York Comprehensive High School head basketball coach Michael Dalton wouldn’t give up on the Cougars when the team was 2-5 in Region III with seven games left.
The rejuvenated Cougars have since reeled off four consecutive wins, ending with Friday’s 66-46 conquest of the visiting Rock Hill Bearcats.
“With seven games left, we took the approach that it was a seven-game season,” Dalton said after the Rock Hill game. “It’s not how you start the season, but how you finish. The kids are putting team goals first, not individual goals.”
The Cougars were dominant in the first half, building a 26-8 lead against the Bearcats. The assault continued in the third quarter, with 6-foot, 4-inch, 250-pound Deshaw Andrews lighting it up from the field.
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Andrews got help from teammates Taywaun Neely and Daurice Simpson.
Andrews continued his offensive explosion in the fourth quarter with help from Ebasion Moore and Simpson.
With a nonregion game at Spartanburg Christian Academy Tuesday, Dalton is shifting his focus to rival Clover Friday.
“There’s only one scenario where we wouldn’t make the playoffs,” Dalton said. He said the team and coaches aren’t satisfied with a 6-5 region record.
“Clover came over here and drubbed us pretty good in an earlier game,” he said. “We split with everybody else in the region this season.”
Dalton said the Blue Eagles are in a position where they can control their own destiny in one of the toughest regions in the state. “Clover can win the region championship,” he stressed. “They’ve got a good ball club.”
But Dalton believes the Cougars have a legitimate shot against the Blue Eagles. “Deshaw and Daurice are leading us in the right way,” he said. “I am proud of our team’s late surge.”
The Cougars eased past Nation Ford 60-58 on the road last week, building a 30-29 halftime lead and holding on for the win.