The Fort Mill Yellow Jackets held off a second half rally by the Clover Blue Eagles to hold on for a Region 3-5A leading win Wednesday night.
Fort Mill is now 2-0 in the region with the 52-41 win over Clover as the Jackets improved to 14-4 overall on the season. Fort Mill leads the region in the early part of region play thus far this season. The Jackets were led by Kyle Neibch as he had 15 points, seven of those coming in the fourth quarter, and Darryl Carrington who had 14 points, with eight of those coming in the first quarter.
The game saw Fort Mill use a big first half to pull away and take a comfortable 31-12 lead at the half, but the second half saw Clover use a similar spurt to threaten the Jackets.
“We knew it was a big game,” said Fort Mill head coach Dwayne Hartsoe. “They are a really good team and a big team. I expected a run out of them. We were able to make some plays and hold on.”
Fort Mill opened the game and dropped 18 points in the first quarter to take a 18-10 lead. The Jackets hit seven of nine shots in the opening quarter including four 3-pointers.
Another run in the second quarter bolstered Fort Mill as they outscored Clover 13-2 in the period as the Jackets went on a 9-0 run in the quarter and were more productive on the glass as a team.
Despite having a 19-point halftime lead, Clover was able to take advantage of early miscues by Fort Mill as the Jackets struggled in the opening minutes of the third quarter with turnovers and poor shooting from the field. Clover outscored Fort Mill 16-5 in the third to pull within eight points to start the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth battle between the two clubs as Clover was able to use their 6’11” center Lawrence Bartee to get inside and allow the Blue Eagles to close the gap. One thing that helped Fort Mill was that Clover had fouls to give, which allowed the Jackets to milk the clock. Neibch was able to score seven fourth quarter points as Fort Mill dropped in 16 points in the quarter to hold off Clover.
Clover girls able to nip Jackets down the stretch
Fort Mill would make a late 9-0 run in the fourth quarter to make a game of it, but Clover hit four free throws down the stretch to ice the game and take a 43-39 win over the Jackets.
With the loss, Fort Mill drops to 0-2 in the region and 6-13 overall on the season. Leading 31-26 after three quarters, Clover made a small run to open the fourth quarter, but the Jackets would go on a run of their own led by Nadia Dial. Dial led Fort Mill with 12 points, scoring 10 of those in the fourth quarter.
Clover tied the game at 39 with under a minute left and then hit two free throws with 14 seconds left to go up 41-39. The Jackets turned the ball over with about 10 seconds left and then fouled Clover who hit two more free throws.
Fort Mill opened the game on a 6-2 run as Reagan Reyes hit two 3-pointers. The Jackets spread the scoring around in the second quarter and took an 18-13 lead to the locker room at the half.
In the third quarter, Clover opened the second half on a 10-2 run to take the lead as Fort Mill struggled with turnovers.
“We played well in the first half,” said Fort Mill head coach Heather Klipa. “They made a run in the second half and put us on our heels.”
Clover outscored the Jackets 18-8 in the third quarter to get the lead.
Up next for Fort Mill is Gaffney at home on Friday, Jan. 21, however, weather issues may force that game to be postponed. Gaffney received a lot more snow and inclement weather over the past week then the Fort Mill area and they haven’t played this week. There is more snow being called for in Fort Mill on Friday.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @fortprep