The Rock Hill boys have had trouble finishing basketball games in the first half of the season.
Friday night the Bearcats saw their 17-point second quarter lead whittled all the way down to four in the fourth quarter but got big buckets from two unlikely sources to hold off the Nation Ford Falcons 47-37 at Rock Hill.
James Lindsay drove to the basket for two when it was 37-33 with 3:50 left, and Tay Brevard hit a bucket with 1:29 left to make it 41-35. The Bearcats would hold on from there.
“We told them at the timeout when they made their run that we had to share the basketball a little bit more than we were,” Rock Hill coach Eric Rollings said. “Those were huge baskets. Those kids come off the bench and play big minutes for us and we’ve got to have that.”
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Rock Hill came out on fire despite not playing since their win last Friday over rival Northwestern 66-62. It started the game with three consecutive 3-pointers, the first by Lance Crayton followed by two from Andrew Barber, who led the Bearcats with 13 points. After a Nation Ford free throw for its first point with 3:22 left in the quarter, the Bearcats scored seven more, including another three by Barber to make it 16-1.
The Falcons got their first shot from the field by Jack Hagood with 20 seconds left in the first and trailed 18-3 after one. When Jordan McCraw hit another three with 5:00 left in the first half, Rock Hill had its biggest lead at 24-7, and led 26-12 at the half.
The Bearcats maintained that edge until the visitors ran off six straight to close the third quarter, with four of those coming from Hank Tuipulotu, who did his damage inside and from the line. He had eight in the period and led all scorers with 14 after struggling to find his touch in the first half. All of his points came after halftime. Ben Tuipulotu’s tip-in with 50 seconds left cut it to 33-27.
After Will Lawson scored to open the fourth, the lead was down to four. Japree Perry, who had 12, answered with a bucket for the Bearcats and then Brevard scored to make it 37-29. After Terry Galloway scored on a nifty crossover and Hank Tuipulotu hit two free throws it was back to four, and then came the big shots from Lindsay and Brevard. Brevard also had 12 for Rock Hill.
Things seem to be turning in the second half of the season for the Bearcats and Rollings can sense that.
“We’ve been in those situations all year and we’ve lost a lot of close games like that down the stretch. We’re just playing with a little bit more confidence than what we have and they’re starting to believe in themselves. We’re back in this thing now for sure,” said Rollings. “We feel like we should have a little bit better record in the region, but that’s what the second half is for and we can go clean it up.”
Rock Hill 47, Nation Ford 37
Individual scoring: RH - Andrew Barber 13, Tay Brevard 12, Japree Perry 12, Jordan McCraw 5, Lance Crayton 3, James Lindsay 2. NF - Hank Tuipulotu 14, Terry Galloway 5, Clay Hunt 6, Ian Corley 2, Ben Tuipulotu 2, Jack Hagood 2, Will Lawson 6. Team fouls: RH 18, NF 14. Three-pointers: RH - 5 (Barber 3, McCraw, Crayton). NF - 0. Records - Rock Hill 9-11, 3-5 Region 3-4A; Nation Ford 11-9, 3-5.
Rock Hill 45, Nation Ford 29: The Bearcats got 14 points from Monique Stevenson and pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat the Falcons at Rock Hill.
Stevenson scored eight in the final quarter as she continually got to the basket for left-handed layups.
The Falcons scored six straight spanning the end of the third and start of the fourth to cut their deficit to 29-23. Rock Hill answered with a 6-0 run, with four of those coming from Stevenson.
The Bearcats had an 8-1 spurt towards the end of the game to finish it off.
Tilandra Staton joined Stevenson in double figures with 10 points and Alexis Roccia led Nation Ford with 10. With the win, Rock Hill moves to 7-1 in Region 3-4A.
Rock Hill 45 Nation Ford 29
Individual scoring: RH - Monique Stevenson 14, Tilandra Staton 10, Kendall Lahr 8, Madison Hendrix 6, Modesty Fobbs 6, Monet’ Mackey 1. NF - Alexis Roccia 10, Sydney Adams 7, Haley Fulton 5, Lauren Johnson 4, LiLi Martinez 3. Team fouls: RH 16, NF 21. Three-pointers: RH - Staton. NF - 2 (Roccia, Fulton). Records - Rock Hill: 14-6, 7-1 Region 3-4A; Nation Ford: 11-9, 2-5.