The Nation Ford Falcons boys’ basketball team opened the season by winning two of three games at the Clover Optimist tournament to finish third.
Nation Ford beat Lancaster 57-50 in the final game of the tournament to decide the third- and fourth-place finishers. The Falcons opened the tournament with a strong 93-44 win against Westminster Catawba but fell to Dutch Fork 56-42 to move into the consolation game.
Head coach Michael Tew said the Falcons did well in the tournament and that he looks to kick off the regular season this week playing just as strong.
“We did what we wanted to accomplish,” Tew said. “This was big for us.”
Nation Ford was led by Cameron Holmes’ 12 points in the win against Lancaster. Holmes hit four 3-pointers in the game, half the team’s total 3-point shots.
The Falcons held a slim 12-9 lead after the first quarter but used a 7-2 run in the second quarter to help distance themselves from the Bruins. Holmes scored six of his 12 points in the second quarter while Elijah Jennings scored four of his six points for Nation Ford.
Lancaster tied the game at 12, but a Holmes 3-pointer quickly moved the momentum back into Nation Ford’s hands as the team got hot from long range.
Starting the second half with a seven-point lead, Nation Ford struggled as Lancaster closed the gap with second-chance points and by out-rebounding the Falcons.
Nation Ford had two key baskets by Terry Galloway and Will Lawhon to help widen the gap for the Falcons, but the Bruins didn’t let the game get away, starting the fourth quarter with a 5-0 run. Nation Ford kept its lead with a strong inside presence from Hank Tuipulotu, who scored all eight of his points in the final quarter, including a key 3-pointer with about 2:45 left.
Things didn’t go as smoothly for Nation Ford against Dutch Fork, as the Silver Foxes opened the second half with a 5-0 run to extend a slim two-point lead.
Nation Ford struggled to rebound, and Dutch Fork used the 5-0 start as a springboard, turning it into a 13-2 run.
The Falcons stayed within a dozen points for most of the quarter, but Dutch Fork was too quick in transition, outscoring Nation Ford 20-9 in the quarter.
Nation Ford opened the fourth quarter by cutting into Dutch Fork’s lead but not enough to move things in their favor.
The Falcons were led by Ian Corley with eight points. Galloway, Hank and Ben Tuipulotu all had seven in the game.
Nation Ford travels to Marvin Ridge on Dec. 5, then hosts Marvin Ridge on Dec. 12.