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Southern rolls Scots, controls SAC 3A

Feb. 1—Southern Lee took its best shot at 4A powerhouse Richmond last Friday, but came up just short in its attempt to reach the top of the Sandhills Athletic Conference.

However, that doesn't mean the Cavaliers, ranked No. 6 in the most recent version of the NCHSAA 3A East RPI ratings, don't have a lot to play for as the regular season winds down. Southern continues to lead the 3A half of the SAC, and a strong finish to the regular season would give the Cavaliers one of the highest seeds in the state playoffs and multiple home games.

Southern took a big step toward those goals Tuesday night, easily handling Scotland 69-51 in a conference road game. The Fighting Scots, who were the only 3A team in the league with a realistic shot at catching Southern Lee, no longer have one. Southern (17-2, 6-2 SAC) leads the Scots (7-12, 3-5) by three full games in the standings and also owns a head-to-head tiebreaker, having also beaten them on Dec. 15.

Scotland, which understood that this was its only chance to stay in the race for the top 3A team in the SAC, came out strong and kept the game close for a half. The Cavaliers, who head coach Gaston Collins felt were off their game most of the night, led by just three after one quarter of play and it was 35-31 by halftime.

However, the Scots withered under Southern's defensive pressure in the second half. The Cavaliers were able to force numerous turnovers and outscored them 17-8 in the third quarter for a 52-39 lead, and kept pulling away in the fourth.

Three players scored in double figures for Southern, those being TJ Carnegie (21 points), Isaiah Upchurch (19), and Nysheed Williams (14).

Southern has four games left in the regular season and its next league win will nail down the No. 1 3A seed in the conference. They can get that Friday night at home against Pinecrest.

Scotland 71, Southern Lee 12

The Lady Scots, ranked No. 10 in the 3A East, are in the same position Southern's men are in. They weren't able to handle the mighty Raiders, but are mowing down everyone else and seem destined to rule the 3A half of the conference.

Scotland (15-2, 7-1) was never challenged in its win over the struggling Lady Cavaliers. The Lady Scots had built a 46-5 lead by halftime and the entire second half was played under a running clock.