Fort Mill’s AJ Washington goes in for a shot during the Jackets game at Rock Hill High School Tuesday night. Photos by Angela Holt.

ROCK HILL – The Fort Mill boys basketball team erased a six-point fourth-quarter deficit, but the Yellow Jackets ultimately came up short on the road in a 53-50 loss in Region 3-5A play Tuesday night.

Fort Mill’s Logan Parker hit a clutch jumper to cut the Rock Hill lead to 51-50 with six seconds left to play, but the Bearcats’ Malik Ashe drained his two foul shots. Fort Mill inbounded with less than four seconds to play, but an ambitious shot from halfcourt fell short.

Fort Mill had used a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter to erase a six-point Rock Hill lead. The Bearcats went on a 10-2 run in the middle of the quarter to open a sizable lead, but AJ Washington nailed a 3-pointer with 1:13 left to cut the Rock Hill lead to 51-48.

Fort Mill head boys coach Myron Lowery called a timeout with 21.2 seconds left, and Washington was fouled for two free throws. Unfortunately, Washington was 0-for-2 from the foul stripe. Rock Hill took the ball back with 11.5 seconds left, but Fort Mill forced a turnover that led to Parker’s bucket.

But the final play wasn’t enough to pull off overtime in the tightly-contested region battle.

“We’re not making plays,” Lowery said. “We knew (Rock Hill) was very good defensively, and we knew they played much better at home. We’re in no situation to take anyone for granted. But not making simple plays, having untimely turnovers, that’s no help.”

With the win, Rock Hill picks up its second region win of the year, while Fort Mill, now 13-10 overall, drops to 3-4 in the region. Crosstown rival Nation Ford leapfrogged Fort Mill for third place in the region with a surprise home win against ranked Blythewood Tuesday night.

Fort Mill’s Washington led all scorers with 18 points, while Christian McCain added 14 points and Kishawn Anderson had 10 points.

Both teams came out evenly matched to start the contest. Rock Hill’s Ashe and Fort Mill’s Anderson traded 3-pointers midway through the first quarter, but junior Logan Parker nailed back-to-back layups at the end of the quarter to hand Fort Mill a slim four-point lead.

Rock Hill opened a 9-0 run in the opening four minutes of the second quarter. The run included a pair of driving fast break layups by Ashe and Kyriq Dickens, as well as a Dickens corner trey to give the Bearcats a 18-13 advantage.

Fort Mill was held without a field goal in the opening 6:30 of the second quarter. But the poor shooting spell came to an end when McCain hit a layup under the basket and Anderson converted a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 22-19 at halftime.

Fort Mill took the lead back with back-to-back layups in the paint by Washington and McCain, but Rock Hill fought back with a pair of treys from Ellis Neely and Dashawn Anderson.

Fort Mill next hosts Spring Valley Friday, Feb. 2, then Clover Tuesday, Feb. 6.

Lowery said the entire region is packed with parity. He said he’ll watch film with his team, have a team discussion and make a commitment to be better before the Spring Valley game on Friday.

“The preparation will be great,” he said. “But we still have to execute the plan and make plays.”

Second quarter run gives Lady Bearcats a boost
The Rock Hill Lady Bearcats used a 14-0 run in the second quarter to overtake and defeat the Fort Mill Lady Yellow Jackets 54-30 in a Region 3-5A home win.

Fort Mill scored three first-quarter 3-pointers in the opening eight minutes to earn a slim 9-7 lead, but Rock Hill outscored its guests 18-3 in the second quarter to turn the tides.

With the win, the Lady Bearcats earned their seventh straight region win of the year. The loss drops Fort Mill to 16-7 and 2-5 in region play.

Fort Mill was held scoreless for the final six minutes of the first half.

Izzie Barber and Reagan Reyes hit treys of their own for Fort Mill to open the second half and cut the lead to 30-20 with 1:50 left in the third quarter, but Rock Hill drained five of its six free throws to maintain a 16-point lead heading into the fourth.

Reyes led the Lady Yellow Jackets with nine points, while Kate Marker had seven and Barber chipped in six.

Reagan Reyes brings the ball up court for Fort Mill during Tuesday’s game.