LAURINBURG — It was a race to the finish on Tuesday as the Fighting Scots hosted Lumberton.
After trailing the Pirates the first three quarter, the Fighting Scots headed into the final eight minutes down by one, 44-43.
Scots head coach Matt Justin had strong words for his players before giving them their marching orders.
“They are destroying us on the board,” Justin said.
Senior Justin McRae gave his team their first lead of the game before picking the Pirates’ pocket for a second basket to take a 47-44 lead. The Scots lead was quickly erased as sophomore Jordan McNeill hit his fourth three-pointer of the game.
A basket by senior Niem Ratliffe and a trip to the line by McRae gave the Scots some breathing room, taking a four-point lead, 51-47. The two teams continued to race up and down the court exchanging baskets, but a three pointer by senior Janoah McRae gave the Scots their largest lead of the game, nine points, 64-55 with just over three minutes left to play.
Lumberton chipped away at the Scots lead with a basket by McNeill and a trip to the line by junior Kwashek Breeden to make it a four-point game, 64-60.
After driving the lane, Scots junior Isaiah Bostick went to the line to extend the Scots lead back to six with under a minute left. Lumberton responded with four consecutive baskets — the final two by junior Braylan Grice to give the Pirates a two-point lead, 68-66 with 3.1 seconds remaining.
Justin called a timeout to formulate a game plan, on the inbound the Scots got into position but before they could throw the ball in the Pirates called a timeout.
After back-to-back timeouts the Scots inbounded the ball on the opposite side of the court, but the crowd went into an uproar because despite the ball being in play the game clock didn’t start.
The Lumberton fans got to their feet to protest the mistake and after speaking with the officials 1.7 seconds was place on the clock and the Scots were allowed to inbound the ball at the half-court line.
On the second inbound the crowd reached fever pitch as the game clock failed to start again. The officials talked it over and up 0.3 seconds on the clock and tried for a third time to finish the game. The Scots inbounded the ball and with such little time sophomore Bruce Wall took the three-point shot but it was blocked by Lumberton’s McNeill to give the Pirates a second win over the Scots.
The loss drops the Scots to third place in the conference with a 7-5 record — one game ahead of Seventy-First and Lumberton who both sit at 7-6. Hoke, for the second year in a row, has clinched the conference championship at 13-0 and Pinecrest has all but clinched second place at 9-4. If the Scots are able to beat Purnell and Richmond they will sure up third place heading into next week’s conference tournament.
The Scots had little time to dwell on their loss as they turned around on Wednesday and traveled to Purnell Swett to take on the 6-13 Rams.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]