Sizzling start leads Trojans past Eagles

CLOVER -- Northwestern jumped out to a 19-1 lead to take a 59-41 Region 3-AAAA win against Clover.

The win was an important one for the Trojans. They improved to 9-3 in region play, remain in a tie for second place with South Pointe and have clinched a playoff spot.

Northwestern will play at unbeaten Fort Mill on Tuesday and host Rock Hill on Feb. 8 in the regular-season finale.

The top two teams in each region get home games in the first round.

"That is our goal. We want a home game in the playoffs," Northwestern coach Mike Gossett said.

"That was a very good win for us. We had a lot of contributions from a lot of players. That's as solid a game as we have played. I am very pleased," Gossett said.

Taylor Shugart and Labris Adams teamed up to give the Trojans a big first-quarter advantage. Shugart, a 6-foot-7 senior, scored 11 points in the first eight minutes. His dunk gave Northwestern a 16-1 lead.

Adams capped the run with a drive to the hoop and a foul. He completed the three-point play, and the Trojans led 19-1.

Shugart scored a game-high 23 points. He had another dunk in the fourth quarter that was impressive. He spun to the baseline and hammered the ball through the net.

Shugart had six rebounds and four blocked shots.

Adams added 12 points.

Clover coach Dudley Lybrand said before the game his Blue Eagles would need to shoot the ball well against Northwestern.

The game couldn't have started worse.

Clover missed its first 10 shots from the field and finished 16-for-52.

"We got off to a rough, tough start," Lybrand said. "Getting down that many points will take it out of some teenagers. We made a couple runs and got it under 10 points. But we weren't able to get beyond that."

Clover (9-11, 3-9) was led by freshman Aaron Miller, who scored 13 points. Chris Lindsay added 10 points for the Blue Eagles.

Northwestern 19 8 10 22 -- 59

Clover 8 7 11 15 -- 41

Northwestern 59

Clover 41