Article and Photo by Stephen Forsha, The Highland County Press
LUCASVILLE — It has been four years in the making, but on Wednesday night in the Division III SE District Sectional Semifinals, Peyton Scott stood alone as all-time leading scorer in Lynchburg-Clay history, for both boys and girls basketball.
Scott — who now has 2,117 points in her four-year varsity career — tied the former record held by Lynchburg-Clay Hall of Famer Paul Cluxton with a 3-pointer with 1:47 left in the third, and with 1:17 remaining in the same quarter, she stood alone as the all-time leading scorer with a two-point basket, driving down the court and battling through defenders for the two points needed.
Entering the tournament game — in which the Lady Mustangs defeated Portsmouth West, 65-27 — Scott needed 40 points to break the record. This game saw her finish with 45 points (plus nine rebounds, four assists and nine steals), breaking her own LC girls basketball single-game record, which she set earlier this season at 42 points. This was the third time in her career Scott scored at least 40 points in a game.
For those counting, Scott is now the LC girls basketball all-time leading scorer, the school’s all-time leading scorer, the single-game leading scorer in LC girls basketball and now all-time she is the second-leading scorer in the history of Highland County (boys or girls), trailing only McClain graduate Danté Jackson, who scored 2,423 points in his storied career.
“It was definitely a goal of mine, but it was more of a personal goal, not a team goal, so it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind the whole time, more of advancing first and that on the back burner,” Scott said.
“I had a conversation with Paul (Cluxton) last month and he called me and we had a conversation about me maybe taking his record, so that was pretty cool of him to take the time out of his day to call. It was nice of a Lynchburg-Clay alum like him to support me, and he’s never seen me play and we’ve never talked in person.”
Scott also spoke about breaking her own girls single-game scoring record with the aforementioned 45 points.
“I’ve said this before: basketball is not like soccer in a sense where you just get in a zone where you can do turnaround floaters and somehow it goes in, and it was that type of night,” Scott said. “I was shooting the ball well, and I was finishing. It is hard to put into words that type of zone when you get into it. It is pretty special. It was a fun night. I told the team before we huddled up before the game to just have fun and to play loose.”
LC head coach Whitney Lewis spoke about Scott with beaming pride and excitement, as she’s witnessed Scott play in all four of her varsity years.
“What Peyton has done for our program the past four years has been phenomenal. She has absolutely done amazing things, and besides that, she is a phenomenal person academically, socially and just everything. The way her teammates celebrate with her is genuine because of the type of person she is.
“Every time she steps onto the floor, it is history. It is fun to watch. Sometimes I find myself more of a spectator than a coach because she can do so many things on the floor. It will be exciting to watch as we make this tournament run.”
The game started off strong for the Lady Mustangs as Scott was in a scoring zone in the opening quarter, scoring 16 of the 18 points tallied by LC in the first frame, which ended with LCHS leading, 18-8.
Scott knocked down a two-point basket and a 3-pointer to start the game, then teammate Zoe Fittro connected with a jumper for a quick seven-point lead less than two minutes into the game, forcing West to call a timeout.
Scott was back at it with another two points for a 9-0 advantage, only to see the Lady Senators scored the next four points off buckets by Morgan Rigsby. Scott answered only as she could with a three-point play, and two consecutive 3-pointers, to give LC a 9-0 run in a span of less than two minutes of game time, with LC leading 18-4.
“When Peyton gets into a zone, it is a scary thing,” Lewis said. “She had a game like that against West Union and good players do that. You can see that … West called a timeout, and Peyton looked at the scoreboard and told her teammates, ‘we are only up 12, and in a tournament game, that’s not enough.’ She’s not just focused on what she has to do, but she’s focused on what we have to do to be successful as a team.”
As WHS ended the first frame with four straight points, the Lady Mustangs added points to their lead to start the second frame with a free throw by Fittro and a one-handed basket to the hoop by Scott for a 21-8 lead with 6:40 left in the quarter.
Later in the second, Scott sank another 3-pointer, and with 3:28 left in the quarter she put the Lady Mustangs ahead by a 26-12 score, with that being her 23rd point of the first half. With the second eventually coming to a close, Scott added three final points to the first-half scoring with a basket and free throw for the three-point play with LC leading 29-15.
Though Scott scored 26 points in the first half, there was still work to be done in the second half, and she started the third frame strong with two points in the early stages of the quarter, followed by a steal and layup to push LC’s lead to 18 points at 33-15, as those points moved her to 30 points in the game.
Following a timeout by West, Fittro connected with a 3-pointer at the 5:59 mark of the third, and Scott had a jumper swish through the hoop. Fittro added two more points of her own — finishing the game with 13 points — and then Scott sank two free throws as LC now led 42-15, by beginning the third on a 13-0 run.
After WHS had two points to break up the scoring run, Sierra Benney of LC scored two tough points in the paint off a put-back basket with 3:50 left in the quarter. West answered with a trey, but LC had more to offer with Scott making a bucket in the paint, Fittro scoring off a steal and layup on a fast break and Scott again sinking a 3-pointer, the one that tied her with Cluxton, for a 51-20 LC lead.
Than came Scott’s record-breaking basket with 1:17 on the third-quarter clock, and from there LC ended the frame with an eventual lead of 55-25.
LC added 10 final points in the fourth with Fittro sinking a 3-pointer, Scott scoring the next two baskets and a three-point play from Serena Smith.
Also for LC in the game, Kaylee Lunsford totaled four rebounds, and Chelsea Hart also had four rebounds, as did Benney.
“Being the first tournament game, we did come out a little bit slow, and Peyton carried us the first half. I thought we picked it up in the second half, attacking the rim, and defensively we picked it up and were able to create some easy shots with our defense,” Lewis said. “Ideally that is our identity and what we want to be known for. Sometimes our shots won’t fall, and that’s OK, but defensively we had to pick that up and we did that.”