When he was finally allowed to leave his seat, Rock Hill boys basketball coach Eric Rollings just shook his head. The Bearcats coach was confined to the bench by the referees from the third quarter on of Rock Hills 75-63 win against Nation Ford on Tuesday night, and threatened with a technical if he got up.
The Bearcats (6-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 3) didnt befriend the refs in Fort Mill, but they also never trailed in a Region 3 win over a tough-nosed Falcons (4-4, 2-2) squad.
Weve had some wins where we can get out and run and do some things that were good at, said Rollings, and Nation Ford made us grind it out. Thats a testament to how coach (Brian) Turner coaches.
Nate Motley led Rock Hill with 21 points, while Jaylen Reid added 18 and Warren Vinson 17. Nation Fords Riley Hilton scored 18 points, personally knocking down 16-of-21 free throws, while Rock Hill as a team only shot 22 foul shots, one of the primary sources of Rollings ire. Credit to the Bearcats though, they mostly kept their heads in a contentious environment.
It was very difficult, but at the same time I think it was a very good test for my team, said Motley. I think we needed this. I think we got better tonight. It gave us a chance to see how we would play facing adversity.
Rock Hill entered the game ranked seventh in the latest South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association state poll and with a four-game winning streak in tow. Befitting of a team in fully confident stride, they burst out to an 8-2 lead, Motley drilling a three off the dribble to spark the visitors early, and Vinson scoring eight in the first eight minutes.
Motley, the senior transfer from Virginia, later made it 29-18 when he spun away from a defender and buried a deep two.
Nation Ford out-scored the Bearcats 12-4 the rest of the half though, Hank Tuipulotu and Josh Sergent canning triples to hack into the Rock Hill lead.
The Bearcats led 33-30 at the break and started the second half as quickly as the first.
Roderick Howell slammed home a Vinson pass in transition, before the big man got out front again and stuffed a Motley dish for a 44-34 lead.
But the pesky hosts wouldnt cave and they used a 12-4 run to get within four heading into the fourth quarter. Sergents layup with four seconds left in the third made it 50-46 Rock Hill.
Rollings team got off to another fast start in the fourth quarter. Reid knifed into the lane and found Motley open for a three, before Motley leaked out on a Vinson steal for an easy deuce and a 63-53 lead with five minutes left.
Nation Ford would cut the lead to six points with 52 seconds left, but the Bearcats hit 7-of-8 freebies in the remaining time to win their third Region 3 game in as many opportunities.
Thats huge and something we talked about we need to be going into Christmas, said Rollings. And weve got to win tough games like this on the road.
Both schools are involved in tournaments this weekend. Rock Hill hosts the Y.C. Winborn tournament that begins Thursday, while Nation Ford girls and boys travel to Myrtle Beach for the Shootout By The Sea.
Rock Hill 75, Nation Ford 63
|Rock Hill 19||14||17||25||-||75|
|Nation Ford 12||18||16||17||-||63|
Rock Hill: Nate Motley 21, Jaylen Reid 18, Warren Vinson 17, Roderick Howell 6, Jaleel Scott 8, Deante Fleming 1, Jamil Simpson 4; Nation Ford: Brandon Cureton 5, Nick Turner 4, Carson Smith 9, Riley Hilton 18, Justin Sergent 18, Jordan Causey 3, Hank Tuipulotu 3, Dasean McCain 3.
3-point goals: Rock Hill 7 (Vinson 3, Motley 2, Simpson, Scott); Nation Ford 4 (Cureton, Causey, Tuipulotu, Sergent).
Team fouls: Rock Hill 23; Nation Ford 22.
Free throws: Rock Hill 17-22; Nation Ford 26-32.
Fouled out: Rock Hill- none; Nation Ford- Cureton.