Looking across the court at lengthy Richmond center Jade Evans Tuesday night, Scotland varsity girls’ basketball coach David Johnson was reminded of his team’s last game, a 57-47 loss to Pinecrest.
In that game against the lady Patriots, Scotland couldn’t slow down 6’3” center and four-year starter Janea Williams, who scored 32 points and ran roughshod over the smaller-in-stature lady Scots.
With the Pinecrest loss fresh in his head, Johnson ensured that his team would rediscover the guard-oriented fast break offensive style that the team has relied upon in the 2012-13 season. And against the lady Raiders, Scotland did exactly that, which nullified the size of Richmond’s front court en route to an emphatic 79-37 statement win over their biggest rival.
For Johnson, the win was his regular season road-win against Richmond in his five years as head coach of the lady Scots.
“I think this team learned a lesson after that loss to Pinecrest,” said Johnson, whose squad improved to 12-3 on the season and 3-1 in conference play. “When your play is centered around your guards you have to manufacture offensive opportunities through transition baskets. We did that against Richmond, which took their bigger girls out of the game.”
The biggest factor of Scotland’s success running the fast break usually hinges on point guard Ariel Ratcliff’s ability to find her teammates in the open court. Against Pinecrest Jan. 24, Ratcliff managed just three assists which stemmed directly from her team being unable to establish their up-tempo pace.
Against Richmond Thursday night, Ratcliff notched a triple-double by collecting 13 points, 10 assists, and 10 steals, while also adding five blocks and eight boards to her impressive stat-line.
And in the first quarter of play, the lady Scots began their Richmond rout by outscoring the lady Raiders 23-9 as Ratcliff found teammates Quintavia Deberry and Tykeria Johnson, who each had six points in the quarter. Deberry herself had a prolific night on the whole, as the senior forward recorded 16 points, 14 rebounds and four steals of her own, while Johnson finished the game with 11 points.
“We were running, getting out on the break and scoring baskets early,” Johnson said. “When we do all of those things we can be really good.”
Also of note was Scotland’s stout defensive performance, which allowed Richmond to score double-digits in a quarter just once. And playing a large role in the lady Scots’ success in that department all season long has been sophomore starting center Destiny Campbell, who added five blocked shots and 13 rebounds to an 18-point night. On the offensive end, Campbell led all Scotland starters in scoring efficiency, going 8-13 from the field against Richmond.
“Richmond always gives us tough competition no matter when we play them,” said Ratcliff after the game. “But on Tuesday, we came out and put them away right in the first quarter.”
While the Scotland varsity girls were the beneficiaries of a lop-sided contest against Richmond, the boys found themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum when it came time to face the Raiders.
In what was eerily reminiscent of the girls game played earlier in the evening, things spiraled out of hand in the first quarter and only got progressively worse from there. Only this time it was the Scots who were on the receiving end, as the Raiders dismantled Scotland by a score of 79-32.
Richmond had four players score in double figures on the night, while the Scots managed just five first-quarter points as the Raiders quickly put things out of reach.
The leading scorers for Scotland were Artemis Robinson with nine points and senior center Aly Kaba with seven points.
“All we did was show up for the game, and that was about it,” said Scotland coach Jackie Amos after his team’s loss. “There’s not a lot of positives I can take away from the loss, and now it’s time for us to go back to the drawing board.”
Scotland falls to 1-12 with the loss to Richmond Tuesday night.
The next games on the schedule for the Fighting Scots will be this Friday Feb. 1 at Purnell Swett, with the varsity girls set to kick off the action at 6 p.m.