FORT MILL — The Rock Hill Bearcats cruised to an 80-62 Region III-AAAA win over Fort Mill with hardly any trouble.
Carrying a 52-39 lead into the final quarter, Rock Hill had no trouble finishing off Fort Mill in the final period, 28-23, despite the Jackets keeping pace with the Bearcats throughout the quarter.
The Bearcats were led by Warren Vinson, who scored 15 points. Jaleel Scott added 14 and Jaylen Reid added 12 for the Bearcats.
It was good for us after not playing well against Clover, said Bearcats coach Eric Rollings. The key for us was that it was a total team game. Our whole team contributed. It was a total team effort.
Rollings wasnt far off when he said his entire team contributed as all put three players for the Bearcats scored in the game.
After an offensively dominating first half that saw the Bearcats shoot 55 percent from the field, Rock Hill came out in the third quarter and again took off. Fort Mill tried to keep pace and matched them shot for shot to start, but the gap was too wide for them to really make up any ground.
We dug ourselves into a hole in the first half, said Fort Mill coach Dwayne Hartsoe. They are a talented team. They have size. I am proud of our effort. We battled until the end.
When Fort Mill got within a dozen, Rock Hills defense caused a turnover and it extended its lead.
Fort Mill played better in the third quarter than it did in the first half by getting shots inside the paint, however, the Bearcats were just too quick and athletic for the Jackets to keep up with.
Both teams equally struggled with turnovers, while Fort Mill outscored Rock Hill 17-15 in the third quarter and shot just under 50 percent. However, Rock Hill was better, shooting 58 percent from the field.
Rock Hills size aided it for the majority of the game as it started the second quarter on a 4-0 run to push its lead to 27-14.
The Bearcats used their height to get offensive rebounds and second chance opportunities, which they often converted.
Fort Mill didnt help its case with turnovers that gave Rock Hill extra opportunities. The Jackets started 1-for-5 from the field in the second quarter. And the Bearcats werent much better after coming out on fire in the first quarter. Rock Hill hit just 3-of-9 to start before Vinson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to again light the Bearcats fire.
That helped to push them to a 37-22 halftime lead despite letting Fort Mill finish the second quarter on a 5-0 run with the help of a Rylan Wells 3-pointer. Wells scored 18 in the game along with teammate Harrison Lancaster, who scored 20, paced the Jackets.
Each team started trading baskets to start the game as both tried to feel the other out from different parts of the court.
However, it wasnt long before Rock Hill started shooting and hitting from downtown as Fort Mill started struggling with its ball handling.
The Jackets converted field goals, but Rock Hill went long-distance to stay just a step ahead. The Bearcats hit five 3-pointers in the opening quarter and hit 9-of-13 shots.
Rock Hill 80, Fort Mill 62
Rock Hill Warren Vinson 15, Jaleel Scott 14, Jaylen Reid 12, Nate Motley 9, Deonte Fleming 7, Aries Wise 5, Malik Crawford 4, Roderick Howell 4, Jordan McCraw 4, Stephon Whitlock 4, Jamil Simpson 2. Fort Mill Harrison Lancaster 20, Rylan Wells 18, Matt Ferguson 14, John Paris 4, Devan Thacker 4, Mike Scurlock 2.
3-pointers: Rock Hill 8 (Vinson 3, Reid 2, Motley 1 McCraw 1, Scott 1), Fort Mill 5 (Wells 3, Lancaster 2). Team fouls: Rock Hill 17, Fort Mill 21. Fouled out: Devan Thacker (FM), Matt Ferguson (FM).
Records: Rock Hill 13-5, 7-1 Region III-AAAA; Fort Mill 8-10, 3-5 Region III-AAAA.