With Rogers' status in question, Jackets try to close out undefeated regular season

Will he or won't he?

It's been a question batted around by Herald-area basketball fans since Fort Mill center Chalmers Rogers took an elbow that broke his nose Friday against Lancaster.

Fort Mill won the Region 3-AAAA championship for the second straight year and the only question this week is if the Yellow Jackets can win their final two games and go undefeated in the regular season. The last time Fort Mill won back-to-back region championships was in 1988 and 1989. Fort Mill's coach then was Bennie Bennett, who current coach Bailey Jackson later played for at Clover.

Fort Mill, Class AAAA's No. 1 team, is the defending state champion.

The Yellow Jackets (22-0, 12-0 Region 3-AAAA) host Northwestern tonight and end the regular season at South Pointe on Friday.

Jackson got a nice display of sportsmanship from Northwestern athletics director Bill Warren on Saturday. Warren told Jackson that if Rogers needed a protective mask to wear, he had one he could use.

"Chalmers is likely to play,'' Jackson said. "We're going to prepare to play with or without him. We're not going to jeopardize his health or ability play later on.

"We are treating this week like a playoff week, getting ready like we do every game because we are playing two playoff-caliber teams. We've stepped up our preparation, and we watched a little more film, just like we would for the playoffs.''

Jackson said with Rogers' status in question, there is one thing he is certain of. He will get Northwestern's and South Pointe's best shots because of the playoff implications.

Going into tonight's games, the Trojans and Stallions are tied for second place in the region at 9-3. York is fourth at 8-4.

South Pointe is at Lancaster. York travels to Rock Hill.

The top four teams make the playoffs, but as Jackson stated, it's an important week because the team finishing second gets a first-round home game. The third- and fourth-place teams are on the road.

Jackson said Rogers played "maybe a minute'' against the Bruins and scored two points. Although their top scorer and rebounder was taken to the hospital, Jackson said Cam Smith, Torrell Priest and Garrett Copeland hit some big shots in the Yellow Jackets' 89-78 victory.

This week's games are no gimmes. Last year when Northwestern was at Fort Mill, the score was 41-41 with 1:39 left. The Yellow Jackets scored the final five points for a 46-41 win.

In their final game of the regular season last year, South Pointe handed Fort Mill its lone region loss, 58-52, on the Yellow Jackets' floor.

"Our kids don't have to be reminded of last year,'' Jackson said. "Everybody is aware of what happened in those games and of how tough both teams have played us this year. We don't expect anything to be any different this week.''

Fort Mill beat South Pointe 69-60 and Northwestern 45-36 in the first round of region play this season.

Region 3-AAAA standings


Region Overall

Fort Mill 12-0 22-0

Northwestern 9-3 12-10

South Pointe 9-3 15-4

York 8-4 14-7

Rock Hill 5-7 7-12

Clover 3-9 9-11

Lancaster 2-10 8-12

Nation Ford 0-12 2-20


Region Overall

South Pointe 12-0 22-1

York 9-3 16-5

Northwestern 8-4 9-11

Lancaster 7-5 11-6

Nation Ford 5-7 8-13

Rock Hill 4-8 8-12

Clover 3-9 6-12

Fort Mill 0-12 3-16

Today's games

Northwestern at Fort Mill, 6:30 p.m.

South Pointe at Lancaster, 6:30 p.m.

York at Rock Hill, 6:30 p.m.

Nation Ford at Clover, 6:30 p.m.

Lugoff-Elgin at Chester, 6 p.m.

Westminster Catawba at Metrolina (N.C.), 6 p.m.

• Girls games first, followed by boys