Fort Mill’s Clare Moore looks to get around an Indian Land defender during the Jackets win over the Warriors Tuesday.

As the second half of basketball season starts, local teams are battling a new opponent not on their schedule as the coronavirus is starting to impact schedules.

While Fort Mill’s game against Indian Land wasn’t impacted Tuesday evening, their game against York at home Friday, Jan. 7 is already canceled because of COVID-19 impacting the York basketball team. Fort Mill High head coach and athletic director Dwayne Hartsoe said he is going to try and find someone to play Friday at home, but is unsure if it is possible on such short notice.

On Tuesday, both Fort Mill’s boys and girls were able to get wins over the Lancaster County high school as the two games were at opposite ends of the spectrum. In the boy’s game, Fort Mill squeezed out a 61-57 win to improve to 12-4 on the season.

In the first match-up between the two teams earlier this year, it was all Fort Mill in the 77-51 win, but Tuesday was more of a challenge for the Jackets.

“We knew it would be tough,” Hartsoe said. “Our kids battled. We made some plays we needed to.”

Fort Mill was led by Gabe Tooper who scored 29 points and Kyle Neibch who added 18 points. The two Jacket players single handily outscored Indian Land in the first half as they combined to score all 30 Fort Mill points in the first half leading Indian Land 30-25 at the half. Tooper scored 14 of his 29 in the first half and Neibch had 16 of his 18 during the same stretch.

The Jackets were able to get a more balanced offense in the second half, but Indian Land was still just as pesky keeping pace with Fort Mill. Fort Mill started the second half hitting just two of their first 11 shots from the field as Indian Land tied the game at 35-35 with 3:30 left.

Fort Mill went on a 5-0 run near the end of the quarter and held a 46-44 lead entering the final quarter.  The two teams stayed with each other for most of the quarter and with about 55 seconds left to play Tooper hit a 3-pointer and was fouled to make it a four-point play and put the Jackets up 59-55. From there, Fort Mill would be able to milk the clock to get the win.

Strong performance by the Fort Mill girls

Led by four players in double figures, the Fort Mill girls’ basketball team won in runaway fashion 74-45 over Indian Land.

Clare Moore led Fort Mill with 28 points as Lydia Laney added 13 points and both Reagan Reyes and Ella Marker each had 12 points as well. The win puts Fort Mill at 5-10 on the season.

The game was a lot different the second time around as the Jackets lost at Indian Land earlier in the season 62-30.

Both teams played each other close in the opening quarter and entered the second quarter tied at 17-17. Fort Mill outscored Indian Land 26-17 in the second quarter as Moore had 11 of her 18 first half points in the quarter for the Jackets to take a 43-34 lead to the locker room.

The Jackets started the third quarter on a 6-0 run and never looked back as they went up by 20 at 59-39 with about 90 seconds to play in the third quarter. Fort Mill outscored Indian Land 20-5 in the quarter.

“We had some good practices,” said Fort Mill head coach Heather Klipa. “We have days where we shoot the ball well. We have had some players grow in confidence. It was one of those days where the pieces fell together.”

The Fort Mill girls are still scheduled to play York Friday at 6 p.m. at home as of now.

Nation Ford cancelled because of COVID

Both the boys and girls Nation Ford-Rock Hill basketball games scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 4 at Rock Hill were cancelled because of COVID within the Rock Hill program. Nation Ford is scheduled to play at Marvin Ridge Wednesday evening.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

Fort Mill’s Gabe Tooper led the Jackets with 29 points in their win over Indian Land Tuesday night.