FORT MILL – The first meeting between Fort Mill and Catawba Ridge on the hardwood resulted in a split decision between the two schools.
The Fort Mill boys team picked up the win with a 45-36 victory, while the Catawba Ridge girls got a 34-21 win.
In the boys’ game, the Jackets struggled with turnovers, but still was able to use a strong first half to pull away. Fort Mill was led by senior Keyan Mims, who scored 20 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter as he scored all but three points in the quarter for the Jackets. Fort Mill improved to 4-1 on the season, while the Copperheads fell to 2-3 overall.
“He is the most experience on the floor,” said Fort Mill head coach Dwayne Hartsoe. “He played well down the stretch. We are just turning it over too much. We have got to make some shots.”
The Jackets opened the game on a 5-0 run, but Catawba Ridge clawed their way back into the game. Both teams played each other closely in the opening period as Fort Mill has a slight 11-10 lead after the first quarter.
The second period was a different story as Fort Mill’s defense held the Copperheads to just one of five shooting in the quarter. The Jackets used three 3-pointers in the quarter on four-of-seven shooting to take a 22-14 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, it was more of a defensive game for both teams as they unofficially combined to shoot just 16 shots in the third quarter. Despite the struggles, Fort Mill took a nine-point lead into the final period.
Catawba Ridge was led by junior Luke Krawczyk, who had 10 points. The Copperheads played their best basketball in the fourth quarter scoring 16 points, but still struggled to close the gap because of the play from Mims. Nevertheless, Copperheads’ head coach Brett Childers said he was proud of the effort his team gave. Childers knew it would be hard to play in the type of atmosphere created at Fort Mill having coached there for six years before going to Catawba Ridge this year.
“We played hard,” he said. “If we would have gotten some shots to fall it would have been a different ball game. It is tough to play here.”
In the girls’ game, Catawba Ridge used a fast start and never looked back as junior Victoria Jordan scored 24 points in the Copperheads win over Fort Mill.
“She was looking forward to coming out strong,” said Catawba Ridge head coach Kate Edwards. “She was aggressive. We want her going strong to the basket.”
Jordan scored 10 of her 24 points in the first quarter as Catawba Ridge held a 12-2 lead after the opening period. Fort Mill tried shooting from the outside but hit just one of 14 shots in the first quarter and struggled to turn things around.
Catawba Ridge took a 23-8 lead into the half and Fort Mill made a run in the third quarter outscoring the Copperheads 7-2, but that only cut the gap to 10 entering the final period. Jordan and Catawba Ridge again started to pull away as she scored all put one point for the Copperheads in the final period.
Up next for Fort Mill is a road game at River Bluff Dec. 10. Their next home game won be until January 2020. Catawba Ridge next plays at home Dec. 10 against North Gaston and then host Fort Mill Dec. 13 in a rematch.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @MacBanksFM