Compiled by Sam Copeland
The Northwestern girls polished off an undefeated region record on Friday with a convincing 61-38 road victory over Rock Hill.
Ranked sixth in the state, the Trojans used a smothering defense to frustrate the Rock Hill ball-handlers into a series of turnovers.
Northwestern (19-2, 14-0) took a 17-8 first quarter lead, and methodically pulled away from that point. Enjoying a 34-20 advantage at the half, the Trojans put the contest out of reach by dominating the third quarter, 16-6.
“Our girls actually wrapped up the region three games ago,” Northwestern coach John Bramlett said. “They could have mailed it in and coasted the remainder of the season.
“But give them credit; they came out ready to play tonight. So to go undefeated in the region is a tribute to our girls for the hard work they have put into this.”
Rock Hill hung their heads in defeat, but will still advance to the post season with a likely third-seed, pending the South Pointe-Lancaster outcome.
Bearcats coach Keenan Orr said he is proud of the team’s playoff trip, their first in several seasons. However, he said that his girls failed to capitalize on easy shot attempts and free throws.
“I felt that we handled their press, but just failed to capitalize by missing transition layups. We also did not do a good job at the free-throw line,” where Rock Hill was only 12-of-31.
Northwestern will open the playoffs at home on Tuesday while Rock Hill will be on the road.
Northwestern 61, Rock Hill 38
Northwestern - Iesha Love 4, Aubrianna Thompson 7, Ashley Van Buren 2, Cayse Branyon 10, Natalie Henderson 6, Shay-Shay Alexander 8, London Minor 1, Paige Samuelson 6, Mariah McCoy 11, Courtney Cunningham-Heath 6.
Rock Hill - Money Mackey 1, Kia Wells 2, Heather Sutton 1, Zekiya Knox 5, Anita Jones 2, Asia Potts 12, Jericka English 2, Shaunte Young 2, Chelsea Dorsey 9, Whitney Simpson 2.
3-pointers - Northwestern 2 (Branyon, McCoy), Rock Hill 0. Team fouls - Northwestern 18, Rock Hill 19. Fouled out - Jones, Young (RH).
Records: Northwestern 19-2, 14-0 in Region 3-AAAA; Rock Hill 11-11, 8-6 in Region 3-AAAA.
Nation Ford 56, Fort Mill 36
With neither team playing for a playoff spot, all that was on the line was pride for both the Falcons and Jackets when the two took the court for the last game of their basketball season.
Nation Ford cruised to a win after the Jackets went two quarters without hitting a field goal.
The Falcons were led by juniors Taylor Yarborough and Briley Prince. Yarborough dropped 21, while Prince added 11. Nation Ford senior Tiaira Potts added nine points.
“I am really proud of our team effort,” said Nation Ford coach Mike Smith. “We had good offensive movement and really played like a team. I am proud of our lone senior Tiaira Potts and how she finished the year off.”
The Jackets were led by senior Lauren Wood who scored 13 points.
Fort Mill had two regular contributors out in Madison Hendrix and Ally Abbott, putting them down two key players.
Down 40-18 entering the fourth quarter, Fort Mill tried to fight their way back in it, but the gap was too much too close despite them scoring a game-high 18 points.
Nation Ford rallied late hitting back-to-back 3-pointers by Prince and Potts to put the Lady Falcons back on top.
Nation Ford 56, Fort Mill 36
Fort Mill - Lauren Wood 13, Arianna Grevious 7, Rae Lynch 5, Hannah-Kate Christopher 4, Payton Carter 3, Savannah Morgan 2, Sierra Patterson 2.
Nation Ford - Taylor Yarborough 21, Briley Prince 11, Tiaria Potts 9, Dani Shaddix 5, Jessie Raniszewski 4, Zippy Lincoln 4, Ann Newton 2.
3-pointers - Fort Mill 1 (Lynch), Nation Ford 5 (Prince 3, Potts 1, Yarborough 1). Team fouls - Fort Mill 12, Nation Ford 19. Fouled out - Taylor Yarborough (NF).
Records: Fort Mill 9-14, 3-11 in Region -AAAA; Nation Ford 11-12, 5-9 in Region 3-AAAA.