Nation Ford and Indian Land players fight for a rebound during their game Wednesday night. Photos by Rob Upton Photography.

The Nation Ford boys’ basketball team is still learning what it takes to win, said head coach Charles Brown.

Their Wednesday night’s loss was a bitter pill to swallow, but a necessary learning curve, he said.

Nation Ford missed six of its eight free throws in overtime in a 79-71 home loss to Indian Land.

The Falcons, now 2-8 overall, fought back from a 16-point deficit as late as the middle of the third quarter to force the bonus period of basketball, but the Warriors were 8-of-8 from the charity stripe to pull away and earn the win.

Indian Land’s Brandon Nelson, who scored 13 points, and Sincere Rasul, who led with 27 points, combined for eight of Indian Land’s 12 points in overtime, which included two quick transition buckets to break the deadlock and several key made free throws to ice the decision.

Meanwhile, Nation Ford was limited to just one field goal in the final four minutes, and the Falcons were inconsistent from the foul line.

“This is the first time I’ve seen some sad faces,” Brown said. “They know what it feels like to put your best out there and not come out with a win. Sometimes it happens. When you lose, it’s something you never want to get used to. We’ve got to trust in the process. We’re going to keep being consistent with them.”

Nation Ford fought hard to even make the contest close. Indian Land built a seven-point lead by halftime and got off to a hot start in the third quarter. The Warriors used timely turnovers and strong transition play to open a 14-2 run in the opening 2:30 of the second half.

By the time Brown called a timeout for Nation Ford, the visitors led 46-30, forcing a Nation Ford timeout.

Timely buckets by Shelden Joseph, who scored 20 points; Daheem Knowles, who chipped in 14 points; and Caden Giles, who added 18 points, helped chip away at the lead, and the Falcons trailed by just eight heading into the fourth quarter.

The Falcons took control in the fourth, riding a wave of support from a lively home crowd to finish hard at the rim. Joseph and Knowles were pivotal to building a 17-2 run for Nation Ford that tied the game at 65-65 with 1:45 left to play.

Giles’ layup with 1:17 to play even gave Nation Ford a brief lead, but Indian Land’s free throws were enough to keep them safe for another period.

“I kind of could foresee that,” Brown said. “I told them we need to get the 50/50 balls; we need to grind it out and fight back. It wasn’t a surprise when we started to pull that out.”

But Rasul and Nelson reacted quicker to those 50/50 balls in overtime, and made Nation Ford pay both in the paint and from the line.

“We missed a lot of free throws,” said Brown. “It was something that was our Achilles’ heel. That and missing layups, those are the things that’ll make us a stronger team.

Tyler Callahan scored all 12 of his points for Indian Land from beyond the arc. JJ Rembert added 10 points for the Falcons, while Nick Chuttey and Jackson Falkner combined for nine points.

Nation Ford 56, Indian Land 22

The Nation Ford girls’ basketball team used a strong second-half performance to power past visiting Indian Land in a 56-22 home win Wednesday night.

The Falcons, now 4-4 overall, outscored the Warriors 44-9 in the second half to overcome a one-point halftime deficit.

Indian Land held a narrow 13-12 lead at the break, thanks to late 3-pointers in the final 90 seconds of the second quarter.

Neither team shot well in the first half, but Nation Ford’s rebounding on the offensive and defensive sides of the glass helped the Falcons keep possession.

The Falcons finally broke away with a 23-2 third quarter. Kayla Wilmore, dropped in 16 points, and Camille Kerridge, scored 18 points, combined for four 3-pointers in the period, and the Falcons’ defense allowed just one Indian Land field goal in the entire eight minutes of play.

The highlight of the game was Kerridge draining a clutch jump shot at the buzzer as the quarter ended.

“At halftime, I told them, ‘We have to play for each other,’” said head coach Kelly Bennett. “I challenged them to handle it. They came out with extra fire. They’re finally getting the hint that we are a very talented team. Once you start believing, it’s great to see.”

Kedra Drakeford, who scored 10 points, added two more treys in the fourth quarter as Bennett gave his bench players plenty of valuable minutes. The reserves helped hold Indian Land to just seven points in the final quarter. Eight different Falcons made the scoresheet in the victory.

Nation Ford next hosts local rival Catawba Ridge at home Friday, Dec. 16.

Nation Ford’s Aubrey Barney gets off balance during the game against Indian Land Wednesday.