CLOVER — The Clover High Blue Eagles boys’ basketball team held on down the stretch to defeat visiting Nation Ford 42-38 in the Region 3-AAAA opener for both teams.
The Blue Eagles trailed 28-25 after three quarters but held the lead in the fourth quarter.
Alex Thompson got things started with a 3-pointer, knotting the score at 28. Later, with Clover trailing 34-31, John Wilson’s 3-pointer made it 34-all.
Ladarius Adams’ score staked the Blue Eagles to a 36-34 lead; but Nation Ford answered, regaining the lead 38-36 until Alex Thompson’s two free throws tied the game.
Clutch free-throw shooting by R.J. Moore and Bryce Allen down the stretch sealed the win.
Head coach Bailey Jackson said the game was ugly at times but that he was pleased nonetheless. “We’ve won five of six games,” Jackson said. “We have inexperienced players who are still learning the game.”
“I thought John Wilson stepped up tonight,” he said. “We held our opponent to 38 points and forced turnovers. I’ll take it.”
“I wanted to step up,” said Wilson after the game. “I have confidence in my shot.”
Alex Thompson, who paced a balanced scoring attack with 9 points, credited teammate Ratwan Pitts for stepping up.
The teams traded baskets in a first quarter that ended deadlocked at 11.
Thompson, junior pivot-man Austin Stone and Aaron Miller scored key first-quarter baskets for the Blue Eagles. CHS built a five-point lead in the second quarter, beginning with Pitts’ 3-pointer to open.
Later, with the Blue Eagles trailing 15-14, Thompson’s basket pushed Clover ahead 16-15.
Moore’s basket stretched the lead to 18-15, and Thompson’s tip-in built the lead to five at 20-15.
Clover’s scoring totals: Thompson, 9; Moore, 8; Wilson, 6; Bryce Allen, 5; Stone, 5; Aaron Milner, 4; Pitts, 3; and Ladarius Adams, 2.
The Blue Eagles defeated Spartanburg Christian 60-58 to win the Battle of the Border Tournament on Dec. 26-28 in Landrum.
Clover also defeated Boiling Springs and Woodruff, with Thompson and Allen receiving all-tournament recognition.