Sports celebrations in 2013

From staff reportsJanuary 3, 2014 

In 2013, local sports teams made divisional victories and even history. Some of the highlights included:

New sport

The Clover Blue Eagles were the latest York County High School to field a lacrosse team with the sport making its debut in Memorial Stadium in February.

The first-ever storming the field in celebration of a 9-2 conquest of visiting Nation Ford.

Clover High is fielding boys’ and girls’ JV lacrosse teams in the school’s debut season of a sport. This year’s team consisted of players from seventh through 10th grades. In the 2013-14 school year, Clover will add the 11th grade. The first varsity team will start in two years.

Team captains Riley Crysler, Dante Redfern and Griffin Bailey were all smiles after the win over Nation Ford.

“Lacrosse is more fast-paced than soccer,” said team captain and sophomore Riley Crysler. “It has more of an offensive flow. I love the sport.”

For those unfamiliar with lacrosse, coach Matt Lindner compares the international sport to basketball.

“Interest in lacrosse is growing locally and across the state. Fort Mill’s state championship performance against J. L. Mann drew attention to the sport here in York County,” said Carroll Hester, CHS athletic director. “Lacrosse is a growing sport. There are a good many kids showing an interest in the sport and participating in club lacrosse.”

Olympic High makes history

In 47 years, Olympic High School had never won a major sports state championship. That’s history now.

The Trojans basketball team held off Raleigh Broughton 56-53 for the N.C. 4A championship in March , ending nearly five decades of frustration.

“It feels so good. All our hard work has paid off, going to the gym, to the weight room and just being together as a family,” said Olympic senior point guard Jevon Patton. “Man, 30-0. That’s something as you get older, you can get together and talk about.”

“I don’t think it was nerves at all,” Trojans coach Ty Baumgardner said, fighting back tears in the postgame media session. “I think it was a combination of them going after (offensive rebounds) and us standing around and not blocking out and tracking the ball down. Free throw-wise, we’ve got some great shooters, but if you look at our free throw percentage as a team for the year, it wasn’t that great.”

Olympic worked to a 44-36 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Broughton point guard, an Appalachian State recruit, simply willed his team back into the game. He finished with 23 points, on 9-of-25 shooting, and had seven rebounds, six assists and two steals.

Devonte’ Graham scored 11 of his team’s final 14 points. With about two minutes to play, he made his only 3-pointer of the game. That tied the score at 48, and Olympic needed to make free throws to win. The Trojans made eight of their final 10, including 6-for-6 from championship game MVP Deriece Parks (19 points) and CJ Jackson (17 points, four rebounds). Jackson made two with 20 seconds left for a 54-50 lead and two more with one second left for the final margin.

For the game, Parks and Jackson made 11-of-12 free throw attempts and 7-of-15 3-point attempts.

Olympic’s players made a big pile across from their bench. Everyone’s mouth seemed to come agape at the same time.

Their look said it all: “We did it.”

Finally. After 47 years.

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