Nation Ford gave York all it could handle, but couldn't come up with its first region win, falling 65-61 Tuesday.
Neither team quite got into the flow of the game, as the referees whistled a combined 51 fouls.
York coach Kendall McCarter rewarded guard Bryce Dudley with his first start of the season, but just a minute and a half into the game, Dudley was sitting back next to McCarter after picking up three quick fouls.
Neither team led by more than three points in the first half, as both teams had trouble grasping the momentum.
Nation Ford (2-10, 0-5 Region 3-AAAA) played York toe-to-toe through the first 20 minutes of the game, when McCarter inserted defensive specialist Quention Wright to add a spark.
Trailing 36-34 with just over four minutes remaining in the third period, Wright created havoc for Falcons point guard Sam Hirsch. Wright had three consecutive steals and York (9-5, 3-2) benefited from another turnover forced from offensive specialist O.B. Love.
Love and Wright sparked a 10-0 run.
The Falcons made a couple of quick runs to make the game interesting through the final 60 seconds.
T.J. Everett scored back-to-back buckets off offensive rebounds, the last of which cut the York lead to two with two minutes remaining.
From then on, it was a free throw contest, York hitting six free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
Everett paced the Falcons with 22 points, eight from second-chance efforts, and also added 11 rebounds.
Again, it was Love who carried the Cougars. He completed the contest with 35 points and 10 rebounds. Love had 11 points in the final quarter to keep the Falcons at bay.
Although close, Nation Ford will have to wait at least one more game before picking up its first region win.
"This was a hard-fought victory and Nation Ford is a scrappy ball club," said McCarter. "We made some adjustments at the half and played under control better to adjust to the way the game was being called. I was glad to get out of here with a win."
• FORT MILL 68, LANCASTER 45 -- At Lancaster, top-ranked Fort Mill used a patented inside-outside combination to methodically put away Lancaster.
The first half saw the Yellow Jackets use torrid perimeter shooting, Torrell Priest and Garrett Copeland sinking five 3-pointers, boosting Fort Mill to an 18-point lead.
The Yellow Jackets' strategy then shifted to the interior in the second half with 6-foot-8 center Chalmers Rogers dominating with 18 of his game-high 21 points.
"They worked the ball inside to me and Cam (Smith)," Rogers said. "We usually have a size advantage, and when the shot is not there on the inside, we just kick it back outside to our guards."
But instead on passing back to the perimeter, Rogers dominated with nine points each in the third and fourth quarter, including a three-point play while being fouled during a breakaway dunk in the midst of a 14-2 spurt. That put the Yellow Jackets in control, 43-22, with 3:21 remaining in the third.
Following four straight Bruin points, Fort Mill ended the quarter with nine unanswered points, including a long-range 3-pointer from Copeland as time expired. That gave Fort Mill a 26-point cushion, more than enough down the stretch.
Fort Mill coach Bailey Jackson also pointed to air-tight defense, which limited Lancaster to only 12 first-half points.
"We knew coming in that they were a very good offensive team, especially off the dribble and that they love to shoot the three," Jackson said. "We played good defensively, but also did a good job of running our offensive sets."
In addition to Rogers, Priest and Copeland netted 17 and 16, respectively, for Fort Mill, who remains unbeaten at 15-0 and 5-0 in Region 3-AAAA.
Lancaster (6-5, 1-4) was led by Avery Harris and Gerard Brace with 14 and 10, respectively.
• JV, middle school scores • 5C