A record that has stood for nearly a half century fell Friday night at Fort Mill High School.
Fort Mill head basketball coach Dwayne Hartsoe became the all-time winningest boy’s basketball coach in school history with win number 178 as head coach of the Yellow Jackets. Fort Mill beat Clover 53-50 as the Blue Eagles made Hartsoe and the Jackets work for the record. With the win Fort Mill improves to 9-10 overall this season, but more importantly 2-2 in Region 3-5A.
The win came a little over two years since Hartsoe got career win number 400 in January 2021. Hartsoe now sits with 436 career wins. The school record he broke Friday night was owned by the late Jim Walser who coached basketball at Fort Mill High in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Several of Hartsoe’s former players were in the Hive Friday night to see their coach make history. Hartsoe said that meant a lot to him. Also in attendance were several family members. Hartsoe said he hadn’t really thought about getting the school record, he was just trying to win games.
“I think it is more for other people than me,” he said. “Every year we try to win as many games as we can and take each game as they had come. This year has been tough on us at times. The kids have stuck with it. It is all about the kids. I have just been along for the ride. There is a lot of kids that have played a big part in getting those wins. I told my wife if you live long enough and do something long enough you got to break some records. That is probably where I am at now.”
Fort Mill and Clover historically are a back-and-forth battle that seems to come down to the last possession. That was no different Friday night as Fort Mill struggled at the foul line in the fourth quarter failing to ice the game and giving Clover that last ditch effort for the win.
“It’s a big region win,” Hartsoe said. “We played well for about three quarters and a half and had to hang on to win. Seems like every time we play them it comes down to the final possession.”
Both teams started that game evenly matched as they ended the first quarter tied at 7-7. The second quarter saw Fort Mill give themselves some breathing room as both Gabe Tooper and Braylen McCain each led the offense to put the Jackets up 20-16 at the break.
The second half saw Fort Mill come out and take advantage of their opportunities early as they were able to get to the basket and have key 3-pointers from Zach Jennings, who led the Jackets with 16 points, and Logan Parker.
Fort Mill shot 50 percent from the field in the third quarter and went up 36-29 to open the final period. The Jackets extended their lead early in the fourth quarter starting on a 5-1 run and going up 41-30, but Clover started chipping away after going to a press and causing Fort Mill to turn the ball over.
Fort Mill kept their composure, but struggled at the line as they hit just three of eight foul shots in the period. However, the Jackets were able to hit six of seven shots from the field in the quarter including two more 3-pointers from Jennings. McCain would finish with 11 points for Fort Mill and Tooper would add nine points as well.
Girls keep it close against Clover
The Fort Mill girl’s basketball team fell 55-45 to the sixth ranked Clover Lady Blue Eagles.
Fort Mill started off strong leading 13-8 after the opening quarter, but Clover had a big second quarter to rally and take a 25-23 lead at halftime.
The second half was all Clover as they opened on a 5-0 run to extend their lead. Fort Mill struggled to get inside the lane to get higher percentage shots as the Blue Eagles held them at bay.
Clover closed out the third quarter leading 43-36, and despite Fort Mill keeping it close, the Blue Eagles were able to hold them off.
Fort Mill was led by Clare Moore with 18 points. The Jackets fall to 0-4 in region play and 7-13 overall.
Next week is rivalry week as Fort Mill travels to Nation Ford Tuesday, Jan. 24 to take on the Falcons.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @fortprep