NEWBERRY — A strong third quarter by the Fort Mill High boys basketball team allowed them to come away from the second annual Newberry Christmas Tournament with a third place finish by beating Clinton 56-32 at Newberry College.
Leading by just three at the half, Fort Mill opened the third quarter on a 6-0 run and then outscored Clinton 20-2 in the period as the Jackets shot 54 percent in the quarter.
The second half we played better, said Jackets head coach Dwayne Hartsoe. Four games in four days are tough. We are getting better. Tournaments like this give us a chance to give kids playing time.
The win over Clinton was Fort Mills fourth game in four days this past week as they played Northwestern Tuesday before starting the tournament the next day.
Fort Mill opened the tournament with a 61-47 win over Columbia High led by senior Harrison Lancasters 21 points as the Jackets again used a third quarter run to pull away.
In the second night of the eight-team tournament, turnovers plagued Fort Mill as it gave the ball to host Newberry High 18 times in the first half en route to a 67-54 loss.
That set Fort Mill up for the match-up with Clinton, which had beaten Mid-Carolina, but lost to Aiken in day two of the tournament.
Both teams went back and forth for the majority of the first half as Clinton started the game in a full-court press, which Fort Mill was able to break the majority of the time.
Clinton had a slight edge as it forced five Fort Mill turnovers in the opening period on the way to a 13-9 edge after the first quarter. Because of Clintons edgy defense, Fort Mill struggled shooting, hitting just two of 11 shots in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, however, Fort Mill made the adjustments it needed and was able to convert easier baskets.
The Jackets started the quarter on a 7-0 run and went up 16-13. Fort Mill was able to get easy inside looks at the basket with backdoor cuts that caught Clinton off guard.
Junior Mike Scurlock scored five of his eight points in the quarter to lead Fort Mill and Lancaster scored seven of his team-high 16 points.
The Jackets shot 66 percent from the field in the second quarter and Clinton hit just 4-of-13 shots, showing signs of trouble ahead as Fort Mill carried a 27-24 lead into the half.
After making more adjustments at the half, Fort Mill didnt take its foot off the gas in the second half as it held Clinton to just 1-of-12 shooting in the third quarter and consistently outrebounded the Red Devils despite being outsized by them.
Just after the start of the third quarter, Fort Mill junior Devan Thacker dislocated his left shoulder and came out of the game. He had scored seven points up until then. Hartsoe said Thacker should be fine for next weeks Lindberg Moody Basketball Tournament at Northwestern High School.
In the third quarter, Lancaster pushed the pace for Fort Mill and scored eight more points, hitting two big three-pointers.
After the third quarter, Fort Mill had a 21 point lead at 47-26 and never looked back. The Jackets defense continued to do well, holding Clinton to just two field goals in the fourth quarter as the Red Devils shot 13 percent in the second half.
Fort Mill 56, Clinton 32
Fort Mill Harrison Lancaster 16, Rylan Wells 9, Mike Scurlock 8, Devan Thacker 7, Matt Ferguson 6, Mitchell Johnson 6, John Paris 4. Clinton Tay Cook 14, Shakiyl Smiley 5, Ian Kinard 4, Nike Davis 3, RJ Robinson 2, Matthias Williams 2, Tyril Rumph 2.
3-pointers Fort Mill 7 (Lancaster 3, Scurlock 2, Wells 1, Thacker 1), Clinton 5 (Cook 3, Davis 1, Smiley 1).
Record: Fort Mill 5-5.