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Playing with confidence and swagger on the road, the Lady Cougar cagers of York Comprehensive High School defeated Fort Mill 51-47 in a Region 3-AAAA thriller last Friday.
With head coach Paula Blackwell at home battling the flu bug, assistant coach Kristi Kemp decided to make the Lady Yellow Jackets battle the full-court press to start the second half.
With the YCHS girls trailing 26-18 at the half, Kemp’s strategic move had game-changing results as Fort Mill struggled to break the press.
Consecutive baskets by sophomores Taylor Sharp and Carrie Lee Lancaster sliced the lead to four points.
Moments later, with the Lady Cougars trailing 28-25, Lancaster hit a pair of free throws and followed with a three-point play, staking York to a 30-28 lead.
Kelondra Lytle drilled a 3-pointer, expanding the lead to 33-28. Lancaster followed with another power move inside and the Lady Cougars were up 35-28.
Fort Mill battled back and trailed by only two points as the third quarter ended.
The Lady Jackets knotted the score at 37-all to start the fourth quarter.
Lytle, Alawna Orr and Lancaster scored consecutive baskets and the YCHS team never relinquished the lead.
The game was still in doubt with 14.7 seconds left and York clinging to a 49-47 lead.
Free throws by Ke’Atra Jamison and ReRe Dervin in the waning seconds sealed the win.
“It was a total team win,” Kemp said after the game. “Our bench players were into the game, communicating with their teammates on the court.”
Added Kemp, “The full-court pressure in the second half had Fort Mill off balance. The kids responded and we beat a team we lost to at home.
“When we get the ball to Carrie Lee inside, we’re hard to stop.”
Lancaster and Dervin were all smiles after the game.
“When my teammates get me the ball inside, it gives me the advantage,” observed Lancaster. “This is a big win on the road with so many players contributing.”
Said senior floor leader Dervin, “We responded to the pressure with the game on the line. We wanted it.”
Lancaster paced the scoring with 22 points. Lytle finished with 11 points and Dervin had 7.
The Lady Cougars lost their first game of the season 51-46 to Nation Ford, with Lancaster scoring 16 points.
After spending Christmas with their families, the YCHS girls shift their focus to hosting the Bank of York/Wing Bonz Girls Basketball Tournament to be held Dec. 27-28.
The action begins Dec. 27 with four games to set the tone in the YCHS main gym.
South Pointe and West Mecklenburg get things started at 10 a.m., followed by Greenwood and Gaffney at 11:30 a.m.
The afternoon session begins with the Lady Cougars pitted against Broome at 1 p.m. and Irmo and Ashbrook to follow at 2:30 p.m.
The winners advance to the winner’s bracket in the main gym, with the losers competing in the consolation bracket in the auxiliary gym.
The consolation championship game will be played Dec. 28 in the main gym at 1 p.m. followed by the winner’s bracket title game at 2:30 p.m.
The Bank of York/Wing Bonz Junior Varsity Tournament begins Dec. 27, with Northwestern facing Gaffney at 11 a.m. in the auxiliary gym. York and South Pointe will play at 12:30 p.m.
The junior varsity consolation bracket championship game will be played Dec. 28 at 11 a.m., with the winner’s bracket title game to be held at 12:30 p.m.