The Rock Hill Bearcats got 22 points from Japree Perry and hit some crucial free throws down the stretch to defeat the Northwestern Trojans 66-62 Friday night at Northwestern.
Perry came out of the blocks ready to go with eight of the Bearcats‘ 10 first-quarter points, but the Trojans held an 11-10 edge after one.
After Northwestern pushed the lead to 16-10 to start the second, Rock Hill answered with an 8-0 run, aided by two three-point plays. A bucket by Manzi Hill tied it, but Jordan McCraw’s free throw gave the guests the lead for good, and they built their lead to 28-21 at the half.
Lance Crayton caught fire in the third quarter for the Bearcats and he and Northwestern’s Zach Byas got in a personal shootout. They took turns hitting threes as Byas had four of his five in the period and Crayton had two.
Byas led the Trojans with 15 points and Crayton had 12 of his 14 in the third.
But trading baskets did not help the Trojans. Rock Hill went on a 9-0 spurt started by two free throws after a Hill technical and finished with a Crayton three that made it 46-35.
Byas had two threes in an 8-0 run to keep it close at 51-43 after three.
Northwestern cut it to 59-58 with 3:00 left but Rock Hill hit nine of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to hold off the Trojans. Perry had seven in the fourth.
“It's big for us just to get a good region win and get some confidence for the second half of the season,” said Rock Hill coach Eric Rollings. “We’ve just had trouble finishing and we were able to tonight.”
Rock Hill 66 Northwestern 62
Rock Hill - 10-18-23-15 -- 66
Northwester - 11-10-22-19 -- 62
RH - Japree Perry 22, Lance Crayton 14, Jordan McCraw 4, Andrew Barber 9, Donovan Perryman 3, Tay Brevard 10, James Lindsay 4.
Northwestern - Zach Byas 15, Malcolm Anthony 8, Dwayne Hemphill 8, Manzi Hill 13, Jaquavius Clowney 1, Myliek Durham 8, Hamary Traore 9.
Fouls: RH - 15. N - 23.
Threes: RH - 3 (Crayton 2, McCraw). N - 7 (Byas 5, Anthony, Hemphill).
Records - RH: 6-11, 2-5 Region 3-4A; N: 6-10, 3-4.
Northwestern 53, Rock Hill 53: Freshman Makenna Thompson hit four freethrows in overtime and had 14 points to lead Northwestern over Rock Hill 54-53 in a classic Friday night at Northwestern. With the win, the Trojans remain perfect in Region 3-4A at 7-0 while the much-improved Bearcats drop to 6-1 with their first loss.
“It just shows how mentally tough she is,” Northwestern coach John Bramlett said of Thompson. “She did the same thing at Gaffney. It says a lot about her, and that’s why we put her on the floor as a freshman.”
Alexis Looney led the Trojans with 16 and Lauren Reese had four of her 11 in the overtime, and they were huge buckets for Northwestern. Each of her two shots in OT gave the Trojans the lead at 48-46 and 50-49 respectively.
“They’re big and strong and they’ve had a taste of winning so they know what it takes,” Bramlett said.
Rock Hill had a chance for a tying three-pointer in the final seconds trailing 54-51, but Anita Jones’ three from the right corner missed and Tilandra Staton hit a meaningless two at the buzzer. Staton and Madison Hendrix for Rock Hill led all scorers with 17. The Bearcats missed two front ends of one-and-ones in the overtime that really hurt their cause.
“We had three options there at the end, but I hated for it to come down to that,” Rock Hill coach Kenny Orr said. “We had some opportunities at the free throw line we didn’t take advantage of and they were calm, cool and collected on theirs. That’s where the game was won and lost right there. I take my hat off to Northwestern.”
Rock Hill led 40-38 headed to the fourth after a 9-0 run and Monique Stevenson’s buzzer-beater. The Bearcats led 46-44 when Looney hit two free throws with 37 seconds left. Hendrix’s running floater from in close just barely rimmed out at the buzzer in regulation to send the game to overtime.
Northwestern 54 Rock Hill 53 OT
Individual scoring: RH - Madison Hendrix 17, Tilandra Staton 17, Kendall Lahr 7, Monique Stevenson 6, Modesty Fobbs 6. NW - NaNa Jones 14, Alexis Looney 16, Lauren Reese 11, Makenna Thompson 9, Destyne Garmon 2, Kira Douglas 2. Team fouls: RH - 19; NW - 18. Three-point shooting: RH - 7(Staton 4, Hendrix 2, Lahr). NW - Jones 1. Records - RH: 6-1 Region 3-4A; NW: 7-0 Region 3-4A.