With just under a minute remaining, the Rock Hill Bearcats grouped around coach Bobby Stevens holding onto a four-point lead over Clover. They broke the huddle with the phrase "finish," something that had been a challenge for the Bearcats over the past couple of seasons.
This time, the Bearcats took the chant to heart and came away with a 47-40 victory over the visiting Blue Eagles.
After the first half saw eight lead changes and two ties, Rock Hill broke open a 20-20 tie at intermission and took command of the game with a 12-2 run during the first six minutes of the third stanza.
Clover coach Dudley Lybrand called a timeout midway through the run, but Rock Hill added another four points before A.J. Williams finally stopped the bleeding with an old fashioned three-point play.
Gervius Jones and Jontavious Stewart each knocked down a 3-pointer to help the Bearcats take command.
Clover countered with a 7-0 run stretching over a three-minute period, and cut the Bearcats' lead to five early in the fourth quarter.
It looked like the Bearcats had the game salted away with 1:30 remaining and a seven-point lead, but Clover's Aaron Miller and Alexander Wylie each hit a 3-pointer. Rock Hill sandwiched a free throw in between, but held onto a slim 42-40 lead with 1:02 left.
From that point on, it was a game of free throws for Rock Hill and missed shots by the Eagles as Rock Hill hung on for the victory.
The Bearcats hit five free throws over the final minute to seal their first win of the season while handing Clover its first loss seven games into the season.
Jatavius Stewart and Colby Nivens paced the Bearcats with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Clint Osborne finished with only two points in the scoring column, but had several huge offensive rebounds and defensive stops to aid the Rock Hill attack.
As usual, Clover's guards had a nice shooting game until the final minute.
Four Blue Eagles contributed with 3-pointers as Clover was led by Alexander Wylie's 11 points and Chris Lindsay's 10.
"We have only been together as a team for a little over a week," said Rock Hill coach Bobby Stevens, "but I could not be more proud of our effort. We did not guard the 3-point line very well at the end of the game, but other than that I have very little to complain about.
"We proved we have the ability to knock down the foul shots and hold onto the ball in a close game, and that will prove very valuable if we can build on that throughout the season. We'll be in many more games like this."
Rock Hill 47 Clover 40
Clover -- Aaron Miller 7, Alexander Wylie 11, A.J Williams 3 Chris Lindsay 10, Cody Bauer 3, A.J. Phillips 2, Josh Clawson 4.
Rock Hill -- Aaron Hemphill 5, Dominic Cathcart 1, Gerius Jones 5, Jatavius Stewart 13, Gayland Jenkins 7, Matt Harvey 2, Colby Nivens 12, Clint Osborne 2.
Rock Hill.....13-8-12-4 -- 47
Clover......12-9-8-11 -- 40
3-Point Goals - Rock Hill 4 (Hemphill , Steward 2, Jones), Clover 4 (Miller 2, Lindsay, Bauer).Total fouls - Clover 17, Rock Hill 12. Fouled out - none.
Records: Clover 6-1; Rock Hill 1-1.