Fort Mill Sports

Fort Mill falls to Greenwood in the first round of SC state basketball playoffs

Greenwood's Donovan Williams guards Fort Mill junior William Ross (12) Wednesday night at Fort Mill. Greenwood won the playoff game 51-50.
Greenwood's Donovan Williams guards Fort Mill junior William Ross (12) Wednesday night at Fort Mill. Greenwood won the playoff game 51-50.

For the second straight year, the Fort Mill High boys’ basketball season ended in heartbreaking fashion as the Jackets missed a three-pointer near the buzzer and were edged by the Greenwood Eagles 51-50 in the first round of the 5A boy’s basketball state playoffs.

The Jackets were led by All-State player Ryan Heriot, who scored 19 points. Fort Mill rallied in the fourth quarter after the Jackets found themselves down by five at the end of the third. Heriot hit a 3-pointer to put the Jackets up 43-42 as they started the final period on a 7-1 run.

The teams battled back and forth throughout the quarter and were tied at 45 with about two minutes left in the game before trading the lead back and forth for the remainder of the game. Fort Mill finished the season at 14-9.

Fort Mill and Greenwood started the third quarter trading 3-pointers. The Eagles used their height to get inside along the block and battle for the high percentage shot. Fort Mill opened its offense and took its time finding the right shot as well. The offense for both teams slowed during the early part of the quarter as Greenwood continued to chip away at Fort Mill’s lead. The Eagles would tie the game at 36 with about 1:15 left in the third. The Jackets struggled with turnovers in the quarter, losing the ball eight times.

“We went through a spell there and they made some plays,” said Fort Mill head coach Dwayne Hartsoe. “We had 20 turnovers in the game and you can’t do that and win. It was a great season. We had a great year. I am proud of our seniors.”

Fort Mill hit just four second-half field goals, two in each of the third and fourth quarters, while it was the team’s shooting at the free throw line that aided the Jackets in the second half as they went 10-12 from the stripe. On the other hand, Greenwood was 10-for-19 from the field in the second half.

The Eagles would come back in the second quarter opening the period on a run of its own to cut the Fort Mill lead to four with about six minutes left in the half. Fort Mill turned the ball over several times during the second quarter allowing Greenwood to make a game of it. Greenwood’s defense cut the lane off from Fort Mill not allowing the Jackets to drive as often to the basket and forcing them outside.

Greenwood’s ability to penetrate the lane helped to keep the Eagles in the game in the latter portions of the second quarter. Fort Mill was able to find gaps in the paint as well, which opened their offensive effectiveness as they took a 29-23 lead into the locker room at the half.

Fort Mill opened the game on a 9-0 run and contained Greenwood to one shot per possession to start with in the first quarter in the early going. Greenwood missed its first five shots before Messiah Carter drained a 3-pointer, only to have the Jackets’ Heriot answer with a 3-pointer of his own. Heriot would score eight of those 18 points in the quarter.

Mac Banks:, @MacBanksFM