LAURINBURG — The Fighting Scots got off to a fast start in their season opener against Gray’s Creek on Tuesday — and never took their foot off the gas.
It was 8-1 before Gray’s Creek knew what hit them as Scots junior Isaiah Bostick and Niem Ratliffe led the offensive charge. Ratliffe had two steal and three baskets in the first three minutes of the game. The Scots senior spark plug led the team in scoring with 22 points while Bostick tallied 19 and senior Justin McRae managed 15 points.
Three players in double figures and solid defense propelled the Scots to a 64-36 non-conference win over the Bears.
Gray’s Creek managed to close the gap to seven points by the end of the first quarter to trail the Scots, 14-7. Bostick brought the crowd to their feet with a commanding block on the defensive end.
The Scots were held to just nine points in the second quarter as Gray’s Creek outscored them 13-9 to cut the deficit to three, 23-20 heading into halftime.
After the break, the Scots offensive kicked it into overdrive as McRae and Ratliffe opened the quarter with back-to-back old fashioned three-point plays to extend their lead to seven, 29-22.
A second basket by McRae, a steal and basket by senior Janoah McRae and a quick basket by Ratliffe pushed the Scots lead to 11, 35-24.
Pressure on the defensive end, allowed the Scots to get a breakaway basket to Bostick, who electrified the crowd with a one-handed dunk, a three-point shot and a block gave the Scots a 48-29 lead.
Back-to-back turnovers by both teams ended with a three-point jumper by Gray’s Creek, followed by a time out. Another basket on their ensuing possession saw the Bears take a second time out to try and slow the Scots momentum.
Bostick and Ratliffe continued to keep the crowd entertained as a Bostick drained another one-handed dunk and his third three-pointer of the quarter. Ratliffe caused an uproar as he did a shake-n-bake move that faked out the entire Gray’s Creek defense.
As time ran down, the Scots milked the clock and senior Quinton Covington took their final shot to extend their lead to 30 points, 64-36. Gray’s Creek refused to surrender and scored one final basket as the buzzer sounded.
Fighting Scots head coach Matt Justin credited his defense with the victory, which has been a focus in the team’s pre-season work outs and practices.
“They did well, especially on the defensive end. The kids defended well in the half court. Our whole focus and concentration thus far has been to not give up lay ups and we did a pretty good job of that,” Justin told WLNC.
The Scots have a quick turnaround playing tonight against Westover at home. The team will have all of next week off for the Thanksgiving holiday and will return to action on Nov. 28 with a trip across the state line to Marlboro County.
The Scots and the Bulldogs will face off at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 28 in South Carolina.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.