FORT MILL -- Forget the big game on Sunday afternoon. The Fort Mill Yellow Jackets locally are attempting to complete their own perfect season. The Jackets took one more step toward the ultimate goal by beating the Lancaster Bruins 89-78 in a slugfest.
The win not only kept their winning streak alive, but also clinched a second straight Region 3-AAAA championship with two regular-season games remaining.
Lancaster provided a different style from most other Region 3-AAAA teams and hung with the Jackets for much of the game with more of a run-and-gun strategy.
The Bruins jumped ahead 4-0 when Robert Fletcher blocked a Yellow Jacket shot and went coast-to-coast for a layup attempt. Fort Mill fouled Fletcher, and the refs concluded that it was intentional, meaning Lancaster would get two foul shots and the ball.
Fletcher hit his first attempt but missed his second. Lancaster inbounded the ball afterwards and Michael Catoe immediately hit a 3-pointer.
Each time the Bruins made a run, the Yellow Jackets answered despite missing top post player Chalmers Rogers for most of the game.
Rogers left the game in the first quarter with a broken nose and finished with only two points. It is unclear when Rogers can return, but if the Yellow Jackets can step up like they did Friday, it might not matter.
The Yellow Jackets showed their resilience, especially from Cameron Smith. Smith took over in Rogers' absence and scored 18 points. Amazingly, Fort Mill had two other players finish with more points than Smith, proving the depth of the state's top-ranked team.
Fort Mill 21 28 17 23 -- 89
Lancaster 13 21 23 21 -- 78
• YORK 80, NATION FORD 62 -- In York, the only pretty thing about Friday night's game between York and Nation Ford was the result Cougars coach Kendall McCarter read on the scoreboard following a sloppy win over the visiting Falcons.
While McCarter was pleased to see his team score above its average against region competition, he knows the turnovers and fouls will be something to address when thinking of grabbing one of the top four spots in the region to advance into the playoffs.
"Point-wise, it was a great game for us," he said. "We've been averaging around 55-60 in our region games, but defensively we gave up too many points and had too many turnovers.
"But, I'm proud of these guys for their effort. We're still where we need to be and we're winning, and that's what counts."
York 22 24 24 10 -- 80
Nation Ford 13 18 17 14 -- 62
• CHESTERFIELD 82, INDIAN LAND 70 -- In a hard-fought, emotional, physical game, Chesterfield was able to a win over Indian Land.
Chesterfield led 35-24 at the half on the strength of five 3-pointers, three by Akeem Johnson. Rucker only had three points at halftime, but as soon as the second half started, he took control. He scored on pull-up jumpers, 3-pointers and driving layups.
-- Lee McManus
Chesterfield 17 18 20 27 -- 82
Indian Land 10 14 25 21 -- 70
Great Falls 8 15 26 14 -- 63
McBee 5 9 12 19 -- 45
Chester 18 10 22 21 -- 71
Blythewood 15 17 18 25 -- 75
Carolina 7 12 5 3 -- 27
Blessed Hope 14 15 21 13 -- 63
WCCS 24 14 21 8 -- 67
Northside 10 10 15 29 -- 64