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Talk to members of the York Comprehensive High School girls basketball team and they will tell you that teammates are meshing together and the mindset is positive.
A depleted roster for one reason or another hasn’t dampened the spirits of the varsity Lady Cougars.
Such was the case last Friday when the YCHS girls had the lead in the third quarter before giving way to a sensational shooting performance by Nation Ford’s Taylor Yarborough.
The sharp-shooting guard scored 33 of the Lady Falcons’ 39 points as Nation Ford pulled away from the Lady Cougars in the fourth quarter for the 39-23 win.
The visitors from York gave the Nation Ford girls all they wanted in the first half, building a 16-14 lead at intermission.
All-Region candidate Carrie Lee Lancaster closed the first half with a flurry, rejecting a shot on one end of the court and scoring York’s final basket of the half from close range on the other end.
YCHS head coach Paula Blackwell lauded the team’s gritty effort in her observations after the game.
“We had great defensive intensity,” said Blackwell. “Alawna Orr did an outstanding job running the team.
“It was a total team effort on both ends of the floor.”
Blackwell said players are stepping up in game situations.
“That’s what we’re looking for,” she said. “The kids are buying into what we tell them to do.
“We’re looking for more of the same the remainder of the season.”
Orr, a senior floor leader who dictates the flow of the game with adept ball-handling skills, has taken her game to another level.
“I have confidence on the court and will take the ball to the hoop when the opportunity is there,” Orr said of her extended role in guiding the team. “I want to provide senior leadership on the court.”
Added Orr, “We are playing together as a team. If we keep hustling, good things will happen.”
Lancaster, who finished with a team-high 15 points and four blocked shots, spoke in positive tones after the game.
“We had a solid effort from every player on the team tonight,” she said. “All of the players are hustling, playing together and having fun.
“I want to win, but I’d rather lose and have fun than to win miserably.”
Said Lancaster, “I am proud of every player on the team.”
The Lady Cougars built an 8-2 first-quarter lead against the home-standing Lady Falcons.
Aubrey Wood, a sophomore whose defensive tenacity makes her presence felt, got things started with a 15-footer that put York up 2-0.
After Nation Ford tied the score, Orr followed for a 4-2 lead. Lancaster closed out the first-quarter scoring with a basket and a pair of free throws.
Following a pair of baskets by Yarborough that sliced the lead to two points to open the second quarter, Orr put York ahead 10-6.
Lancaster made it 12-8 after blocking a shot on the defensive end.
The Lady Cougar post player scored the next basket on a nice feed from Orr before closing out the firs- half scoring with another basket.
Lancaster paced the scoring with 15 points and Orr had four points. Wood scored two points and junior playmaking guard Hannah Cassell had York’s final basket from near 3-point range.
The Lady Cougars host Fort Mill Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The second game of the double-header action will have the Cougars pitted against the Fort Mill boys at 8 p.m. in the friendly confines of the YCHS main gym.