FORT MILL — The Fort Mill Yellow Jackets’ shooting, when it counted against the Northwestern Trojans, went as cold as the ice that passed through the area this past week.
Fort Mill had the Trojans tied at 26 at the half. And despite carrying a slim, six-point lead into the fourth quarter, coughed up the game, losing 47-44.
Fort Mill came out on the attack in the third quarter, when senior Rylan Wells scored seven of his 11 points to lead the Jackets as they outscored Northwestern 12-6. That push allowed Fort Mill to go up 38-32 heading into the final period. From there, Northwestern inserted Clenzo Ross into the lineup and the rest was history.
Ross scored all 10 of his points in the final quarter and led the Trojans, who started the quarter on an 8-3 run to close the game to 41-40. Northwestern quickly took the lead from there and held Fort Mill at bay for the rest of the game.
Fort Mill had several chances in the quarter, but scored just two field goals and hit just 1-of-4 free-throws.
Jackets senior John Paris missed a potential game-tying free-throw with 25.3 seconds remaining and Fort Mill missed several more shots at the basket to take the lead in the final seconds. A steal by Ross led to him getting fouled but Northwestern held on for the win.
“We didn’t make enough plays,” said Fort Mill head coach Dwayne Hartsoe. “We were about three plays away from doing what we needed to do. Our kids are playing hard. We are still in the [playoff] hunt.”
The Jackets were led by Wells and junior Devan Thacker, who also had 11 points.
Lady Jackets lose, too
In the girls’ game, Fort Mill struggled to keep up with the Lady Trojans, falling 70-54.
Northwestern used a 14-4 run in the second quarter to take control of the game and never really had to look back. Fort Mill trailed by just three points at 14-11 entering the second quarter, but things quickly started slipping away for them.
Northwestern finished off the Lady Jackets in the third quarter as it went on a 16-3 run to extend its lead.
Fort Mill made a good attempt at coming back in the fourth quarter as sophomore Ally Abbott led the Lady Jackets on a 14-0 run to cut the Lady Trojans lead to 65-50, but the gap was too much.
Abbott led with 14 points. Freshman Madison Hendrix added 11 and senior Rae Lynch scored 10.