CLOVER — In what Clover boys basketball coach Bailey Jackson described as “ugly” basketball, the Blue Eagles outlasted Nation Ford 42-38 to pick up their first Region III-AAAA win of the season.
Clover got free throws by Bryce Allen and RJ Moore down the stretch to get the win.
“Our nonregion schedule prepared us to play,” Jackson said. “Tonight it helped.”
The Blue Eagles struggled in the third quarter after leading 22-17 at the half. In the third quarter, Clover hit just one shot in a dozen attempts, and Nation Ford came back to take a 28-25 lead.
To start the fourth quarter, Clover’s Alex Thompson tied the game with a 3-pointer, one of five the Blue Eagles hit in the game.
From there Nation Ford started to pull away by getting points in transition from players like Mike Campbell and Dalton Rose.
However, it was two big shots that put Clover right back into the game as John Wilson hit back-to-back 3-pointrs to tie the game at 34-34.
“We have been waiting on him to step up,” Jackson said. “He is a great guy and I wanted to play him. He got some more minutes tonight.”
Clover’s defense in the first half was also key down the stretch, as Nation Ford struggled with a dozen first half turnovers. The Falcons had 19 in the game and controlled the ball better in the second half.
“The things that happen in the last 30 seconds of the game, are no more important than that of the first minute of the game,” said Nation Ford coach Michael Tew. “We had ample opportunities to win the game, we just couldn’t get it done.”
Nation Ford opened the game trapping the ball at half court defensively and went to the hole offensively early.
Clover made an early run to tie the game at 11-11 and was better on the boards in the opening quarter, getting several second chance opportunities.
The Blue Eagles went up 14-11 to start the second quarter with a 3-pointer from Ratwan Pitts. Nation Ford came back to take a slim 15-14 lead, before Clover went on a 6-0 run making Tew call a timeout.
Falcons’ scoring leader Riley Hilton got into foul trouble early with three against him in the first half and saw time on the bench forcing Nation Ford to save him for the second half. Hilton led Nation Ford with 12 points.
Despite the Clover run to end the first half, Nation Ford still had a shot at the win starting in the second half and took that shot as the started the second half on a 5-0 run.
Clover started the third quarter going 0-6 from the field, but the team’s play by post player Austin Stone kept the Blue Eagles in the game, as he scored all three points for Clover in the quarter.
Clover 42, Nation Ford 38
NATION FORD Riley Hilton 12, Mike Campbell 8, Desean McCain 8, Cameron Holmes 6, Dalton Rose 4. CLOVER Alex Thompson 9, RJ Moore 8, John Wilson 6, Bryce Allen 5, Austin Stone 5, Aaron Milner 4, Ratwan Pitts 3, Ladarius Adams 2.
3-POINTERS Nation Ford 3 (Holmes 2, Campbell), Clover 5 (Wilson 2, Pitts, Allen, Thompson). FOULS Nation Ford 14, Clover 11. FOULED OUT Riley Hilton (NF).
RECORDS Nation Ford 7-6, 1-1 Region III-AAAA; Clover 8-5, 1-1 Region III-AAAA.
Clover 47, Nation Ford 43: The Blue Eagles beat the Falcons as Sydney Sanders took over late, scoring the last seven points.
Sanders tied the game at 43-43 with a minute left in the fourth quarter, and then hit another shot and two key free throws down the stretch to give Clover its first Region III-AAAA win.
For Nation Ford, struggles at the foul line possibly cost the Falcons the game against Clover as they went scoreless from the charity stripe going 0-8 for the game.
Ford shot 50 percent in the third quarter after trailing 25-21 at the half to rally and pull within one at 33-32. However, Clover responded with a 5-0 run of its own to keep momentum swinging their way.
Ford was able to take a 38-37 lead to start the fourth quarter as both squads struggle in shooting from the field. Clover started 0-10 from the field before Sanders took matters into her own hands.
The Blue Eagles were not only led by Sanders, who scored 12, but also Telliya Patton, who led with 13 points and dominated on the glass all game, and Elizabeth Edwards, who also scored 12 points.
Patton was able to control the game in the first half by outrebounding Nation Ford single handily and getting second chance points as she scored 11 points in the first half.
Nation Ford was led by Taylor Yarborough who scored 14 points in the game, but fouled out in the fourth quarter, hurting the Falcons chances of coming back.
Clover 47, Nation Ford 43
NATION FORD Taylor Yarborough 14, Courtney Wells 6, Zippy Lincoln 6, Dani Shaddix 6, Brooklyn Bailey 4, Sydney Adams 4, Jessie Raniszewski 3. CLOVER Telliya Patton 13, Sydney Sanders 12, Elizabeth Edmunds 12, Shay Hall 6, Lily Wallace 4.
3-POINTERS Nation Ford 5 (Yarborough 4, Raniszewski), Clover 3 (Sanders 2, Edmunds). FOULS Nation Ford 11, Clover 8. FOULED OUT Taylor Yarborough (NF).
RECORDS Nation Ford 6-6, 1-1 Region III-AAAA; Clover 9-3, 1-1 Region III-AAAA.