Fort Mill’s Gabe Tooper goes hard to the basket for the Jackets in the playoff game Wednesday against Spring Valley.

For the first time since 2017, the Fort Mill boys’ basketball team won in the first round of the playoffs rallying against the Spring Valley Vikings for a 63-51 victory.

The win moves the Jackets into the second round where they will face Byrnes, who won by beating Woodmont Wednesday 63-48. Fort Mill will host Byrnes Friday at 7 p.m. at the Hive. The Jackets are now 20-5 overall on the season.

Spring Valley brought a very aggressive style of play against Fort Mill as they sent the Jackets to the foul line for 44 free-throws attempts in the game, with Fort Mill hitting 27 of those. The Vikings also caused the Jackets to turn the ball over 18 times with their aggression, but wasn’t able to always convert on those turnovers.

“It was real physical,” said Fort Mill head coach Dwayne Hartsoe. “I thought our kids held up for the most part. At this point it is survive and advance.”

Spring Valley tied the game at 41-41 after a 5-0 start in the fourth quarter. However, from there Fort Mill took advantage of the foul trouble their opponents were in and started heading to the foul line often.

Fort Mill shot 23 foul shots in the fourth quarter, hitting 12 of them. The Jackets only managed 14 shots from the field in the second half hitting eight of them, compared to the 30 second half foul shots. Will Stumpf helped the Jackets significantly in the low post scoring nine second half points.

The Jackets opened the game up with a 11-0 run before Spring Valley scored their first points. The run led to Fort Mill carrying a 14-4 lead to the second quarter where the Vikings would start the period on a 6-0 run. Spring Valley would then continue to chip away and tie the game at 18-18 with 3:35 left in the first half.

Fort Mill’s 3-point shooting allowed them to move ahead in the quarter as they got big shots from both Gabe Tooper and Kyle Neibch. Tooper led Fort Mill with 22 points and Neibch dropped in 16 points. The Jackets were able to take a 28-22 lead to the locker room at the half.

In the second half, Fort Mill opened with several turnovers, and Spring Valley’s physicality allowed them to crawl back in the game and tie it at 33-33. However, despite Fort Mill’s struggles to get to the basket for field goals, they were able to get to the foul line as the Vikings had already committed their 10th foul of the second half with one-minute still left in the third quarter.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

Fort Mill’s Kyle Neibch drives the ball as Spring Valley’s aggressive style of defense led to 44 foul shots for the Jackets.