By Shawn Stinson
February 5, 2014
LAURINBURG — The play was designed to get Travis Miles the ball in the corner.
However, Miles never ended up touching the ball.
Instead the ball found its way into the hands of Jaylend Ratliffe at the free-throw line. After a brief hesitation, Ratliffe knew what he wanted to do — go to the basket.
Ratliffe muscled the game-winning shot through Richmond’s Sidney Neely with eight seconds remaining in the game to give Scotland a 66-65 Southeastern Conference win Wednesday night.
“We were looking for No. 12 (Miles) in the corner,” Ratliffe said. “The play broke down and I went to the elbow. I knew once I got the ball I wanted to drive to the basket and luckily the ball went in. I knew if anything I could draw a foul.”
Ratliffe’s game-winner came on the heels of a putback by Neely that put the Raiders in front with 23.1 seconds left. After Neely’s basket, Richmond coach David Laton quickly called timeout to design a defense to stymie Jordan Ratliffe, who scored a game-high 27, or Miles.
“We didn’t want 11 (Jordan Ratliffe) or 12 (Miles) to get the ball,” Laton said. “He (Jaylend Ratliffe) just got into a seam and the ball went in — that’s basketball. It was a tough shot and Neely got a hand on the ball.”
Richmond had a final chance to try and fire a possible game-winning shot, but Xavier Davis was called for travelling with 4.3 seconds remaining. Scotland was able to inbounds the ball and run the clock out.
“I’m just sorry we didn’t get a shot off at the end,” Laton said. “I would have liked to have gotten a shot off at the end.”
This was the second straight year a Scotland football star hit the game-winning shot against Richmond in Laurinburg. Last season, Artemis Robinson hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds left in the game before hitting 1 of 2 free throws after a Raider turnover with no time remaining on the clock.
Ratliffe, who scored two touchdowns in the Scots’ 49-14 over the Raiders on the gridiron, added his final basket was extra special.
“It’s a game-winning shot,” Ratliffe said. “Not everyone hits a game-winning shot, but a touchdown is more common.”
With the victory, Scotland is now tied with Richmond for second place in the SEC, one game behind Hoke. The Raiders and the Scots are now both 4-2 in league play.
Richmond will return to action 7:30 p.m. Friday at Lumberton. In the schools’ previous meeting, the Raiders squeaked out a 65-61 win.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.