LAURINBURG — The Lady Scots bounced back with a four-point victory against Westover on Wednesday after suffering a 23-point loss the day before.
The Lady Scots led by senior captain Amaya Pegues and sophomore Asjah Swindell jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Westover clawed back and capitalized on several turnovers by the Lady Scots to get within four, 9-5, by the end of the first eight minutes of play.
The second quarter saw the Lady Scots outscore Westover 15-11 to take a 24-14 lead into the locker room. Pegues hit a three-point jumper just before time expired to give her team a 10-point lead.
Head coach Mallorie Snow said the key to her team’s offensive success was increased presence of their defense.
“I always tell them our momentum offensively comes from our defense and once we had that little spark it trickles down the line,” she said. “When we started to slow down the ball, we did better. We forgot that we knew how to dribble and once we started to believe in ourselves and dribble the ball a little, relax and slow down we did a much better job. When they start trying to hit those jack-up shots that’s when I want them to relax the offense.”
Snow said her players worked together better against Westover, a pleasant turnaround from the game they played on Tuesday.
After the half, the Lady Scots came out stale in the third quarter which left the door open for Westover to whittle the Lady Scots lead down to two, 29-27. As the game wore on, the minuet size of the Lady Scots roster started to take its toll. The Lady Scots got tired, but due to injuries and illness Snow did not have any players to sub in after sophomore Skylar York went down with a knee injury.
“We had seven and then we finished with six,” Snow said. “We’re small so they get tired quickly and I understand that, but I want them to push out and do the best they can. They have to put their big girl pants on. I want a hard out effort, their jerseys should be drenched, they should leave everything on the court.”
The Lady Scots turned the tables in the fourth quarter outscoring 11-7 to secure the four-point win. Westover got the Lady Scots lead down to just one at several points late in the quarter.
Swindell scored the game winning basket after a time out to seal the Lady Scots first win of the new season.
“I think they did a much better job of playing together and stopped being afraid,” Snow said. “We looked a whole lot more confident in this game, I was very proud of them.”
Snow said after the game that losing two games in a row before having a week off for Thanksgiving would have either made or broke her team.
“They told me, ‘coach, we got you for this game,’ and they really did their jobs. I told them to protect this house and they took that mentality and ran with it,” said Snow. “I’m thankful for how they slowed it down and were better on transitions but our defense helped propel our offense.”
The Lady Scots will take next week to recuperate and prepare for a tough non-conference game against Marlboro County on Nov. 28 in South Carolina. Snow and her squad will return starting point guards Niaria Leach and Nautika Moore along with Tremaine Peterson. The status of York was still unknown following Wednesday’s game.
“I’m glad we do have this week to recover and get back on track,” Snow said. “They (Marlboro County) are very competitive and probably going to be our scrappiest opponent. We got to play them over the summer and that was a scrappy game so I have an idea of what they are going to look like. We looked good against them, but we have to be confident and not show any sign of weakness.”
Amber Hatten can be reached 910-506-3170.