Yellow Jackets rebound against Strom Thurmond in C. Dan Joyner Classic

mbanks@comporium.netDecember 31, 2013 

Fort Mill’s Matt Tillery goes to the basket against JL Mann during the C. Dan Joyner Poinsettia Classic tournament in Greenville.

MAC BANKS

— It wasn’t the most impressive win, but Fort Mill held off a rallying Strom Thurmond team for a seventh place finish at the C. Dan Joyner Poinsettia Classic.

The Jackets won 62-57 in overtime on the final day of the three-day tournament. Fort Mill sits at 7-5 on the season heading back into Region III-AAAA play for the remainder of its schedule.

With a 10-point lead entering the fourth quarter, Fort Mill hit just one of 11 shots from the field as Strom Thurmond went 7-for-10 from the field in the quarter, including hitting all five of its free throws to tie the game at 53 at the end of regulation.

Fort Mill outscored the Rebels 9-4 in the extra period as senior Devan Thacker was key down the stretch for the Jackets in his 13-point effort despite playing hurt. Thacker injured his left shoulder going for the ball to open the fourth quarter. Despite a history of dislocating his shoulder, he was able to re-enter the game after a rest.

By then, the momentum had swung heavily in Strom Thurmond’s favor as it sent the game to overtime. Thacker, who was named to the All-Tournament team, went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the overtime period and came up with a key rebound to secure the win for the Jackets.

“He is our leader,” said Fort Mill head coach Dwayne Hartsoe. “I am glad he battled through it. He sucked it up and played tough.”

Once Thacker went down with the bum shoulder, Strom Thurmond started the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run to cut Fort Mill’s lead to four at 44-40. On the offensive side of the ball, the Jackets missed the first six shots of the quarter. However the Jackets stayed in it when the team went 7-for-11 from the charity strip in the final period.

Strom Thurmond finally tied the game up at 53 with 27 seconds left in the fourth sending the game into overtime.

With Thacker back in the game in overtime, Fort Mill hit two of its four field goal attempts and going 5-for-6 from the foul line. Strom Thurmond hit just one field goal in overtime on five attempts.

Fort Mill lost its first two games of the tournament, falling to Eastside 48-44 in the opener and then JL Mann 48-39 in the second game.

“We still have a lot of things to work on,” Hartsoe said.

Fort Mill was able to limit its turnovers against Strom Thurmond, overcoming a problem from earlier games in the tournament.

The Jackets took time establishing an offense against the Rebels, something the team struggled with against JL Mann.

Against JL Mann, Fort Mill hit just five of 24 first half shots from the field and despite playing better in the second half, struggled to secure rebounds and stop the Patriots, who outscored the Jackets 19-11 in the third quarter.

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