Nate Motley shrugged off a sore ankle and cramps to help Rock Hill to a 52-48 win over Northwestern on Friday night. Motley hit five 3-pointers and scored 22 points as the Bearcats held off the Trojans unrelenting comeback attempts, and showed yet again that they can win even on nights when they dont play their best.
They do a great job defensively and they make you earn your points, said Rock Hill coach Eric Rollings about Northwestern. We knew that coming into it.
Rock Hill didnt suffer a letdown against its original rival, especially important following big region wins over South Pointe and York. Motley missed the game against York, but the Bearcats didnt miss a beat with Malik Crawford stepping in at the point and playing well in that win.
It felt great, Motley said. I was eager to get back; cant let a little ankle injury hold me back. Things you got to do to help out the team.
After Friday nights win over Northwestern, Motley told his team he wanted to step up for them after they had his back against York.
Our team is more than Nate, said Rollings. It takes a team to win a championship and they know that.
The visitors jumped all over the Trojans from the start. A turnover led to a two-on-one break and Motley shoveled a pass to Warren Vinson on the wing for a transition 3-pointer, an 8-0 lead, and a Northwestern timeout with 4 minutes, 49 seconds left in the first quarter. Motley then dropped in a three from the opposing left corner for an 11-4 advantage, and followed with another from a nearly identical spot for a 14-6 cushion. Another Northwestern turnover led to another Rock Hill three, this time Jaylen Reid rattling one in from the left side to put the visitors up 17-6.
Northwestern chipped away at that lead, eventually tying the game with a scoring burst. Rontavious McClure scored three the old fashioned way with a put-back plus the foul, before 6-foot-5 sophomore Manzi Hill repeated the trick, and then hit a pair of free-throw shots to make it 23-19. Mustafia Love rocked an excited gym when he accelerated past his defender for a two-handed stuff, before LaThomas Longs bucket tied the game at 23 and forced a 30-second Rock Hill timeout with 1 minute, 55 seconds left in the first half. The teams went into halftime break tied at 27.
A fans removal held up the game and proved the most interesting aspect of a bogged-down third quarter.
Rock Hill surged ahead by eight by limiting the hosts to just two points in the eight-minute period. Vinson buried a three from way out before a lengthy delay after one of the referees requested the fan leave the gym. He wouldnt leave until law enforcement arrived, assuring him he would get his $10 back.
After the stoppage, Deante Fleming scored in the paint and Motley finished a run-out to put the Bearcats up 37-29 heading into the fourth. The decisive period turned out to be a seesaw affair with Rock Hill building a six-point lead before Northwestern drew within three points (49-46) on Longs three-pointer. Jamil Simpson then hit 1 of 2 free throws for Rock Hill before Mason Rudolph scored quickly at the other end for the Trojans to make it 50-48 with 20.8 seconds left.
Motley was then fouled and put the hosts away, knocking in both free throws to clinch the Bearcats sixth straight Region 3 win.
Rock Hill 52, Northwestern 48
Rock Hill: Nate Motley 22, Warren Vinson 9, Jaylen Reid 9, Roderick Howell 2, Jaleel Scott 1, Deontae Fleming 2, Jamil Simpson 7; Northwestern: Rontavious McClure 8, Mason Rudoolph 10, LaThomas Long 13, Mustafia Love 4, Clenzo Ross 4, Manzi Hill 9.
3-point goals: Rock Hill 8 (Motley 5, Vinson 2, Reid); Northwestern 1 (Long).
Team fouls: Rock Hill 14; Northwestern 18.
Foul shots: Rock Hill 14-22; Northwestern 9-18.
Fouled out: Northwestern- McClure.
Records: Rock Hill 12-4, 6-0; Northwestern 7-9, 3-3