LAURINBURG — Sophomore forward Jakerra Covington dropped a career-high 22 points for the Lady Raiders against Scotland High School Friday, but her efforts weren’t enough to defeat the Lady Fighting Scots.
With Scotland recognizing three players on senior night, the home team would squeak out a 49-47 win against its Sandhills Athletic Conference rival. Coming down to the wire, a pair of missed free throws in the final 10 seconds that would have tied the game or given Richmond the lead, proved to be the difference maker.
Covington was the only Lady Raider to reach double figures in the regular season finale. She opened the game with eight points in the first quarter, working down low most of the night and muscling her way to the hoop.
Equally impressive for Scotland (9-15, 3-11 SAC) was senior Niaria Leach, who nearly matched Covington’s point total with 20 of her own. She only had a made free throw in the first quarter, but combined for 19 points in the middle periods.
The Lady Raiders tied the game at 10 to end the first frame, as Covington hit a jumper off the glass when the buzzer sounded. But missed free throws for the Lady Raiders (10-13, 6-8 SAC) would be the story in the second quarter, as they connected on just 4-of-13 from the line, and trailed 31-22 at the break.
Leach netted 12 of her points in the second quarter, and got help with from four of her teammates who combined for the remaining nine points scored.
A small run to open the second half by Scotland gave it its biggest lead at any point in the game, 13 points, 35-22. But like they have all season, the Lady Raiders slowly chipped away at the deficit, putting together a 6-0 run in the middle of the quarter to pull within seven points.
Another 6-0 run in the final 26.4 seconds of the period cut it to a one-possession game, 40-37, in favor of the home team heading to the fourth. Buckets by Allexis and Allyiah Swiney, as well as Jardai Tillman, closed the third.
Richmond would find itself down six points, 48-42, with two minutes to go in regulation. Scotland’s Asiah Swindell, who scored 10 points on the night, fouled out with 1:33 to go, sending Allexis Swiney to the line.
Swiney hit one of her two shots, and the next two possessions saw an Allyiah Swiney drive and a Jayla McDougald made free throw to make it a one-point game, 48-47. A pair of errant inbounds by the Lady Scots because of Richmond’s press saw Allexis Swiney swipe a steal and get fouled on the shot attempt.
Going to the line with 8.3 seconds left, Swiney missed both ends of her free throws. The second miss resulted in Scotland’s Kadence Shepperd corralling the ball and getting fouled. She would make a free throw for the game’s final point with 3.4 seconds left.
On the night, head coach Teddy Moseley’s team shot 19-of-78 from the field (24.4 percent) and saw missed free throws haunt it, going 9-of-35 overall (25.7 percent).
Allexis Swiney was the second leading scorer for Richmond with nine points, while younger sister Allyiah Swiney added six points.
With the close of the regular season, the Lady Raiders will be the No. 5 seed in the SAC tournament. They’ll travel to No. 4 Jack Britt High School (15-7, 9-4 SAC), with the date and time to be determined for early next week. Richmond split the season series with the Lady Bucs.