YORK — First-year York Comprehensive High School boys’ basketball coach Michael Dalton was all smiles after his head coaching debut away from home last week.
With Indian Land feeling good about a 55-42 lead early in the third quarter, the Cougars came roaring back, scoring 35 points in the fourth to win 91-81.
With the score knotted at 70 with 4:33 left in the fourth quarter, junior guard Daurice Simpson’s steal and basket put the Cougars ahead to stay. After building a six-point lead, the Cougars responded with clutch free-throw shooting to seal the win.
Deshaw Andrews was more than the Warriors could handle, finishing with a game-high 26 points. Simpson contributed 18 points.
Dalton said to his players after the game, “I told you at the half to keep playing hard and it would kick in.”
The Cougars overcame a 13-point second-half deficit.
The warriors started the game with an 8-0 run, ignited by guard Darnell Rogers. With Andrews and teammate Josh McCoy leading the way, the Cougars cut into Indian Land’s lead, to trail 21-17 at the half.
The Cougars began the second quarter with a basket by Jerome Pettiway. Shemar Wade followed with two free throws to tie the score at 21; but the Warriors made another run, with Rogers distributing the ball when he wasn’t scoring off the penetration dribble.
Indian Land finished the second quarter up 44-34 and was ahead 65-56 at the end of the third. But the Cougars stayed within striking distance and had a remarkable fourth-quarter offensive explosion.
Andrews said after the game that, despite his scoring efforts, he’s still working his way into basketball shape.
He also credited teammates: “Markell (Castle) came off the bench and played well,” he said. “Daurice shot the ball well.”
“It was a good win to open the season. Everybody on the team was in the game.”
The Cougars fell to a speedy Chester team 99-74 on Friday. Simpson led the scoring with 28 points, with Andrews adding 20.
The Cyclones visit York at 8 p.m. Friday. The action begins 6:30 p.m., with the Lady Cougars hosting the Lady Cyclones in the first game.