A number of storylines came out of Friday’s games between Fort Mill and Nation Ford, which isn’t unusual in a rivalry as close as this one.
The Nation Ford girls got a much-needed win to keep their playoff hopes alive, while the Fort Mill boys swept Nation Ford for the first time since 2012 with their win.
Nation Ford’s girls rallied in the second half of their game for a 46-35 win with the help of their transitional offense and a defense that caused unofficially 22 turnovers for Fort Mill. The Falcons trailed 18-13 at the half and outscored Fort Mill 33-17 in the second half for the win.
“She was ready for me in the first half,” said Nation Ford head coach Coretta Richmond, on Jackets’ coach Heather Klipa. “Fort Mill’s shots were falling.”
Richmond switched some things up at the half and got more aggressive with their defensive pressure as they scored 20 third quarter points with the help of eight points from Harper McKain, who led Nation Ford with 15 points. The Falcons caused eight third quarter turnovers for Fort Mill and didn’t allow them to set up their offense on many possessions, which led to Nation Ford scoring in transition.
“We had some costly turnovers,” Klipa said. “I was proud of our effort.”
Nation Ford took a 33-26 lead into the fourth quarter and while the Falcons didn’t get as many shots in the quarter, they did manage to hit the majority of them to hold Fort Mill off. Nation Ford improved to 6-12 overall with the win and 3-3 in Region 3-5A.
“A lot of growth has come with this young team,” Richmond said.
The Jackets were led by Nadia Dial with 14 points in the loss. Fort Mill is now 7-6 overall and 3-2 in the region.
Fort Mill girls are behind in their schedule because of being out with coronavirus issues recently. They will travel to Clover next Monday and then travel to Gaffney next Thursday. They will finish the regular season hosting Clover Feb. 15. Clover is ranked No. 1 in the state and the Jackets will need to take at least one game from Gaffney and Clover to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Fort Mill pull off sweep of Falcons
The Jackets finished their regularly scheduled season with the 68-39 win over Nation Ford Friday. The win put Fort Mill at 9-7 overall and 5-3 in the region. Fort Mill is still in the hunt for a playoff spot, but it will depend on how other teams, like Nation Ford does down the stretch, as he said he is pulling for them to grab a win against Clover.
Fort Mill head coach Dwayne Hartsoe said he was glad to be able to finish the season in an uncertain year such as this.
“We had an issue early and got a lot of it behind us,” he said.
Hartsoe said he still may add a game to keep his team fresh and ready for a potential playoff game.
Fort Mill took off in the first half and never looked back against Nation Ford. They led by 21 at the half and started the third quarter on a 11-0 run. At one point in the third quarter, the Falcons had more turnovers than shot attempts. Hartsoe said he was glad the Jackets got off to a good start.
“It is tough to play back-to-back games against your rival,” he said.
Nation Ford did play better in the second half but the 11-0 run put Fort Mill up by 30 points at one point. Fort Mill was led by Reed Fanta, who scored 17 points and Daniel Penosky, who added 12 points, all on 3-pointers. The Falcons were led by Jackson Burnham, who dropped in 11 points for Nation Ford.
The Falcons still have two weeks’ worth of games with Clover being next week and Gaffney being the week after. Both the Nation Ford boys’ and girls’ teams will play Clover next week with a home game Feb. 9 and then at Clover Feb. 12. The Clover match-ups will end the regular season for the girl’s team, but the boys will host Gaffney Feb. 15 and then travel to Gaffney Feb. 18.
Nation Ford boys’ head coach Jared Adamson said the season has been a battle of adversity. The Falcons are 1-11 overall and 0-4 in the region.
“We are doing the best we can,” he said. “We have been on again, off again since Christmas. We are just trying to stay together as a group. The guys are learning a lot of life lessons now. Life is tough. The guys have been battling adversity all season.”
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @fortprep