Painter and Thomas scored seven points each. Chalmers led in assists with five.
Destiny Campbell topped the Scots with 16 points. Ratcliff had seven along with 10 steals and five assists.
Pinecrest 6 18 10 8 42
Scotland 10 13 12 11 46
Pinecrest – Chalmers 1 3-5 5, Waddell 1 2-4 4, Painter 2 3-6 7, Lynch 0 0-0 0, Williams 6 7-8 19, M. Thomas 3 0-0 7, Paran 0 0-0 0, Fairley 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 15-23 42. Scotland – Dockery 1 0-0 2, A. Ratcliff 2 3-6 7, Johnson 1 1-2 3, Rogers 0 0-1 0, Chisholm 3 1-2 7, Campbell 7 2-3 16, McLaurin 0 1-2 1, Monley 3 0-1 6, Spinks 1 0-0 2, DeBerry 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 8-17 46. Three-point goals: (PC) 1 (M. Thomas); (SC) none.
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