LITTLE RIVER --
Falcons in consolation finals at ‘Shootout by the Sea’
The Nation Ford Falcons basketball team was topped by the host North Myrtle Beach Chiefs 58-57 and will play in the third-place game of the Shootout by the Sea tournament.
Nation Ford will take on Center Point out of Alabama in the third-place game.
Despite a 25-point effort from senior Carson Smith, Nation Ford was nipped by North Myrtle Beach down the stretch. The Chiefs took a six-point lead into halftime, but Nation Ford was nearly able to reverse that in the second half outscoring the host team 31-26.
Junior Riley Hilton added 11 points in the losing effort for the Falcons.
In getting to the semifinals, Nation Ford opened things up with Sumter and despite 11 second-half turnovers were able to win 57-49.
“We played in spurts,” Nation Ford head coach Brian Turner said. “It was a long bus ride and you worry about how fresh your legs are going to be. We came out pretty quick and we were able to answer their runs.”
The Falcons were led by Hilton’s 16 points as Smith added 13 in the opening round win.
Hilton scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half, as the teams played two 16-minute halves instead of four eight-minute quarters.
Nation Ford used its quickness to compensate for a lack of height and the physical play of Sumter, which caused the Falcons to cough up the ball 10 times in the first half. That allowed the Gamecocks to stay with Nation Ford.
Nation Ford carried a five-point lead into the half at 27-22. That small lead didn’t seem like much, but when Sumter started the second half 0-8, it helped tremendously.
Two big three-pointers, one from senior Nick Turner and the other from junior Jordan Causey, helped to push Nation Ford’s lead even further ahead.
Sumter’s defense allowed it to climb back in the game as its height finally started working to its advantage.
The Gamecocks stayed within striking distance and pulled within eight with about three minutes left in the game.
However, the Falcons were able to keep things in perspective and help off any further rally by Sumter to move on.
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