South Charlotte

Bulldogs rerun failed play, prep for this season

Orlando Robinson and RaeQuan Scott were playing together as seventh-graders at Crestdale Middle School when then Providence High basketball coach Myron Lowery saw them.

At the time, Lowery could only imagine having Robinson and Scott in his own backcourt. Over the next two seasons, Lowery, Robinson and Scott went their separate ways with Lowery stepping down at Providence and becoming an Olympic High assistant (2013-14), Robinson going to Queens Grant High and Scott to Butler.

Lowery even coached against both players at Olympic.

Then, when Lowery decided to take the Butler boys’ basketball head coaching job in May of 2014, he was reunited with the duo as Scott was already on the team and Robinson had come back to his home midway through his freshman year, according to Lowery.

“I remember that first open gym at Butler, just watching them play, I was jumping for joy inside to have both,” said Lowery. “As a coach, you have got to have players. I don’t care if you’re Coach K (Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski) or Dean Smith (former North Carolina basketball head coach), you have to have players to win games. With great guards, like Orlando and RaeQuan, I knew I was going to have players at Butler from the start.”

Lowery, Robinson (5-foot-9 guard) and Scott (5-foot-11 guard) wasted no time living up their own billing. After a 2-2 start last season, the Bulldogs won 17 straight games and 22 of their last 24 contests to have one of the best seasons in school history at 23-4, including 11-1 in Southwestern 4A (SW4A) conference play to claim the league title.

While Lowery breathed new life into the program, Scott (21 ppg, 4 apg) and Robinson (16 ppg, 3 apg) proved to be one of the best backcourts in the city and state. Both guards enjoy a frenetic pace.

“RaeQuan and I work really well together because we’ve been playing together since the seventh grade (at Crestdale Middle),” said Robinson, noting they also played together on the Team Charlotte, AAU basketball team. “We like to play at our pace, which is fast. But the thing that makes us so dangerous, is that either of us can play point guard or off the ball. We can both score or pass. So, whoever gets the ball first off the rebounds can just go and other guy can take off down the court.”

But Robinson lost last season in the third round of the playoffs, 67-66 to Myers Park. Lowery says his team ran the perfect play to win the game in regulation, but missed the 3-point shot.

“I told my team that I still feel the pain of that loss and I knew they did too,” Lowery said. “There’s two schools of thought on how to deal with that kind of loss. You either never mention it again or in the San Antonio Spurs’ way, you go back and watch it and learn from it.

“I decided to go back and watch it and address with the team. Our first practice this year, we watched it and then set up the same exact play and ran it and RaeQuan made a tough three-pointer. Just that play in practice, really helped us put last season to rest.”

With four starters back in the lineup this year, the Bulldogs feel even better about the 2015-16 season.

“I feel like we have the best team in the state,” Scott said. “It’s not just Orlando and I, it’s everyone on our team that makes so good.”

Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: