LAURINBURG — Small but mighty is the motto of the Lady Scots basketball team.
With less than 10 players this season second-year head coach Mallorie Snow knows her team could be at a disadvantage, but that isn’t stopping her from expecting the most out of her girls.
“I’ll always set high expectations, but I also want to be realistic,” Snow said. “My biggest thing is for us to be consistent. I’m going to be very challenging, just like I was last year.”
The Lady Scots started the 2016-17 season on a four-game win streak but struggled during conference play and finished the season with an 8-13 overall record and 2-8 in SEC play.
The team earned the No. 5 seed in the conference tournament and were eliminated in the first round by Richmond, 63-48.
Entering her second season at the helm, Snow said she feels more comfortable with where her team is because they were able to have spring workouts — something she wasn’t able to due prior to last season.
“This year, I started in April and the girls have been conditioning and skill development. They have gotten a lot more touches than they did last year. I think it’s more of a family atmosphere this time around,” she said.
Returning for the Lady Scots is senior Amaya Pegues, a two-time all conference selection; fellow seniors Mykeria McNair, Tramaine Peterson, Tykeria McNair; junior Niaria Leach and sophomore Asjah Swindell. Newcomers this season include Jahkayla Walker and Skylar York.
“With Amaya being a varsity player for four year and the other seniors being varsity players for two years I’m going to put everything on them,” Snow said. “The coaching it not only going to come from me, it’s going to come from them as well.”
Pegues led the Lady Scots last season in assists with 35 and was the team’s second leading scorer behind former Lady Scot Khasiya Sellers averaging nine points per game.
The wealth of experience the Lady Scots have on their tiny roster is something Snow hopes will help her team navigate their first season in the Sandhills Athletic Conference. With eight teams — Jack Britt and Seventy-First — added to the mix, Snow knows making it to the top could prove even more challenging than last season.
The Lady Scots played Jack Britt last season in non-conference action, falling both times, 46-32 and 56-18.
“Everyone is going to have a job and everyone is going to have to play their role for us to be successful,” said Snow. “This is how the conference was back in 2007 when I was in high school, I find it neat. It’s nostalgic to come back to my roots. Both schools have great basketball teams and are going to be very competitive. My goal is to be top three, but we’re going to have to bust our tails.”
Keeping her numbers in mind, Snow knows the Lady Scots can’t get into any foot races up and down the court with teams and they will have to be mindful of that when running their offensive and defensive schemes.
“I know we aren’t going to be able to run the court as much, but ideally we’re going to be the most basketball competent team,” she said. “As much as I want to go speed and transition, it’s not going to be realistic for us this year. We’re going to have to play smart, we’re going to have to control the pace.”
The Lady Scots had a scrimmage on Wednesday at Red Springs High School, which Snow thought was very helpful for her team to try and shake off the first-game jitters before their season opener on Nov. 14 against Gray’s Creek at 6 p.m.
“I coached them, but I wasn’t standing up or yelling — it was a teaching moment. Hopefully by next Tuesday and Wednesday they will be confident in themselves and ready to perform,” she said.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.