Darnell Rogers came up big for Indian Land Tuesday night, scoring 26 points to help the Warriors knock off York 76-74 in overtime.
That’s nothing new for the 5-foot-5 sophomore, who poured in 13 points in the fourth quarter alone.
“That’s our floor general,” said Indian Land coach Nate Smith. “Sometimes he makes coaching easy, makes me look good. He made a lot of the calls on the floor.”
Indian Land, ranked 10th in the state in Class AA to start the season, fell to Michael Dalton’s Cougars 91-81 last Thursday, but pulled off the win Tuesday thanks to one big improvement.
“Heart,” said Smith. “Every loose ball York was going after. I said to them, ‘if you want to win, you gonna have to hit the boards.’ I know both teams were tired, but that’s no excuse. That’s why you practice.”
Heart helped, but it didn’t hurt that the Warriors (2-1) were able to reinsert 6-foot-7 senior Lee McCall back into the lineup, alongside 6-foot-7 junior Brandon Barnes and 6-foot-8 sophomore Quantra Taylor, though they didn’t impact the game to the degree their coach would’ve liked.
“We’ve got to learn to take advantage of it,” said Smith. “Every game we’re gonna get better. You just got to learn to play with them bigs.”
Despite Indian Land’s height, it was their smallest player who made the difference. With the visiting Warriors trailing York (1-2) by eight with just under three minutes left in the game, Rogers rattled off nine straight points, including knocking a down a 3 while being fouled, to hoist his team back into the contest. Those kinds of plays left York’s first-year coach Dalton frustrated afterward.
“These football guys, and there is nine of them, have been out here for about a week and a half,” said Dalton, who came to York this season from Gaffney where he was an assistant coach. “It’s hard for them to take all that in and prepare for special situations. We had, I think, a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter and we just went brain-dead. You can’t do stuff like that and win close basketball games.”
York rode the high-scoring duo of Daurice Simpson and Deshaw Andrews. Simpson dropped in 22, while Andrews almost effortlessly scored 26, including four 3-pointers. Indian Land’s pair of diminutive backcourt sophomores, Rogers and 5-foot-6 Mark Morton, raced up and down the floor, putting pressure on York’s defense and nipping in for steals when ball-handlers weren’t looking. But the Cougars were able to take advantage at the offensive end, using their size advantage at the guard position to get Simpson going especially. He scored 11 in the fourth quarter to put York in the driver’s seat, leading 64-56 with just over 3 minutes remaining.
Then Rogers heated up. A little inspiration from his coach provided the spark.
“We’re gonna go out, we’re gonna go out with you,” Smith told his standout guard. “I’ll put the ball in his hands all the time.”
Rogers knocked in the 3, plus the foul, then dropped in another high arching triple to cut the Cougars’ lead to 68-65 with 2:09 left. York then fouled Rogers on another 3-point try and he hit two of the ensuing free throws to make it 69-67. Indian Land senior Derries Hampton then cruised coast-to-coast in a frantic final minute for a bucket that tied the game at 69 all, before Taylor deflected Simpson’s shot with 44 seconds left and the Warriors called time, hoping for a last shot. They should have gotten it, but lost the ball late. Andrews’ buzzer-beating 60-foot heave bounced off the back iron, and the game went to overtime.
Indian Land jumped into the lead immediately in the extra period, Taylor putting back a teammate’s miss for a 71-69 lead. Hampton, who finished with 14 for the Warriors, hit a pair of foul shots with 23 seconds left that proved the difference, after Simpson’s late 3 rimmed around and away.
“It’s all about experience,” said Smith. “We need games like this when we get farther in the playoffs.”
Indian Land 76, York 74
Indian Land: Darnell Rogers 26, Lee McCall 11, Mike Webb 2, Derries Hampton 14, Brandon Barnes 13, Brandon Sellers 2, Quantra Taylor 8. York: Markell Castle 5, Daurice Simpson 22, C.J. Shannon 2, Deshaw Andrews 26, Jerome Pettiway 2, Shamar Wade 11, Tawaun Neely 3, Clif Thompson 3.
Indian Land 46, York 34: Indian Land’s girls knocked off York , holding the Cougars to just 15 points in the second half en route to the win.
Mary McGunegle led Indian Land (2-1) with 13 points, and Jessica Reynolds added 11 for Natasha Farmer’s team. Carrie Lee Lancaster led York (0-5) with 16, but the All-Region 3-AAAA selection in 2012 was the only Cougar player in double figures.
Indian Land travels to Waxhaw, N.C., to face Cuthbertson on Friday, while York hits the road to face Chester.
Indian Land: Kate Komorous 4, Tianah Miller 2, Mary McGunegle 13, Jessica Reynolds 11, Mi’asia McCarter 2, Bailey Penegar 4, Monae Brown 8. York: Corri Peeler 2, Najha Feemster 3, Aubrey Ward 2, Makala Love 5, Heather Pumphey 2, Akeisha McClure 4, Carrie Lee Lancaster 16.
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T