CLOVER — The Clover High School girls basketball team is still making noise in Region 3-AAAA, and head coach Sherer Hopkins wants the Lady Blue Eagles to remain focused as region play winds down.
Such was the case in a rare Saturday evening home game, scheduled when Friday’s game was due to inclement weather. After a sluggish start, the CHS girls cranked it up in the second quarter and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way in defeating Nation Ford 46-30.
Both teams were unable to find the range in the early going, until senior point guard Aaliyah Knox scored to push the Clover team ahead 2-0 with just under three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
“Both teams started slow,” Hopkins said. “It was a typical Saturday game where the kids were out of their normal routine and made adjustments. We had to get back to playing our game.”
The Lady Blue Eagles found their niche in the second quarter, building a 16-8 halftime lead.
After the visitors from Falcon Country tied the score to start the quarter, sophomore post player Elizabeth Edmunds put the CHS girls back on top, a lead they would not relinquish the remainder of the game.
Moments later, Knox stole the ball and scored. Senior guard Ashia Good followed with a basket and the Lady Blue Eagles were clicking on all cylinders.
“Several of our teammates were out hurt and players had to step up,” said Good. “We responded to a slow start and built the lead in the second quarter.”
Good has assumed a leadership role her final season, reaching out to the less experienced players on the team.
“I play with confidence and want to contribute to the team any way I can,” she noted. “We need to play hard in our remaining games to get where we want to be in the region.”
The Lady Blue Eagles picked up where they left off in the second half. Once again, Edmunds initiated the scoring spree, followed by a basket by Good, and suddenly, Clover was up 20-8.
Utilizing slick ball movement and pinpoint passing, the home team expanded the lead midway through the third quarter.
After a basket by Breshayla Hall, Good drove the lane and scored, tacking on a free throw for a three-point play.
Hall and Ryehia Robbins contributed to the scoring spree as the Lady Blue Eagles led 37-18 to begin the fourth quarter.
Hopkins emptied the bench the remainder of the game, rotating players in and out.
The Lady Falcons were able to cut into the lead in the fourth quarter with hot-shooting Taylor Yarborough leading the way.
Yarborough, one of the region’s top players, displayed the shooting form that enabled the junior standout to score 32 points in a narrow win over York.
Robbins and Knox each scored eight points to lead Clover in the scoring column.
While pleased with the team’s performance on both ends of the floor, Hopkins is looking for more of the same in the remaining regular season games to be played.
“We will take the games one at a time and continue to stress defense,” the CHS coach said.
The Lady Blue Eagles, the defending region champs, and other teams are chasing Northwestern, which is perched atop the Region 3-AAAA standings.
“Anything can happen in region play,” noted Hopkins. “We need to win games and see what happens.”
What happens next is a trip to Fort Mill Friday to battle the Lady Yellow Jackets. The action begins at 6:30 p.m., with the boys game to follow.