The first-place Rock Hill Bearcats lost their first game in Region 3-AAAA this season as sophomore Bryce Allen torched the nets for 20 points and led the Clover Blue Eagles to a 59-56 win Monday night at Clover.
The Bearcats stormed out of the locker room on a 10-2 run to take their first lead 29-27 at the 6:10 mark of the third period after consecutive three-pointers from Warren Vinson and Jaylen Reid. Vinson led the Bearcats with 14. Allen, who had the Clover bucket to open the half, ended the run with a three-pointer and followed that with another basket to put the home team back out in front.
When Rock Hill scored their next points, there was under one minute left in the period and Allen had stroked two more from deep as part of a 17-2 Blue Eagle scoring spree. The sophomore's second of back-to-back threes put Clover up 44-31 and forced the Bearcats to call timeout as the home crowd voiced their approval for Allen and company. Senior Taylor Hoover also had six of his 11 points in the run.
“We knew they were going to go on a run at some point and our kids answered,” Clover Head Coach Bailey Jackson said. “Nobody had beaten them to this point and they're a top-ten team in the state. This is a big win for our program right now.”
The region leaders were not done as they opened the final quarter with an 8-0 burst punctuated by a Jamil Simpson three. Allen stemmed the tide again with a bucket and Clover was able to hold them off down the stretch. Rock Hill did steal a long end-bounds pass with 4.5 ticks remaining and trailing by three, but Malik Crawford's running three at the buzzer was off-line and the home team celebrated.
“In my mind we didn't come ready to play,” Rock Hill Coach Eric Rollings said. “But we've got a long way to go and we are still in good shape.”
Clover ended the first half with a 6-0 run after Rock Hill finally pulled even at 19. Sophomore Arnaldo Toro had four of the six. The Blue Eagles scored nine of the game's first ten points, with Toro also contributing four of those. Toro finished with 12 points.
CLOVER 59, ROCK HILL 56
Clover - Taylor Hoover 11, Bryce Allen 20, R. J. Moore 6, Alex Thompson 6, Arnaldo Toro 12, Jevon Blake 2, Ladarius Adams 2.
Rock Hill - Warren Vinson 14, Jaylen Reid 9, Nate Motley 7, Jamil Simpson 8, Roderick Howell 2, Malik Crawford 4, Jaleel Scott 4, Stephon Whitlock 2.
3-pointers - Clover 4 (Allen 3, Hoover 1), Rock Hill 5 (Vinson 2, Simpson 2, Reid 1). Team fouls - Clover 15, Rock Hill 14. Fouled out - None.
Records: Clover 8-7, 2-5 in Region 3-AAAA; Rock Hill 12-5, 6-1 in Region 3-AAAA.