The York Comprehensive High School boys’ basketball team lost 72-46 against Clover Friday.
After falling behind 8-1 in the first quarter, the Cougars crept back, with Daurice Simpson, Deshaw Andrews and Taywuan Neely scoring key baskets. Neely’s drive to the basket late in the first quarter closed the gap to 13-11.
After the Blue Eagles built the lead to 17-11, Wally Wilmore scored and Andrews followed with a three-pointer, slicing Clover’s lead to 17-16 as the quarter ended.
The second quarter was closely-contested, with Neely, Simpson, and Andrews scoring.
The first half ended with an Andrews slam and Clover clinging to a 26-24 lead.
But the home-standing Cougars were unable to survive the Blue Eagles’ third-quarter explosion that sealed the win.
“We didn’t run our offense and weren’t as sharp on the defensive end,” said head coach Michael Dalton.
“They came in here 5-1 in the region,” Dalton said of the Clover team. “Bailey Jackson does a good job.”
However, Dalton said he is confident the Cougars can get back on track. “We’re gonna regroup,” he said. “We’ll be ready for them Feb. 13.”
He added: “I’m not down on the kids. We’ve still got tremendous upside with region games to play.”
It was a different story when York defeated Gaffney 70-50 earlier in the week.
Simpson had three baskets in the first quarter, including a three-pointer, as the Cougars led 15-12 entering the second quarter.
Wilmore paced the scoring in the second quarter as the first half ended with York ahead 32-25.
After the teams traded baskets to open the third quarter, Wilmore nailed a three-pointer, expanding York’s lead to 37-27.
After Gaffney closed the gap, the Cougars responded back-to-back baskets by Wilmore and Simpson pushed the lead to 52-39 in the fourth quarter.
Wilmore continued his offensive production, with help from teammates Simpson, Bryson Stephenson and Ebasion Moore as the Cougars stretched the lead to 61-43 and coasted to the win.
“This group played team basketball,” Dalton said. “It was a nice victory over a good Gaffney club.”
He added: “I can’t say enough about our kids. They are a resilient group that turned the corner tonight. I’m proud of them. The players accepted their roles.”
Concluded Dalton in his postgame assessment, “The kids took care of the ball when we executed our delay game to take time off the clock.”
The Cougars return to action at 8 p.m. Friday at Northwestern for a Region III-AAAA game, after the girls’ varsity game at 6:30 p.m. The girls’ junior varsity game begins at 5 p.m.