BLADENBORO — Everything that could have gone wrong for the Fighting Scots did in their first bid for the Woodmen Life Christmas Tournament crown.
The Scots were pitted against Clinton (10-1) on Friday night at West Bladen High School. The opening minutes of the game were the only time the Scots were even close to the Dark Horses’ lead. As the game progressed, the outlook for the Scots dimmed, as Clinton continued to put the game farther and farther out of reach.
It was the most significant loss the Scots have suffered this season, falling to the Dark Horses 80-57 — 23 points when it was all said and done. The Scots other loss greater than just a few points was their 20-point loss to Westover.
The first quarter saw Scots senior Niem Ratliffe hit back-to-back threes to give his team a 6-2 lead — that was the first and only lead the Scots had the entire game.
Clinton ended the quarter with back-to-back threes from Kris Williams and Tymair McIntyre to take a 27-12 lead. The Scots 10 turnovers and inability to make a basket or get past mid-court before Clinton stole the ball made a comeback nearly impossible.
The Scots did their best to close the gap, throwing up numerous threes — only one of which from Ratliffe found its way into the net.
By halftime, Clinton take stretched its lead to 47-19 led by senior Kris Williams, who ended the second quarter with back-to-back threes along with a trip to the free-throw line for three more points.
The third quarter saw the Scots keep pace with Clinton outscoring the Dark Horses 17-13 — despite the offensive surge, the Fighting Scots defense couldn’t stop the Dark Horses’ offense.
The Scots continued to make headway offensively in the fourth quarter scoring 21 points, but Clinton’s 20 final-quarter points coupled with their 60 points from the other three quarters sealed their victory.
Clinton was led by Williams with 21 points followed by Dewan Lesane with 16 and Zion Autry with 13. Lesane had a double-double as he came down with 10 rebounds.
The Scots were led by Ratliffe with 17 points followed by fellow seniors Janoah McRae with 11 points, Justin McRae with 10 and Brenton Thomas with seven points.
With the loss, the Fighting Scots move to 9-3 on the season and 3-1 in Sandhills Athletic Conference play while Clinton improves to 10-1 overall.
The Scots are back in action on Friday, Jan. 5 at home against the Pinecrest Patriots (11-1, 4-0). Tip off is scheduled for approximtaley 7:30 p.m.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or firstname.lastname@example.org.