YORK — The York Comprehensive High School Cougar basketball team fought off Clover’s late-game rally to win 69-58 Monday night in Cougar Country.
The Cougars and rival Blue Eagles engaged in a closely-contested game in the first half, with both teams laying it on the line.
The teams were separated by a single point to start the second quarter, with the Cougars clinging to a 15-14 lead. With CJ Shannon leading, the Cougars expanded the lead in the third quarter to 46-29.
After Clover scored to open the fourth quarter, Bryson Stephenson answered for York, making the score 48-31. The Cougars maintained a double-digit lead until the midway point of the fourth quarter when Clover began to chip away at the lead.
Once the Blue Eagles cut the lead to single digits, they seemed to play with more confidence. York’s lead dwindled to 59-55 with 1:28 remaining in the game.
Clutch free throw shooting down the stretch enabled the Cougars to pull away and seal the win to the delight of York fans making their presence felt.
York’s familiar scoring duo, Deshaw Andrews and Daurice Simpson, led the scoring with 21 and 19 points, respectively.
First-year YCHS boys head coach Michael Dalton lauded the Cougar players for defeating Clover the second time this season.
“Our kids played hard,” Dalton said. “Clover rallied and we responded down the stretch for the win.”
Dalton labeled the Blue Eagles a well-coached team. “I am gaining a sense of how much the Clover game means to our team,” he said.
Said Dalton in assessing the season: “Our kids learned a lot this year and so did I.”
Dalton said seniors Jerome Pettiway, Shemar Wade, Taye McConnell and Josh McCoy provided outstanding leadership.
“We have a good nucleus returning next season,” he said. “We will take the remainder of February off.”
He said open gym will begin March 10 for basketball players who are not playing another sport. “Our players will spend time in the weight room,” said Dalton.