Offense was a struggle for the Nation Ford girls, who went into a near six minute scoring drought to see a five-point lead disappear into a six-point deficit against York on Tuesday.
However, the Falcons were able to regroup behind the leadership of junior forward Taylor Yarborough, who scored 12 fourth-quarter points to key a 51-46 road basketball victory.
Yarborough, who scored a team-high 21 points, facilitated the Nation Ford offense down the stretch, which was crucial in holding off a feisty Cougars squad in a Region 3-AAAA contest.
“Taylor has been a player and leader that we have depended on all year,” Nation Ford coach Mike Smith said. “But tonight’s victory was a good team win for us.”
York, which suffered its first loss on the season, led 42-36 after going on a 12-0 run, spanning from the 3:38 mark of the third quarter to 6:44 in the fourth.
However, Nation Ford turned the defensive tables, limiting the Cougars to only six points in the final stanza, including a scoreless streak of nearly three minutes.
“We did a great job with our defense in the fourth after playing not so well in the third,” Smith said.
York coach Paula Blackwell said that sub-par perimeter shooting caused the offensive woes down the stretch.
“They collapsed on Carrie Lee and our guards struggled to make shots from the outside,” she said.
Yarborough sank two free throws to put Nation Ford ahead, 44-42, with 4:25 remaining. With the score tied 46-46 after a jumper from York guard Kelondra Lytle, Yarborough scored on two driving layups on consecutive possessions, putting the Falcons in control, 50-46, with 39 seconds remaining.
“This was a team win, but I just try to step up and be a leader,” Yarborough said. “I cannot do it without my teammates. I am just happy that we came together,” for the win.
Lancaster led the York girls with 16 points.
Nation Ford 51, York 46
Nation Ford - Tiaira Potts 5, Zippy Lincoln 9, Taylor Yarborough 21, Dani Shaddix 14, Chelsea Gant 2.
York - Letrelline Mobley 2, Alawna Orr 9, Lilasha Dervin 11, Aubrey Wood 1, Zaye Simpson 3, Kelondra Lytle 4, Carrie Lee Lancaster 16.
3-point goals - Nation Ford 3 (Yarborough 2, Potts 1), York 3 (Dervin 2, Simpson 1). Team fouls - York 10, Nation Ford 15. Fouled out - Gant (NF).
Records: Nation Ford 4-2, 1-1 in Region 3-AAAA; York 4-1, 0-1 in Region 3-AAAA.
Rock Hill 63, Fort Mill 55
Tied at 51 with less than two minutes left, the Bearcats’ Asia Potts led Rock Hill on an 11-4 run to pull away from the Jackets for the win.
“I am happy for them,” said Bearcats coach Kenny Orr. “It’s a big region win, but we have got to do a better job with our execution. We need to capitalize on our opportunities.”
Fort Mill had 11 fourth quarter turnovers and was outscored 26-15 in the final period.
Rock Hill started pressing to open the final quarter of their game with the Fort Mill and quickly regained the lead after trailing 40-37 after three quarters.
Fort Mill’s quickness and transition game allowed them to retake the lead soon thereafter as both squads went back-and-forth.
The Jackets struggled to make the most of their opportunities early on as they turned the ball over often.
Rock Hill’s Asia Potts tied the game at 44 with 4:30 left on a big 3-pointer. But Fort Mill seemed to have an answer for almost everything the Bearcats did as Jackets freshman Madison Hendrix would quickly get back in transition to give by the lead to Fort Mill.
The Bearcats took off to open the game starting 9-0, before Fort Mill could score. Both teams struggled with turnovers in the first half.
Potts scored eight of the Bearcats 19 points as they shot just under 50 percent in the opening quarter.
Leading 19-10 after one, Fort Mill rallied to start the second quarter on a 7-0 run as freshman Madison Hendrix was able to score 10 of the Jackets’ 22 second-quarter points. However, Rock Hill went on a 7-0 run of its own to extend their lead to 26-17.
Hendrix was able to get Fort Mill within one with about two minutes left in the half to make it 28-27.
Fort Mill then went on a 5-0 run, before Rock Hill made it 32-32 at the half.
Both teams started the second half slow.
The Jackets continued to struggle with turnovers, but Rock Hill struggled shooting the ball, making just one field goal in the first four minutes of the third quarter.
Fort Mill’s offense wasn’t much better as they hit just two of their first seven shots.
The Jackets were able to pull ahead 40-37 right before the end of the quarter, as Hendrix kept the momentum in their corner hitting two free-throws. Hendrix did the majority of scoring for Fort Mill in the period and Potts scored all five of Rock Hill’s points in the quarter.
Rock Hill 63, Fort Mill 55
Fort Mill - Rae Lynch 10, Hannah-Kate Christopher 5, Madison Hendrix 24, Sierra Patterson 2, Chelsea Redd 4, Payton Carter 2, Lauren Wood 8.
Rock Hill - Zekiya Knox 12, Asia Potts 21, Shaunte Young 8, Chelsey Dorsey 16, Alexis Ervin 6. 3-pointers - Fort Mill 3 (Lynch 2, Hendrix 1), Rock Hill 3 (Knox 1, Potts 1, Dorsey 1). Fouls - Fort Mill 23, Rock Hill 21. Fouled out - Chelsea Redd (FM).
Records: Fort Mill 3-4, 0-1 in Region 3-AAAA; Rock Hill 2-4, 1-0 in Region 3-AAAA.