CLOVER The final score of 64-46 might suggest Spartanburg had an easy time in their 4A girls basketball playoff opener conquest of Clover at Spartanburg, but that wasn’t the case.
The Vikings (20-4) did build a 21-point lead in the second quarter, but couldn’t shake off the Lady Blue Eagles (9-16) until after Clover had pulled within nine points in the fourth quarter.
Vikings coach Sharon Dillon was disappointed by the uneven performance.
“They need to learn how to keep their intensity up for four quarters,” Dillon said. “When we get up against better teams like we’re getting ready to meet up with, you can’t play like that.”
Junior Kionna Jeter scored 27 points and senior Ty Mayberry added 17 for Spartanburg, which went scoreless for the game’s first 2:19.
The Vikings bolted to a 34-13 lead late in the second quarter before Clover scored 11 straight points to pull within 10.
Spartanburg pushed the lead to 16 before Clover briefly got within 45-36 early in the fourth quarter. Jeter tossed in eight points and Mayberry chipped in six during the remainder of the game.
Clover coach Sherer Hopkins said Spartanburg created problems because it has weapons in addition to Jeter.
“She’s an awesome and amazing player,” Hopkins said. “She’s very talented and has a lot to offer. But I think her supporting cast is what kind of got her team going.”
Ryehia Robbins made four 3-pointers and finished with 20 points to lead the Blue Eagles.
Clover’s Hopkins saw some positives from her team, particularly during its rally in the second and third quarters.
“I thought we played well,” she said. “I thought we started out a little slow offensively. That’s attributed to Spartanburg, of course. But I thought our girls came back, battled and played hard until the end. I’m proud of them for that.”
Clover did a good job of challenging Spartanburg on the boards, getting a lot of rebounds.
“We focus on never giving up on a play; just keep going after it and try to get the put back, get the shot to fall,” Hopkins said. “It's a good group of young people and they do what I ask of them.”
Clover - Morneault 3, Mavrogian 2, Sanders 5, Edmunds 4, Ryehia Robbins 20, Wallace 5, Lipscomb 2, Carter 5.
Spartanburg - Ty Mayberry 17, Sarratt 2, Kionna Jeter 27, Mims 6, Sims 9, Williams 2, McClain 1.
3-point goals: Clover 5 (Sanders 1, Robbins 4), Spartanburg 4 (Jeter 4).
Records: Clover 9-16, Spartanburg 20-4
Rudy Jones, Spartanburg Herald