CLOVER — After falling behind York 12-4 in the first quarter, the Clover High School Blue Eagles turned the game around in the third quarter to win 42-35 last week.
The Cougars expanded the lead to 16-5 in the second quarter, but the visiting Clover contingent then went on a run, as senior playmaking guard Taylor Hoover scored two key baskets, one off a steal.
The Blue Eagles trailed at halftime, 19-13.
York maintained the lead for much of the third quarter, until sophomore Bryce Allen’s basket put Clover ahead 25-24 with 2:55 left in the quarter.
The third quarter ended with a flurry of activity, including Allen’s clutch 3-pointer that extended Clover’s lead to 29-25, and 6-foot-7 sophomore Arnaldo Toro’s rejection of a York shot to end the quarter.
Hoover stole the ball and scored to open the fourth quarter, and Toro followed with a basket to push the lead to 33-27.
After York’s Daurice Simpson scored, Allen followed with a reverse layup in heavy traffic.
“I was nervous at first but got into the flow of the game and shot the ball with confidence,” Allen said after the game.
“The rivalry with York made it exciting.”
Jevon Blake later scored to put the Blue Eagles up 37-31 with less than two minutes remaining.
But the Cougars’ Lamin Yansaneh scored with less than a minute left, whittling the lead to 38-35.
Clover pushed that lead to 40-35 when Alex Thompson scored with 37.8 seconds left.
Toro and Ladarius Adams converted free throws to seal the win.
Blue Eagle head coach Bailey Jackson said defense made the difference in the low-scoring game.
“Allen made some big shots and Adams had a strong defensive game,” Jackson said.
“We executed the offense at crucial stages of the game.”
Toro paced the scoring for Clover with 10 points.
Allen and Hoover each scored eight points.
York head coach Larry Dixon said a lack of experience showed at critical stages of the game, particularly down the stretch.
“Turnovers were costly,” Dixon said.
“We began taking quick shots and got away from the flow and the rotation that helped us build the lead.”
Maurice Simpson paced the scoring for the Cougars with 12 points.
Markell Castle scored eight; DeShaw Andrews six; Tawaun Neely five; and Josh McCoy and Kaiyon Schrouder had two points each.
Earlier in the week, Northwestern used a 14-point run in the third quarter to defeat the Blue Eagles 66-46.
“We have kids that still lack experience at the varsity level,” said Jackson after the loss to Northwestern.
“They are learning to get back on defense and things like that.”
“We have several experienced players and others that have moved up to the varsity after competing at the JV level,” he said.
“The kids are working hard. There’s no lack of effort.”
Hoover, who led the scoring with 14 points, said he tries to lead by example.
“We need to step it up on the defensive end,” he said.
The Blue Eagles travel to South Pointe on Friday for an 8 p.m. game against the Stallions.