Let’s just call it even.
South Pointe bested Rock Hill 62-59 Friday night in a matchup of two of the state’s top-5 boys’ basketball teams. Zeek Rodney hit three crucial free throws in the last 31 seconds and Rock Hill missed an open look from three as the host Stallions held on in a cliffhanger to claim sole possession of first place in Region 3.
“It was a whole team effort,” said South Pointe coach Melvin Watson. “Our guys did a great job boxing out, rebounding as a unit. We’re a team, and that’s why I love our team, because we stick together.”
South Pointe (16-1, 10-1) had four scorers in double digits. Devin Pearson led the Stallions with 12, connecting on four 3-pointers, while Rodney added 11 and P.J. Heath and Marveon Mobley each added 10. Warren Vinson topped the Bearcats’ offensive effort with a game-high 16, and Jaylen Reid pitched in 14, including four 3-pointers.
Rock Hill (16-6, 9-2) coach Eric Rollings was philosophical after the narrow loss.
“It’s a split with them, and anytime you can split with a team like South Pointe, that’s pretty good,” he said afterward in a quiet back hall. “We lost by three here, and they lost by three at our place, so the way I look at it, it’s pretty even.”
In a tight game, a Rollings’ coaching move nearly helped decide the contest. He shifted his team into a 1-3-1 zone in the second half, which succeeded in throwing off the fast-breaking Stallions in the fourth quarter.
“We knew they hadn’t shot the ball well,” Rollings. “Tonight in the third quarter, they hit their shots to get back into it. The zone was good to us all night; they made shots when they needed to. Period.”
But after several fruitless possessions, Watson wrestled control of the situation, calling a timeout and organzing his charges.
The message was “don’t settle,” he said. “It kind of threw our guys off. They went to that to stop the penetration and we were settling from the perimeter.”
South Pointe returned to its penetrating ways, getting to the foul line four times in the last 2 minutes. Rodney epitomized the Stallions’ aggression on both ends in the deciding moments, no surprise to his coach.
“He’s done it all year,” Watson said, about Rodney. “It’s just the magnitude of the game was so big that everybody got a chance to see how important he is to our team.”
Rock Hill’s Warren Vinson was fouled on a 3-pointer with 1:17 left, but only made two of the freebies. South Pointe then held onto the ball for an extended possession as the Bearcats sat back in their zone, but Rodney finally drew a foul and went to the line for a 1-and-1. The junior football standout calmly made both.
The Stallions led 60-57 and pressured the Bearcats as they tried to cross halfcourt for a 3-point look. The ball was thrown away, right into Rodney’s waiting mitts and he was tripped up. He made 1 of 2, enough to put the home team up 61-57 with 21 seconds left. Even an ill-advised foul wasn’t enough to cost South Pointe as it moved into first place in Region 3.
“I just tried to be confident,” said Rodney about his late game foul line visits.
When asked if he was usually a good free-throw shooter, the junior just wiggled his hand a bit. “I think I am,” he said, smiling.
Rock Hill: Nate Motley 11, Warren Vinson 16, Jaylen Reid 14, Roderick Howell 6, Jaleel Scott 10, Deontae Fleming 2; South Pointe: Tay Blake 7, Justin Hart 2, P.J. Heath 10, Dylan Bruton 2, Devin Pearson 12, Tyreece Brice 2, Anthony Johnson 6, Marveon Mobley 10, Zeek Rodney 11.
3-point goals: Rock Hill 5 (Reid 4, Vinson); South Pointe 7 (Pearson 4, Mobley 2, Blake).
Team fouls: Rock Hill 22; South Pointe 17.
Foul shooting: Rock Hill 16-17; South Pointe 9-16.
Fouled out: South Pointe: Pearson; Rock Hill: Fleming.
Stallions outlast Bearcats in overtime
Lindsay Bradley hit two foul shots with 8 seconds remaining in overtime as South Pointe surprised Rock Hill 53-51 Friday night in girls basketball action. On Senior Night, Bradley drilled a 3 with 3 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, before winning the nip and tuck contest at the line.
“She was big on Senior Night,” said Lady Stallions coach Brett Childers, about Bradley, who finished with 12 points. “Great effort by all of them. We battled foul trouble too; I’m just really proud of them.”
Ashley Jaggers scored 14 to lead South Pointe, while Rock Hill’s Chelsey Dorsey led all scorers with 19 and Asia Potts added 15.
Rock Hill jumped out in front in every quarter and overtime was no exception. Potts’ free throws put the Bearcats up 47-43, but South Pointe soon tied it up on Bradley’s 3. Ashley Jagger’s triple then gave the Stallions a 51-49 lead with 1 minute, 32 seconds left in OT. Rock Hill tied the game, which saw a combined 44 fouls and 63 free throws.
At the foul line, Potts converted 1 of 2 with 33.8 seconds remaining, but the Bearcats fouled Bradley on an inbounds lob, and the senior swished both. Rock Hill’s desperation shot at the other end didn’t fall.
Rock Hill: Ze’Kiya Knox 2, Asia Potts 15, Shaunte Young 11, Chelsey Dorsey 19, Whitney Simpson 4; South Pointe: Breana Davis 4, Denisha Hall 3, Lindsay Bradley 12, Kyra Currence 11, Deiona Davis 6, Ashley Jaggers 14, Cameron Davis 3.
3-point goals: Rock Hill 3 (Dorsey 3); South Pointe 7 (Jaggers 2, Bradley 2, Hall, Currence, Deiona Davis).
Team fouls: Rock Hill 18; South Pointe 26.
Foul shooting: Rock Hill 26-39; South Pointe 16-24.
Fouled out: South Pointe- Cameron Davis, Breana Davis.
Records: Rock Hill 11-9, 8-4; South Pointe 9-9, 5-6