Just before the regular season began, lady Scots’ varsity coach David Johnson detailed the path his team would have to take in order to accomplish their state championship goals. That is, Scotland would have to topple the powerhouse teams that typically reside in Fayetteville.
On Wednesday night, the lady Scots hosted one of those teams: The E.E. Smith Golden Bulls. And as they’ve done all season, Scotland stormed out early and created a cushion that E.E. Smith couldn’t dent throughout the remainder of the game.
With their 53-31 victory over the lady Golden Bulls, Scotland improves to a perfect 6-0 on the season.
“When the Fayetteville schools read the newspaper tomorrow, it’ll give them something to think about,” said Johnson after the game. “It was a good overall win that will give this team a little confidence moving ahead.”
Utilizing a zone defense, the lady Scots dared E.E. Smith to make open jumpers in the first quarter, and the result was a five-point quarter for the lady Golden Bulls that saw the team finish 2-12 from the field. Scotland also began the game with a somewhat cold shooting performance, but quickly rebounded by attacking the rim and making high-percentage shots.
Scotland forward Jonissa Monley scored five of her 11 points in the quarter, and point guard Ariel Ratcliff sealed the deal on a dominant quarter by swiping an attempted E.E Smith pass and finishing at the basket for a three-point play. After the first quarter, the lady Scots had opened a 18-5 lead over the lady Golden Bulls. Ratcliff finished the game with 14 points, six assists, five blocks and three steals.
Things continued to spiral downhill for E.E. Smith in the second quarter, as the lady Golden Bulls managed to only make a single basket en route to finishing the half with just 11 total points. On the defensive end, Scotland sophomore center Destiny Campbell made her presence felt throughout the second quarter and beyond, notching four of the lady Scots’ seven combined blocks while also adding six rebounds, with the majority of those coming off of E.E. Smith misses.
The half ended with Scotland routing E.E. Smith by a score of 33-11.
“We knew going into the game that E.E. Smith is a team that likes to attack the basket, so we switched it up on them a little bit,” Johnson said. “Our team is known for our man-defense, but in this game we forced them out of their comfort zone and gave them the chance to make jumpers.”
As dominant as Scotland appeared to be in the early goings, there was some room for improvement in the game as a whole according to Johnson. Particularly in the second half, the lady Scots found themselves on the wrong end of excessive fouls, which prompted Johnson to limit Monley’s minutes on the court. Monley would eventually foul out of the contest.
Also, when it was Scotland’s turn at the free throw line, the lady Scots went 7 of 24 on their attempts, something that Johnson expects to improve in the coming days.
“As aggressive as we play on both sides of the ball, we’ll be going to the line a lot so we absolutely have to do better at the free throw line,” Johnson said. “Our free-throw performance is definitely going on the chalkboard tomorrow at practice.”
With that said, the lady Scots were never in a position to relinquish their sizable lead, and ultimately cruised to another easy regular season victory.
Scotland will next host Cape Fear Friday night, with a game time set for 6:00 p.m.