LAURINBURG — Richmond Senior girls basketball coach Victoria DeFrate only had one word to describe the third quarter — “Ouch.”
Richmond was outscored 13-2 in the period by Scotland and was nearly shutout until Zelda McLaughlin connected on a layup with 30 seconds remaining.
“We got run over,” DeFrate said.
The Scots used the third quarter effort to pull away for a 71-48 victory Wednesday night over the Raiders to remain undefeated in the Southeastern Conference at 6-0. Scotland now has a two-game lead over both Richmond and Lumberton. The Raiders and the Pirates are both 4-2 in the SEC.
First-year Scotland coach Janie Hodges told her team at halftime it needed to play defense the way it practices it.
“We just needed to go out there and stop over-rotating,” Hodges said. “Early in the game we were over-rotating and reaching in and trying to steal the ball. In the second half we wanted to do what we’re taught to do and we did.”
Despite not adhering to their coach’s advice in the beginning of the game, Scotland was able to build a 10-lead after the first quarter. Richmond then exploited the breakdowns in the Scotland defense in the second to whittle the deficit to one before the Scots responded to stretch the advantage to seven at the break.
“We have to find a way to come out better in the first quarter, especially in the a big game like this,” DeFrate said. “It is tough to grab the momentum in a rivalry-fueled game.”
DeFrate said she and assistant coach Ted Gaskins warned the team if it played with the same effort against Scotland as it did against Purnell Swett this would be the end result. Just as she did after the win against the Rams, DeFrate praised reserve Heaven Smith once again. Smith was the lone Richmond player to score in double figures (11) in the loss to the Scots.
“We told them several times if they play like they did last night they weren’t going to win,” DeFrate said. “Heaven played well and she has come a long way.”
Richmond will return to action 6 p.m. Friday when it travels to Lumberton. It will be the final regular season meeting between the two schools. In the first matchup, the Raiders stopped the Pirates 45-42.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.