The Clover High School girls’ basketball team lost 41-39 to York Friday.
With the CHS girls trailing 31-30 in the final seconds of the third quarter, 5-foot, 9-inch Clover freshman Autumn Case scored, pushing the Lady Blue Eagles ahead 32-31 to start the fourth quarter.
Freshman Clover forward Renee Carter scored twice in the early stages of the fourth quarter to narrow York’s lead to 35-34.
After York moved ahead 38-34, junior guard Lynsey Comalander’s three-pointer sliced the lead back to 38-37.
Later, with 19.7 seconds left in the game, Clover freshman guard Kerrington Barnes converted two clutch free throws and York’s lead was 40-39.
Sophomore York guard Makala Love added a free throw for the home team as the Lady Cougars held on in the final seconds to win.
CHS head coach Sherer Hopkins lauded the Lady Blue Eagle players for laying it on the line before a noisy crowd in the York Comprehensive High School main gym.
“Our kids played hard,” said Hopkins.
“Both teams were competitive from start to finish,” she said. “A closely-fought game like tonight is what the Clover-York rivalry is all about.”
With three ninth-graders assuming key roles in a rebuilding year, Hopkins said she is confident the program is on the upswing.
“Our kids will be ready to go in our next region challenge,” she said.
After York moved ahead 3-0 in the early moments of the first quarter, Clover’s Sidney Sanders nailed a three-pointer, knotting the score at 3-all.
Moments later, clutch free throw shooting by Lilly Wallace and Taylor Morneault pushed Clover ahead 9-7.
The Lady Cougars answered with two three-pointers to lead 13-9 as the first quarter concluded.
A free throw and basket by Morneault sliced York’s lead to 13-12 to open the second quarter.
Another three by Sanders and a basket by Wallace pushed Clover ahead 17-13 nearing the midway point of the quarter.
The CHS girls stepped up the pace offensively, with Sanders, Wallace and Carter scoring key baskets as Clover expanded its lead to 23-16.
Though the Lady Cougars closed the gap, the Lady Blue Eagles still led 23-21 at the half.
A basket by Case and a three-pointer by Elizabeth Edmunds kept Clover ahead by two. After York moved ahead 29-28, Morneault scored off the steal and Clover was back up 30-29.
After York answered, Case scored as Clover regained the lead.
The Lady Blue Eagles return to action at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Gaffney, followed by the varsity boys’ game at 8 p.m.