Basketball returns after two-week hiatus

By: By Amber Hatten-Staley - Sports editor

LAURINBURG — Snow and exams have snarled the Fighting Scots basketball team for almost two weeks.

The drought ends on Thursday as the Fighting Scots return to hardwood in Sandhills Athletic Conference action at home against Jack Britt.

The teams were originally scheduled to play on Jan. 19 but Cumberland County cancelled school on Friday negating any after-school activities from taking place.

The Buccaneers currently sit in seventh place in the SAC-8 with a 1-5 record, one game ahead of Richmond who its in eighth place at 1-6. Jack Britt is currently on a six-game losing streak, their last win came on Dec. 20, 2017 against Cape Fear.

Starting Thursday, the Fighting Scots will play three conference games in three days hosting Jack Britt before traveling to Hoke on Friday and Lumberton on Saturday. The game against the Pirates, slated for Saturday, Jan. 27, will have a 5 p.m. tip off for varsity games.

Hoke County played Lumberton on Jan. 19 and improved to 7-0 in conference play and holds on to the No. 1 spot as the conference’s only undefeated team. With the loss, Lumberton finds itself in a tie for fifth place with Purnell Swett at 2-4.

Despite the hiatus, the Fighting Scots still have sole possession of second place at 5-1, two games ahead of third-place Pinecrest at 4-2.

Seventy-First sits at 3-3 in fourth place, two games ahead of Lumberton and Purnell tied for fifth place.

The only concern for the Scots heading into the final eight conference games of the season is losing the momentum they built after knocking off Pinecrest and Richmond two weeks ago.

The Scots will likely be the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the conference championship tournament this season — depending on how they perform against Hoke and Pinecrest this week and next.

If the Scots are able to make it to the conference championship according to NCHSAA rules the conference runner-ups receive No. 2 seeds, which are then adjusted according to their MaxPreps ranking to determine 4A playoff seeding.

Unless the wheels completely fall of the Scots they will advance to the 4A playoffs this season, a benchmark head coach Matt Justin has been trying to achieve the past two seasons.

According to Monday’s projections by MaxPreps, the Scots will likely earn the No. 16 see in the 4A West and host No. 17 Hough. The winner of that game will play No. 1 Independence. The SAC-8s other projected playoff contenders are Pinecrest with the No. 9 seed in the West while Hoke County is tabbed as the No. 5 seed in the 4A East and Seventy-First as the No. 16 seed in the East.

The website does ask people to take note that until the final week of the season these are just predictions and projections — Cinderella stories happen all the time in basketball.

Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or ahatten@laurinburgexchange.com.

Amber Hatten-Staley | Laurinburg Exchange The Fighting Scots bench celebrates during a home game earlier this season. After having almost two weeks off due to snow and exams the Scots will host Jack Britt in a make-up game on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
https://www.laurinburgexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_IMG_1388.jpgAmber Hatten-Staley | Laurinburg Exchange The Fighting Scots bench celebrates during a home game earlier this season. After having almost two weeks off due to snow and exams the Scots will host Jack Britt in a make-up game on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Fighting Scots set to spar with Jack Britt

By Amber Hatten-Staley

Sports editor

Fighting Scots updated 2017 schedule

***tip off is 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted***

1/25 — vs. Jack Britt

1/26 — at Hoke County

1/27 — at Lumberton, 5 p.m. tip off

1/30 — at Seventy-First

2/2 — at Pinecrest

2/6 — vs. Lumberton

2/7 — vs. Purnell Swett

2/9 — at Richmond