CLOVER — The Lady Blue Eagles pushed themselves to the limit in the Clover Optimist Basketball Tournament.
The CHS girls advanced to the championship game of the Gray Division, with Lancaster pulling away in the fourth quarter to win, 48-35.
Clover trailed 30-27 in the latter stages of the third quarter until the Lady Bruins expanded the lead to double digits in the fourth quarter.
Elizabeth Edmunds, an all-region performer who led Clover in scoring and rebounding last season, nailed a three-pointer to slice the lead to 37-30. Later, with the Lady Bruins up 13, Edmunds converted another three-pointer to cut the lead to 10.
But visiting Lancaster went on another run in the final minutes to seal the win.
Edmunds was more than Lancaster could handle, scoring 21 points.
Senior post player Telliya Patton, who made her presence felt on offense and defense, was second in scoring for the Lady Blue Eagles with eight points.
Patton has been a varsity contributor since eighth grade and is one of the premier post players in the region. “I’m all about defense and rebounding,” said Patton. “That’s how you win games. We score points off aggressive defensive play.”
“We’re looking forward to the regular season,” she said. “I feel good about this team’s potential.”
Clover battled its way into the finals with a win against Seneca earlier in the day, while Lancaster defeated Fort Mill to reach the championship game.
Earlier in the tournament, CHS withstood a challenge from a well-prepared Fort Mill team. With three minutes left and the teams even at 36, Clover pulled away to win 41-37.
Katelynn Kipp and Shay Hall paced the scoring for the Lady Blue Eagles. Kipp led the way with 12 points and Hall had an 11-point effort.
CHS head coach Sherer Hopkins said she looks for the Lady Blue Eagles to benefit from the three-day tournament experience.
“We like hosting a tournament with this many teams involved,” Hopkins said. “It helps our team prepare for the regular season in all phases of the game.”
Hopkins also said the Blue Eagles are able to compete against different styles in the annual event. “It’s a chance to evaluate our players before regular-season play begins,” she said.
The Lady Blue Eagles will open a new season Friday when Hunter Huss comes to town, beginning 6:30 p.m. in the new gym. In the evening’s second game, slated for 8 p.m., coach Bailey Jackson’s Blue Eagles boys will host Gastonia-based Hunter Huss.
Both CHS teams will be on the road Tuesday to face Gastonia Ashbrook. The doubleheader will begin 6:30 p.m., with the Lady Blue Eagles pitted against the Ashbrook girls.
The Blue Eagles will square off against the Asbrook boys’ team in the second game at 8 p.m.
Both CHS varsity teams will have a busy December schedule, ending with the Landrum basketball tournament, a three-day event beginning Dec. 26.