YORK — The young York Comprehensive High School girls’ basketball team opened a new season with a narrow 47-42 road loss to Indian Land last week.
The Lady Cougars were playing without all-region post player Carrie Lee Lancaster, a junior recovering from a concussion. Lancaster left the game as a precaution after a bump to the head in the first quarter.
Senior playmaking guard Hannah Cassell also is recovering from a concussion and is expected to return soon.
Despite the loss of key players and a youth movement unlike any other in previous seasons, the Lady Cougars extended host Indian Land to the final minute before the Lady Warriors sealed the win.
“There were times when we had five ninth-graders on the court,” said head coach Paula Blackwell after the game.
“We missed Carrie Lee,” Blackwell said. “She’s our top scorer and rebounder, who made all-region last year.”
However, “our kids responded to the challenge,” she said. “It was a good learning experience, an opportunity for players to step up. Makala (Love) showed leadership and Meg (McGarity) shot the ball well.”
Love paced the scoring with 13 points; McGarity had 11.
Another freshman, Heather Pumphrey, made her presence felt under the boards with nine rebounds.
“I am a power forward,” Pumphrey said after the game. “I play the game aggressively, but I need to improve my shot.”
After falling behind 15-9 in the first quarter, the Lady Cougars closed the gap in the second . With York trailing 24-15 late in the second quarter, a spin move by Pumphrey and Love’s free throw sliced the lead to six.
McGarity’s three-pointer made it a one-possession game at the half, with York trailing 24-21.
The third quarter was closely contested. Late in the quarter, with the Lady Cougars trailing 32-27, Pumphrey had a putback and Love nailed a momentum-changing buzzer-beater.
Freshman guard Corri Peeler knotted the score at 34-all to start the fourth quarter.
After Indian Land regained the lead, Love drove to the hoop for a basket and drew the foul. She converted the free throw to put York up 37-36.
Later, a clutch shot by McGarity pushed the Lady Cougars’ lead to 41-37. But Indian Land came back to win by five.
Continuing to play with a depleted lineup, York fell to Chester 71-25 on Friday. Pumphrey scored seven points; Peeler and Najha Feemster each scored six.
The YCHS girls host Chester on Friday at 6:30 p.m., with the boys’ game to follow at 8p.m.