LAURINBURG– Quick starts to start each half assisted catalyze a comfy 67-48 win for the Scotland High School kids’ basketball group over Purnell Swett Friday night.

The Battling Scots outscored the Rams by 12 in the very first quarter and 15 in the third quarter, but although Scotland had a 10-point lead at halftime, the Rams outscored them in the second quarter, and head coach Matt Justin said he was annoyed with how they played overall in the first half.

” The energy wasn’t actually there at the start, and I felt like we sort of extended the lead almost by default in the first half,” he said.

Justin was much more delighted with the energy to begin the second half, especially defensively, including that they tossed the ball ahead up the court right now in shift and didn’t hesitate to pass if someone was open.

” We came back on the court thinking we got to pass the ball, play as a group and play at a steadier rate,” stated senior guard Mandrell Johnson, who led Scotland in scoring with 20 points.

After a couple fast buckets to open the very first quarter, the Scots struck a dry spell going several minutes without a rating.

Johnson stated he was in pain after a hard crash near midcourt, but that didn’t stop him from attacking the paint and scoring two and-1 pails to close out the first quarter that provided Scotland a 12-point cushion.

” I understood we might win, so I simply took off with it,” Johnson said.

Both groups struggled to get anything going in the second quarter. The Rams scored simply 4 points in the first four minutes, while the Scots scored just 2. Sloppy passes and turnovers afflicted both groups during that stretch.

Johnson carried the Scots in the 2nd quarter. While the rest of the team went cold, Johnson found success driving into the paint and completing at the rim. He had 10 points at halftime.

“( Johnson’s) aggressive, he’s an opponent,” Justin said. “He’s always aiming to score. In the second half we finally got him to try to share the ball a bit and struck the open male, but he’s tough. If I was him, I ‘d be trying to score too. He’s tough to stop when he gets going.”

Scotland’s 13-2 run to open the 2nd half, which included several baskets inside the paint from sophomore center Lamonte Cousar, helped blow the game open, as the Scots constructed a 56-31 lead by the end of the 3rd quarter.

“Patrick (Reaves) and Lamonte were big because 3rd quarter too– specifically going out in shift,” Justin said.

Cousar, who had 25 points in Wednesday night’s season opening win against Jack Britt, finished Friday with 17 points. Reaves had 16 for the Scots.

Scotland maintained a 20-plus point lead throughout the majority of the 4th quarter. With the win securely in hand, Justin emptied his bench with a few minutes to go.

“I want we could have held that lead, however besides that, it was excellent to begin off with 2 wins in your home,” Justin said.