Fort Mill’s Reed Fanta goes in for a contested lay-up against Union County. The Jackets would win after a 35 day layoff.

With 2020 behind them, the Fort Mill boys’ basketball team started 2021 the best way it could – with a win.

The Jackets’ beat Union County of South Carolina 59-41 to pick up its first win of the year to improve to 1-4 as Fort Mill had three players score in double figures. It had been 35 days since the Fort Mill boys had played with their last game on Dec. 1.

“It is almost like starting over,” said Fort Mill head coach Dwayne Hartsoe.

Fort Mill missed eight potential games, partially because of a coronavirus issue within their program and then because the Fort Mill School District cancelled all games from mid-December until school started back earlier this week.

Originally, Fort Mill was supposed to play Lancaster, but that game was cancelled recently, thus Fort Mill was able to pick up a game against Union County. Hartsoe said his team was just happy to be able to play and get back.

“They are thankful to be back,” he said. “They handled it well.”

Fort Mill jumped out to an early lead in the opening quarter with the help of 12 points from Kyle Neibch, coming off four 3-pointers. The Jackets went up 17-9 hitting 5-of-9 shots from the field in the first quarter.

Union County climbed back into the game outscoring Fort Mill 14-6 in the second quarter to tie the game at 23 heading into halftime. However, the second half Fort Mill dominated and was able to double up Union County in both quarters.

Fort Mill was led in the game by Daniel Penosky, who scored 17 points, 14 of those coming in the second half. Penosky scored nine points in the third quarter as the Jackets outscored Union County 16-8 in the period with the help of four 3-pointers.

Carrying an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter at 39-31, and although they didn’t get as many chances from the field, the Jackets took advantage of their opportunities from the foul line. Fort Mill hit 11-of-12 attempts from the foul line in the fourth quarter with Jackson Fewster, who scored 14 points going 9-for-10. Reed Fanta added 12 points in the win for Fort Mill as well.

“We played well early and shot the ball well in the third quarter,” Hartsoe said. “Our stamina isn’t where it needs to be yet.”

Fort Mill girls’ varsity team didn’t play Union County Tuesday evening, but both them and the boys’ squad are scheduled to be back in action at home Friday against Great Falls starting at 6:30 p.m. with the girls’ game.

The Jackets are scheduled to open Region 3-5A play next week starting with Boiling Springs.

Nation Ford split games

The Nation Ford Falcons opened Region 3-5A play at Boiling Springs Tuesday evening and split games with the girls’ team winning 42-20 and the boys’ team losing 55-44. The Nation Ford girls are now 4-8 on the season and 1-0 in region play, while the boys are 1-8 overall and 0-1 in region play.

The Nation Ford girls were led by Elizabeth Cohen with 17 points and five rebounds. Payton Brookover and Harper McKain added 10 points each as well in the win for the Falcons.  The Nation Ford boys were led by Quadeir Hand with 12 points in the loss.

Both teams will host Boiling Springs Friday night at home to finish out the season series as the girls’ game tips off at 6:30 p.m.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep