The Marion County girls basketball team struggled to score Monday night in a 45-12 home loss to Scotland County.

Payton Hays sank a free throw with 3 minutes, 17 seconds left in the first quarter Monday to pull the Marion County girls basketball team even at 5 with visiting Scotland County.

But the Lady Mustangs offense managed just seven points over the final 27 minutes of the game in a 45-12 loss.

Hays finished with 10 of Marion County’s points and also pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds in the loss.

“It’s hard to win games when you have just two girls who are scoring,” Marion County coach Megan Zook said. “This is a team sport so you have to have everyone on the court do something to help you score. We didn’t have that tonight.” 

Hays entered the night averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds a game. Sadie Spratt entered averaging nine points per contest, but was held scoreless in the game.

Ashleigh Creek and Katie Feeney connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to break the 5-all tie in the first period.

The Lady Tigers never looked back.

Scotland County led 13-5 after the first eight minutes of play and took a commanding 25-7 lead at halftime. 

Creek drained a trio of shots from behind the arc in part of her game-high 14 points. 

“I thought we did a nice defensive job on her inside, then they put her outside and she really hurt us,” Zook explained. “Our wings did not do a good job of denying her. She made three (3-pointers) before we finally decided to give her some attention out there. You just can’t do that.” 

The Lady Tigers also dominated the glass, out-rebounding Marion County 37-27. Scotland County came up with 15 offensive boards, compared to just six for the Lady Mustangs. 

“We talk all the time about effort does not take talent,” the Lady Mustangs coach said. “We need to be on the floor for loose balls. Just play your heart out. No one can ever take that away from you, no matter the scoreboard says, just as long as you give the effort.”

The loss drops Marion County to 0-16 on the season.

“It’s not easy,” Zook said. “We just have to keep pushing forward and do our best. It’s been a tough season, but you can’t just bow down.”

Marion County returns to the court Tuesday night as it plays host to Paris.