CLOVER — Let the upsets begin.
The Clover girls fell 35-32 to fifth-seeded Mauldin in the opening round of the Class 4A state playoffs as an off-night shooting did the No. 2 seed in.
Clover shot just 22 percent for the game and had five fourth quarter turnovers, and had to fight its way back into the game in the third quarter.
“When you play good teams you expect good defense,” said Clover coach Sherer Hopkins. “We didn’t finish the way we wanted too. I am very proud of our team. We really exceeded our expectations this season.”
The Blue Eagles finished the regular season 18-6 and were second in Region III, while Mauldin came into the game with a sub-.500 record at 11-12 and a fifth-place finish in Region II.
Mauldin trailed by one with just under a minute to go when Tayler Scott hit a put-back with about 30 seconds left to give the Mavericks a 33-32 lead. It was her only points in the game.
Clover tried to get the last shot, but turned the ball over with about six seconds left and was forced to foul Mauldin’s Caitland Considine who hit both free throws to ice the game. Considine led all scorers with 14 points.
The Blue Eagles started the second half allowing Mauldin to go on a small 5-0 run, not much, but enough to widen a one-point gap at the half.
From there the Mavericks tried to pull away, but Clover kept them at bay and caused them to turn the ball over six times in the third quarter.
Those turnovers helped Clover climb back in the game as it went on an 8-2 run after being down 23-19 to end the third quarter.
The Blue Eagles shot 25 percent in the third quarter and were led by Elizabeth Edmunds, who scored four of her 12 points in the quarter.
Clover’s defense looked as if it was going to dominate the game in the first quarter as they forced Mauldin into three straight turnovers to open the game.
However, the Mavericks settled down and chose their shots wisely, while Clover threw up 16 shots, compared to just six from Mauldin in the opening quarter.
Clover held a small 8-6 lead after the first quarter, but the Mavericks were able to start to get open looks by crashing the glass and using backdoor cuts to get to the basket.
That seemed to catch Clover off guard, as the Blue Eagles struggled with their shots still.
Edmunds did all the scoring in the second quarter, dropping in seven points, while she went 3-for-4 in the quarter, the rest of the Blue Eagles went 0-for-7.
Clover had five turnovers in the second quarter and struggled with its ball handling, allowing Mauldin to grab the lead and stay one step ahead of the Lady Blue Eagles for the majority of the game from that point.
Mauldin 35, Clover 32
Mauldin – Caitland Considine 14, Kentra Washington 8, Dah’Vielle Lucas 6, Kilian Meilinger 3, Walisha Brown 2, Tayler Scott 2. Clover – Elizabeth Edmunds 12, Ryehia Robbins 8, Lauren Richardson 4, Aaliyah Knox 3, Alexis Brice 2, Maggie Ballard 2, Sydney Sanders 1.
3-pointers – Mauldin 1 (Meilinger), Clover 2 (Robbins). Team fouls – Mauldin 14, Clover 8.
Records: Mauldin 12-12; Clover 18-7.