Despite uncharacteristically sloppy shooting, York topped a depleted Indian Land squad 48-38 to advance in the Exxon on the Run Christmas tournament.
Numerous open looks at the basket didn't prevent the Cougars from having a paltry first half. They managed just 17 points in the first two periods, leaving coach Paula Blackwell shaking her head in disbelief as time expired.
Indian Land guard Mariah Williams dominated both sides of the ball, scoring nine first-half points as well as frequently intercepting passes from an out of sync York offense. The undersized Warriors were also surprisingly stout on the offensive boards, with center Jessica Floyd drawing several fouls in the paint with aggressive post play. Even with Indian Land's solid performance, it finished the half up just three points.
Indian Land also entered the tournament severely undermanned, which became apparent in the second half.
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Leading scorer Hannah Harris didn't make the trip due to a severely sprained ankle, and two other Warriors couldn't participate in the tournament due to holiday obligations.
A noticeably winded Williams went cold in the second half, and excessive fouling finally caught up to the Warriors, with Khadijiah Sistare being ejected with 1:24 left in the 3rd quarter. Sistare's ejection prompted coach Tamara Jacobus to take a timeout, causing a tense moment on the court as she argued with the referees.
But it was all for naught, as York finally caught fire and quickly distanced themselves from the Warriors. York guard Ashanti Wilson scored all 8 of her points in the second half after a shaky start to the game, while forward Brittney Merriweather sunk a late 3-pointer, York's only one of the game, to put the game out of reach.
With teams participating from around the Carolinas and even Australia, the York Cougars might have rediscovered their shooting touch at just the right time.
INDIAN LAND 38
Indian Land: Mariah Williams 13, Jessica Floyd 13, Brittany Montgomery 7, Kelsey Young 5
York: Brittany Merriweather 13, Ashanti Wilson 8, Hikeya Davis 7, Aria Crawford 6, Carrie Lee Lancaster 6, Brittany Cannon 4, Devin Puckett 2, Lilasha Dervin 2
3-pointers: Indian Land 1 (Williams); York 1 (Merriweather). Total Fouls: Indian Land 13; York 27. Ejections: Sistare (IL), Young (IL)
IRMO 75, SENECA 41
Seneca: Summer Jones 13 ,Garyt Hamilton 8, Whitley Holiday 6, Zana Earle 5, Najayla Holland 4, Ciara Boggs 3, Porsha Sitton 2
Irmo: Bria Harper 27, Jemekia Wilson 16, Keyasia Jackson 9, Mya Rice 6, Zhana Goeder 5, Jessica Gathers 2, Allison McCirts 1
3-pointers: Seneca 2 (Hamilton, Earle); Irmo 4 (Harper 3, Goeder 1). Total Fouls: Seneca 20; Irmo 18.