Fort Mill’s Paige Wasiela drives to the basket during the Jackets game against Clover Monday night.

The Fort Mill girls’ basketball team knew the wall they had to get over to make it to the playoffs, but fell short in losing 48-28 to the 5A No. 1 ranked Clover Blue Eagles.

Fort Mill put forth a strong effort in the loss, but the Blue Eagles had too many weapons. The Jackets finished the season at 8-8 overall and 4-4 in Region 3-5A play with a third-place finish in the region. In most years, that would have been good enough to make the playoffs, but not this year because of coronavirus restrictions which allow just two teams per region to make the playoffs.

“I am proud of the kids,” said Fort Mill head coach Heather Klipa. “They played hard. We knew what we were up against.”

Klipa was back on the sideline just days after giving birth to her second child, but left a lot of the coaching duties up to her top assistant Nathan Wruble, who led Fort Mill to a victory over Gaffney 43-42 last Thursday, the same day Klipa gave birth.

“I am extremely thankful for my staff,” Klipa said. “We faced a lot this season.” 

Clover started strong and never looked back finishing the first quarter leading 19-5. Despite their height, Fort Mill struggled to get any penetration into the lane.  The Jackets played better in the second and third quarters however, could never really put a dent in Clover’s lead.

Clover led by 15 at the half. Fort Mill opened the second half on a 5-1 run, but the Jackets struggled with turnovers in the quarter and allowed the Blue Eagles to capitalize on those mistakes. Fort Mill was led by Paige Wasiela with 10 points.

Clover will take the No. 1 seed out of the region into the playoffs with a region title to their credit and a 14-1 record. They will open the playoffs next week hosting in the first round. Gaffney will take the second seed out of the region.

The Fort Mill boys’ basketball team, who had been waiting to see where the ball would drop for them, have officially been eliminated from playoff contention as Gaffney won the region title with Clover getting the second seed despite both the Blue Eagles and Fort Mill having an identical 5-3 region record. The Jackets needed Nation Ford to beat Clover last week at least once to allow them to get into the playoffs, which didn’t happen. Fort Mill finished the season at 9-7 overall.

Gaffney edges Nation Ford boys

The Gaffney Indians edged the Nation Ford boys’ basketball team 58-54 Monday in Fort Mill.  The Falcons were led by Quadeir Hand with 19 points and Sheldon Joseph with 11 points. Nation Ford outscored Gaffney 19-11 in the second quarter to take the game into the half tied at 32. Gaffney outscored the Falcons 26-22 in the second half. The loss drops Nation Ford to 1-14 overall and 0-7 in the region. The Falcons are scheduled to finish their season Wednesday at Gaffney.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep