PIEDMONT – Because they finished third in Region 3-5A this season, the Fort Mill boys basketball team had to hit the road Wednesday for their first round playoff tilt at Woodmont. 

The Woodmont Wildcats finished third in their region as well. Both teams looked confident in warmups so one would figure it would be a knockdown, drag out fight. The game didn’t disappoint as the Jackets would rally to grab a 59-51 win.

Fort Mill will travel to Spartanburg County to face the Byrnes Rebels Saturday in the second round of the playoffs.

Fort Mill won the opening tip and scored in the first 20 seconds of the game on a Logan Parker layup.  From that point on, the Wildcats took command of the game.  Woodmont’s Dre Huff was a man possessed for the next 12 minutes of play scoring 13 first half points helping the Wildcats to a lead of 15-12 at the end of one period. 

Fort Mill went cold from the field and in the blink of an eye Yellow Jackets head coach Myron Lowery had to call a timeout as Woodmont built a 13-point lead at 25-12. 

Fort Mill jumped on the back of sophomore forward A.J. Washington. Offensively, he got hot scoring 10 points in the second period including two 3-pointers. With their lead cut to two as the second period clock ran down, Woodmont tried desperately to get off a clean shot but to no avail.  Wildcats had the lead 30-28, but you could see the Yellow Jackets were beginning to hit their stride on both ends of the floor. 

Like the first half, Jackets got the ball to start the third period and wasted no time scoring a bucket as senior center Christian McCain hit a short jumper which tied the game for the first time all night at 30 apiece.

Both teams began trading buckets as Washington stayed hot for Fort Mill, while Woodmont received production from Drake Stewart and Kamari Sturgeon. 

The turning point in the second half was a bucket whipped off the board thanks to McCain drawing the charge. It was the third time in the game McCain drew a charge from a Woodmont player in the game.  In addition, the Yellow Jacket defense kept Huff off the scoring sheet for the entire third period of play as Fort Mill built a 43-38 lead heading to the fourth and final act.

Not a lot of fouls had been called in the first three periods, but that changed in the final period of play.  Both teams racked up fouls sending the opponent to the free throw line. The Wildcats were 5-of-7 from the line in the period and 10-of-13 for the game. Not to be outdone, Fort Mill was a perfect 4-of-4 in the fourth period and an impressive 13-of-16 for the game. 

Unfortunately for Woodmont, they went cold on the offensive end as Fort Mill continued to play defense while also taking advantage of second chance opportunities to pull away for a come from behind victory.  With the win, Fort Mill improves to 16-11 overall.  Washington led all scorers with 22 points. Parker and McCain had 10 points each.