Fort Mill Times

Blue Eagle basketball inches toward region title

The Clover High School boys’ basketball team 52-47 defeat of Fort Mill last week clinched the team’s share of the region championship.

The Blue Eagles were in a position to nail down the region title outright Feb. 10 game at Northwestern, after the Enquirer-Herald deadline.

After the win over Fort Mill, head coach Bailey Jackson said the Blue Eagles had been playing with a chip on their shoulder.

“We were picked sixth in the preseason,” said Jackson, the architect of a 2007 state championship at Fort Mill. “That’s kinda the way it’s been all season.”

The CHS boys used the same formula against Fort Mill that’s worked all year.

“We didn’t play perfect but we did what we had to do to win here,” Jackson said after the game. “This is a tough place to play.”

He commended the Blue Eagles for improved play against the half-court trap. “It’s something we didn’t do the last time we played them,” he said. “We had better open shots and we made enough free throws at the end.”

Jackson employed a mixture of defensive schemes to keep the Yellow Jackets off balance. “We threw a little bit of 1-3-1 and a little match-up zone at them,” he said. “We also used some full-court stuff and man-to-man.”

Jackson lauded Dwayne Hartsoe’s Fort Mill team. “They’re well coached,” he said. “I knew they weren’t going to quit, and we weren’t going to quit.”

Senior guard R.J. Moore rose to the occasion with the game on the line. “It felt good to make the basket late in the game,” said Moore.

Moore said there are times when it’s not easy. “When the pressure bothers me, I try not to let it show,” he said.

His thoughts on finishing the season strong: “Stay humble and keep playing hard.”

The Blue Eagles withstood a strong challenge from Shelby, prevailing 44-41 in a nonregion game at home Friday.

“We played great defense,” said Jackson. “They had been averaging 72 points per game, and we held them to 41.

“The kids did what they had to do to win, like they’ve done all year.”

Jackson said he expects a test against rival York at home Friday, riding a four-game winning streak in the region.

“They haven’t lost since we beat them,” Jackson said. “It should be an exciting game before a packed house.”

The game begins at 8 p.m. start, after the Clover-York girls’ varsity game at 6:30 p.m. The triple-header begins with girls’ junior varsity action at 5 p.m.