The Fort Mill High boys basketball team put a damper on Nation Ford's senior night, beating their rival school, 65-59 in what was essentially a playoff game Friday night.
In a game that decided the fourth and final playoff spot in Region Three, the two teams came out with incredible energy in front of a packed house, racing up and down the floor in an back-and-forth first half. Nation Ford led 30-29 at halftime, but when the Jackets reemerged from their locker room after the break, the game was not the same.
"We made some adjustments to what they were doing against our press, and we decided that we would get the ball to Andrew [McCartney] inside," said Fort Mill Head Coach Bailey Jackson.
And that's what they did.
Fort Mill stormed out of the gate, starting the second half on a 16-2 run, seizing the momentum for much of the second half.
McCartney, a sophomore forward for the Jackets, put the team on his shoulders in the second half, putting up 12 of his 13 points, grabbing offensive rebounds and loose balls, blocking shots and even taking a charge on a key possession in the third quarter.
"He's becoming a really good player. We're expecting great things out of him," Jackson said. "And he's only a sophomore, which is great."
McCartney said winning this game against Nation Ford meant a lot.
"It was a lot of fun. It always is, especially with a big crowd," McCartney said. "We just did what Coach Jackson taught us to do. Hopefully, we can go with this momentum- keep it going."
Rashawn Dupree led Fort Mill in scoring, netting 19 points.
On the other side of the court, Nation Ford, which opened in 2007, improved its season win total by six games, finishing with an 8-15 mark this year after going 2-22 in its first season.
"I told the guys we have a lot to build on for next year - a lot of positives," Nation Ford Head Coach Artie Moore said.
"We only graduate one senior from the team this year, our JV team won their region and we have a lot of talent on the ninth grade team...we're going to get to the point where we can balance out this rivalry."
Fort Mill will have a tough road test to begin the playoffs. They visit top-seeded Ridge View Wednesday night.