The Northwestern Trojans played a rugged early season schedule and needed the entire regular season to even out their overall record. They did so Friday night with a convincing 57-32 win over crosstown rival Rock Hill.
Northwestern (11-11, 10-4 Region 3-AAAA) started the season with a slate full of teams ranked among the state's best.
The scheduling has toughened the Trojans, who are playing their best basketball of the year.
Northwestern used scoring runs in the first three quarters to race to a 53-25 edge. Rock Hill scored the first three points of the game until the Trojans reeled off 11 straight.
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In the second quarter, Northwestern scored nine unanswered points, and an 11-0 spurt in the third period gave Northwestern a comfortable 49-21 cushion.
Senior Mary Kate DuBard scored four of her game-high and season-best 13 points in the last run.
Northwestern coach John Bramlett has been urging DuBard to do more scoring all year.
"She is a very unselfish girl. We beg her to shoot," Bramlett said. "We told her in practice she needs to stick some of the open shots she gets."
"I don't really like to shoot," DuBard said. "My game is more passes than shots."
DuBard won the state cross country title this fall. She received an award and a ring commemorating the accomplishment in a ceremony at halftime of the boys' game.
DuBard also announced she will continue her running career at Georgia Tech this fall.
She said it was an exciting night for her.
" I officially decided on Georgia Tech Monday night."
Rock Hill senior Brooke Lucas said it's sad to have played her last prep basketball game.
"We were hoping for a winning record this year, but we didn't quite get that. We did play as a team all year," Lucas said.
Lucas is looking at Anderson College and Belmont-Abbey to continue her athletic career in both softball and volleyball.
Bramlett said he is happy with the win and the season but not satisfied.
"We don't want to just be satisfied with making the trip to Dorman Tuesday."
-- Karl Lyles
Rock Hill 9 6 10 7 -- 32
Northwestern 14 18 21 4 -- 57
• SOUTH POINTE 56, FORT MILL 29 -- South Pointe was handed its first Region 3-AAAA loss of the season last Tuesday against Lancaster.
The Lady Stallions, who have already wrapped of the region title, appeared to still be feeling the effects of that game Friday night against visiting Fort Mill.
South Pointe had shooting problems in the first quarter and was sloppy handling the bal. But the Lady Stallions recovered in the second quarter and romped to 56-29 win in the last regular-season game for both teams.
South Pointe moved on to Tuesday's first round of the Class AAAA Upper State playoffs with a 23-2 record and finished 13-1 in the region. The Lady Stallions host Mauldin.
Fort Mill ended its season at 0-14 in the region and 3-18 under first-year coach Todd Bowser.
"We came out ready to play in the first quarter," Bowser said. "But then No. 50, (Tianna) Hemphill got hot and it spread to their other players.
"Our kids played their hearts out this season. No matter what the score was, they played aggressive on defense and never quit. I told them at halftime that there was 16 minutes left in their season and to go out and play hard."
The Lady Yellow Jackets did as their coach asked, but the outcome had long been decided. Led by Hemphill, South Pointe opened the second quarter with a 17-point run. At one stretch, Hemphill scored nine straight points and finished with a game-high 18.
Fort Mill got on the board with 2:37 left in the half, on a layup by Megan Killmeyer. But South Pointe wanted to wipe out any thoughts of Tuesday's loss and outscored Fort Mill 6-2 the rest of the half to go into the break with a 28-12 lead.
It ballooned to 43-19 after three quarter and the Lady Stallions cruised home.
"It was a good win," first-year south Pointe coach Brett Childers said. "We regained the momentum we lost Tuesday after having a sluggish first quarter.
Fort Mill 8 4 7 10 -- 29
South Pointe 5 23 15 13 -- 56
• LANCASTER 51, NATION FORD 41 -- In Fort Mill, with both teams out of playoff contention, Friday night's girls game between Lancaster and Nation Ford had both squads simply looking to end the season on a good note. The Lady Bruins got the win, but it was not because of a lack of effort from the Lady Falcons.
Nation Ford led much of the first half, but went cold from the field. Katie Kozlowski hit a running jumper following a Lancaster timeout with just under 5 minutes remaining in the half. The bucket gave the Lady Falcons a 19-13 lead, but initiated a drought Nation Ford has not seen all season.
No doubt the Lancaster defense had much to do with it, but the Lady Falcons went nearly 11 minutes without hitting a shot from the field. The only points were two free throws each by Kozlowski and Carson Trull.
During the same time span, the Lady Bruins took over, at one point outscoring Nation Ford 15-2. In one 55-second period during the run, Lancaster changed the momentum of the game by scoring seven quick points.
Trailing 19-18 with 4:35 left in the third, Kiandra Jenkins nailed a toe-on-the-line deuce. It was the closest either team got to hitting a 3-pointer, as Lancaster and Nation Ford finished a combined 0-18 from behind the arc.
Jenkins' bucket allowed the Lady Bruins to set up their full-court press. Tamisha Fletcher came up with a steal and quickly went to the foul line for a one-and-one after getting hit on the arm. She hit the first, but missed the second.
Tanisha Howsen grabbed the rebound and converted an easy putback. Fletcher had another steal and converted two more free throws to cap the 7-0 run, putting the Lady Bruins ahead 25-19. Nation Ford could not recover.
The Lady Falcons usually are deadly from the outside, but even after cutting a nine-point deficit to three in the fourth, missed a couple from long range that squelched any shot at a comeback.
Lancaster 9 7 14 21 -- 51
Nation Ford 9 10 6 16 - 41
• YORK 66, CLOVER 41 -- In York, according to Lady Cougars coach Paula Blackwell, there were no losers in Friday's contest between York and Clover.
"We were out there playing for cancer awareness," Blackwell said in light of the Lady Cougars' victory. "Everyone is wearing pink to bring attention to cancer and (N.C. State coach) Kay Yow. This is a joint effort by both teams in this community."
On the scoreboard, however, York celebrated Senior Night festivities in a grand way. The Lady Cougars took a 22-6 first-quarter lead and maintained control throughout. Senior Nardia Robbins poured in 22 points to spark York, including 17 in the first half.
"For the seniors, this was our last regular-season game and it is always special when York and Clover plays," Robbins said.
Clover 6 8 10 17 -- 41
York 22 15 12 17 -- 66
Chester 18 12 8 13 -- 51
Fairfield Central 15 4 24 4 -- 47
Gaston Ch. 13 13 17 9 -- 52
WCCS 11 9 12 13 -- 45