CLOVER — Clover boys’ basketball coach Bailey Jackson knew the South Pointe Stallions would bring a potent offense against the Blue Eagles on Friday, and he was right.
South Pointe, one of the top teams in the Upstate and a legitimate contender for the 4A state championship, bolted to a 21-8 first-quarter lead and maintained a double-digit lead throughout the game, winning 56-44.
“South Pointe is one of the top teams in the state and a state championship contender,” said Jackson after the game. “They are quick and fast.”
In an earlier game Friday, the Lady Blue Eagles put up a tough fight before falling to South Pointe 55-43 in Region 3-AAAA action.
Jackson praised the CHS boys for staying within striking distance for much of the game. The Stallions began the fourth quarter leading 46-29 in hopes of putting the game away.
A pair of free throws by Ladarius Adams cut into the lead, but South Pointe answered, expanding the lead to 50-33 midway through the final quarter.
Clover’s Noah Lindsay went on a free-throw-shooting binge, and suddenly the Blue Eagles were within 12, at 50-38. Bryce Allen later converted two free throws from a technical foul, and South Pointe’s lead was 54-44.
The Stallions made the final basket to seal the 12-point win.
Alex Thompson paced the scoring for Clover with nine points. Allen finished with seven points and Adams had six.
“I was proud of the effort,” said Jackson. “We cut the lead to 10 in the second half and had an opportunity to cut it to eight.”
With the region entering its stretch, Jackson said, there are opportunities. “We could go 5-1, 4-2 or 6-0,” he said. “You never know. As long as our kids are learning and giving great effort, I am happy.”
The boys’ and girls’ teams travel to Nation Ford on Friday to battle the Falcons. The girls’ teams will get things started at 6:30 p.m. and the boys play at 8 p.m.
Lady Blue Eagles
The Lady Blue Eagles stayed within striking distance of the Lady Stallions, who assumed the lead from the start and pulled away in the second quarter.
“They had an 11-point lead at the half,” said coach Kiki Walker. “We cut the lead to six in the second half but couldn’t get over the hump. We were unable to dig out of a hole.”
Walker, a former Lady Blue Eagle standout, said she was proud of the effort. “South Pointe is a great team,” she said. “They are the No. 2 team in the region.”
“We need to work on the little things and be ready to play every night in the region,” Walker said.
With Clover trailing 44-34 with 4:02 remaining in the fourth quarter, senior post player Telliya Patton’s power move to the basket sliced the lead to single digits, 44-36.
South Pointe scored the next two baskets to make it 48-36.
A free throw by Mecca Byrd made it an 11-point lead, but the CHS girls were unable to trim the lead to single digits as South Pointe converted free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.
Elizabeth Edmunds paced the scoring for Clover with 11 points. Patton finished in double figures with 10 points, while Sydney Sanders had nine and Shay Hall scored eight.