ROCKINGHAM — The Lady Scots were defeated before they ever stepped foot into Richmond Senior High School on Tuesday for the second round of the Sandhills Athletic Conference Tournament.
It was the third meeting between the two teams this season — the Lady Raiders won both previous matches 3-0.
The Lady Scots kept the first eight points of the match close, catching the Richmond defense off guard with tip ins by Skyler York, Nahir Pegues and Sarah Eury.
Down by just two points, 3-5 Richmond capitalized on hitting errors by the Lady Scots to increase their lead to 3-10 before Scotland head coach Mallory Wheeler called a time out.
Following the time out, Lady Scots senior Ashley McGugan drilled a kill into the middle of the Richmond defense. The Lady Raiders then went on an 8-0 run to put the game out of reach. Richmond senior and lead hitter Altman Griffin had seven kills and an ace in game one to defeat the Lady Scots 8-25.
The second set saw the Lady Scots come out with a fire under them, jumping out to an 3-0 lead courtesy of an kill by Pegues and an ace by senior Kandon Luquer. Despite having the lead, the Lady Scots had defeat written all over their faces as Richmond mounted a comeback.
The match hit a tipping point, with the Lady Scots down 7-13 — a factor Wheeler realized and called a time out. The Lady Scots got the side out with a kill by Luquer and an off-the-mark kill by Richmond. Down five points, Pegues slammed a kill into the middle of the court, but nothing seemed to rally the Lady Scots to believe they had a chance.
A 5-0 run brought the Lady Scots to within three, 16-19 before a block by the Lady Raiders, a kill by Griffin and a hitting error on the Lady Scots gave Richmond a 17-23 lead. An ace by Eury along with a kill and block by McGugan gave the Lady Scots a fighting chance, 21-23 but Richmond closed the gap and Griffin slammed the door with a kill to end the second set, 21-25.
No pep talk or encouragement from Wheeler or assistant coach Mallarie Snow convinced the Lady Scots they could win the third set and it showed as Richmond jumped out to an 11-4 lead.
Despite brief glimpses of the team the Lady Scots had been in games past where they fought back to win overall they looked defeated. After just over an hour on the court, a kill out of bounds by the Lady Scots ended their conference tournament run with a 19-25 loss to the Lady Raiders.
Richmond remains undefeated, 24-0 and 14-0 in conference play, and will play No. 2 Pinecrest in the Sandhills Athletic Conference Championship on Wednesday. If Richmond wins because they were also the regular season conference champions they will be the only team from the SAC-8 to earn an automatic bid to the NCHSAA 4A playoffs.
The remaining seven teams will be seeded on Oct. 19 based on their overall record. The first round of the NCHSAA playoffs begin Saturday, Oct. 21.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.