Despite already clinching the Region 4-AAA title, Nation Ford still had a lot to prove in trying to avenge its only region loss of the year to rival Fort Mill on Friday night.
A 72-31 win over the Yellow Jackets did just that.
"We played well tonight," said Nation Ford coach Frank Snider. "We shot the ball well. We passed the ball well. We did a lot of things right. I think it was the best all-around basketball game we have played all year."
Even with the loss, Fort Mill clinched second place in the region and will host a playoff game Monday. It's the first Jackets home playoff game since the split between the two schools.
The Jackets opened the third quarter on a 9-4 run to cut Nation Ford's 24-point halftime lead. Still Nation Ford kept a 20-point lead 42-22 halfway through the period.
Fort Mill cut down on turnovers and played better, but still struggled to make up the difference. The Falcons opened the second on a 7-1 run and outscored Fort Mill 24-7 in the quarter. Constant pressure by Nation Ford led to Fort Mill struggling with its ball handling.
Senior Ellen Bright took over the quarter for Nation Ford, scoring nine points as the Jackets continued to slip farther and farther behind, trailing 28-8 at one point.
No one for Fort Mill scored in the quarter besides junior Lauren Wood until sophomore Arianna Grevious hit two free-throws in the quarter with 3:30 left. Wood scored eight of Fort Mill's 12 first half points.
Fort Mill hit just one field goal in the quarter, shooting 1 of 7 from the field and trailed at the half 36-12. The Jackets had 11 first-half turnovers, compared to Nation Ford's five in the first half.
Nation Ford came out trapping with a full-court press, forcing three quick Fort Mill turnovers. Fort Mill went down quickly 5-0 and Benyak wasted no time in calling a timeout to regroup her girls.
The Jackets didn't score until 2:15 in the opening period on a Wood free throw. Wood was the only offense for Fort Mill in the first quarter, scoring all five of its points.
Fort Mill - Lauren Wood 14, Arianna Grevious 4, Ally Abbott 4, Rae Lynch 3, Hanna Lyons 2, Grace Burden 2, Carley Ross 2.
Nation Ford - Ellen Bright 15, Taylor Yarborough 13, Zharne Glover 12, Kai McCorvey 11, Katie Bright 8, Paris Bankole 4, Jessica Walters 4, Chelsea Gant 3, Alexis Brice 2.
3-pointers - Fort Mill 1 (Rae Lynch 1), Nation Ford 4 (Zharne Glover 2, Taylor Yarborough 1, Katie Bright 1).
Team fouls - Fort Mill 11, Nation Ford 18. Fouled out - None.
Records: Fort Mill 11-12, 6-4 in Region 4-AAA; Nation Ford 15-8, 9-1 in Region 4-AAA.
York 38, South Pointe 28: The Cougars made their way into the Region 4-AAA playoffs with a 10-point win over South Pointe. York will travel to Clinton on Monday in the opening round of playoff action.
The game started with South Pointe shooting free throws. The Cougars were issued an administrative technical foul for not having the scorebook filled out and at the scorer's table at 10 minutes prior to the game beginning. Junior forward Ashley Jaggers made both shots.
The Cougars rebounded and led 13-6 after one period. From the 4:45 mark of the second quarter when York pulled ahead 15-6 to the exact same point of the third the Cougars did not score. The Stallions outscored York 9-2 in the second and started the second half with back-to-back steals and lay-ups by Breanna Davis to go up 19-15 and force a Cougar timeout.
When junior Lilasha Dervin did score for York there was also a foul away from the ball on South Pointe's Lindsey Bradley. Carrie Lee Lancaster followed with a bucket inside and the four-point possession tied the game at 19. York gradually increased their lead to 27-20 after three quarters.
KeLondra Lytle had six points in the period for the Cougars. Senior Ashanti Wilson hit a three and a free throw at 6:33 of the final frame to put York up 31-22. South Pointe did not help itself by missing two front end of one-and-ones in the fourth quarter.
South Pointe - Ashley Jaggers 10, Breanna Davis 4, Deionna Davis 4, Sierra Gilmore 4, Taylor Madsen 3, Londan Minor 2, Lindsey Bradley 1.
York - KeLondra Lytle 11, Ashanti Wilson 10, Carrie Lee Lancaster 8, Lilasha Dervin 6, Brittany Cannon 2, Nora Childers 2.
3-pointers: South Pointe 1(Madsen 1), York 2( Wilson 2).
Team fouls - South Pointe 17, York 15. Fouled out - none. Technicals - York (team).
Records: South Pointe 6-17, 2-8 in Region 4-AAA; York 7-16, 4-6 in Region 4-AAA.