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The York Comprehensive High School boys basketball team rallied from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat Chester 57-52 on the road last Friday.
Trailing 47-44 at the midway point of the fourth quarter, the Cougars outscored the home-standing Cyclones 13-5 the remainder of the quarter to seal the win.
Consecutive baskets by sophomore playmaking guard Daurice Simpson pushed the Cougars ahead 48-47 with just over three minutes left in the game.
A free throw by sophomore forward Ben Spratley moved the Cougars ahead 49-47 in the latter stages of the game.
Deshaw Andrews, a consistent double-figure scorer this season, made the next basket and converted two free throws with 1:52 left, staking the Cougars to a 53-49 lead.
Spratley nailed a pair of free throws,, expanding the lead to 55-49 and the Cougars held on for a big road win.
First-year head coach Larry Dixon lauded the effort away from home.
“We stepped up the intensity which is what it takes to play championship-caliber ball on the road,” said Dixon.
The YCHS coach said the flu bug has taken its toll in recent games.
“We've had players out sick,” he noted. “We had to move a jayvee player up with Matt Ransom out tonight.
“We've only had a few practices with all of the players there.”
Dixon said Spratley has been out sick and is playing well.
“Ben and others are working their way into shape,” he said.
Spratley talked about the Cougars' road win and the importance of free throw shooting in tight games, especially on the road.
“Confidence at the free throw line and playing with intensity were keys to the win,” said Spratley, whose presence around the basket and clutch free throw shooting contributed to the win. “We have to continue to work hard at practice.
“There can be no letup. We have to be ready to play every game.”
The lead seesawed throughout the game, with the Cougars trailing by a scant point (13-12) after the first quarter.
A basket by Markell Castle and a follow shot by Andrews pushed the Cougars ahead 16-13 in the early moments of the first quarter.
But the Cyclones battled back to lead 19-17.
The YCHS boys regained the lead at 21-20 on a basket by Spratley. .Andrews followed with a twisting shot near the basket and the Cougars were up 24-20.
Moments later, Spratley stole the ball and scored and the Cougars led 26-22.
The Cyclones finished strong, building a 29-26 halftime lead.
The Cougars were unable to seize the lead in the third quarter, with Chester building a seven-point lead at one point.
The Cougars fought back, with Andrews' presence felt in a huge way.
The burly, 6-3, 220-pound sophomore had a monster slam at one end of the court. His shot rejection at the other end brought Cougar fans to their feet.
By the time the third quarter ended, the Cougars had sliced Chester's lead to 42-40, setting the stage for a fourth-quarter surge that pushed the YCHS team over the top.
Andres led a balanced scoring attack with 15 points. Spratley and Simpson each had 12 points and Castle finished in double-figures with 10. Kayion Schrouder rounded out the scoring with 8 points.
Tommy Sanders and Shaq Hinton each had 11 points for the Cyclones.
The Cougars avenged an earlier loss to Indian Land with a 71-65 road win.
Simpson poured in 25 points to pace the scoring and Andrews was next with 22 points. Rounding out the scoring, Schrouder finished with 13 points, Castle 8 and Matt Ransom 3.
The Cougars, 3-1 for the season, travel to Fort Mill Friday for double-header action, beginning with the girls game at 6:30 p.m. The boys game is slated for an 8 p.m. start.