CLOVER — The Lady Blue Eagles of Clover High School gave unbeaten Lancaster all it could handle before the Lady Bruins pulled away with a 50-40 win Saturday evening.
The Clover girls battled the state’s No. 7-rated team on near-even terms in the first half, with Lancaster clinging to a 28-26 lead as the teams headed for the locker rooms.
Lady Blue Eagles coach Kiki Walker said playing closely-contested back-to-back games against Nation Ford and Lancaster could have taken its toll in the second half against the Lady Bruins.
“I didn’t think we came out with the intensity in the second half that we played with in the first half,” Walker said after the game; however, she said, “I am proud of our team. I can’t say enough about how hard they play. Lancaster is a great team.”
The Lady Blue Eagles built an early 5-2 lead against Lancaster, with senior playmaking guard Zasu Carpenter and junior post player Elizabeth Edmunds scoring.
With Clover trailing 11-5 midway through the first quarter, Shay Hall’s basket and Telliya Patton’s free throws tied the score at 11. Another free throw by Patton pushed Clover ahead by one.
But Lancaster had the final say, clinging to a 15-12 lead as the first quarter ended.
The second quarter was closely contested. The Lady Bruins expanded their lead in the early moments to 20-12. But Clover answered with free throws by Sydney Sanders and Hall’s basket and free throws, trimming the lead to two at 20-18.
Each time Lancaster would go up by four, the Lady Blue Eagles had an answer.
Taylor Morneault scored on a driving layup on a nifty assist from Carpenter that ignited the home crowd.
Clover fell behind 28-22 late in the second quarter before Patton’s clutch free-throw shooting on a technical foul and a free throw by Edmunds sliced Lancaster’s lead to 28-26 at halftime.
The Lady Bruins used their size to stretch the lead to double digits in the third quarter, and it was more of the same in the fourth as Lancaster held on for the 10-point win.
Clover had several key baskets and free throws in the second half, but it wasn’t enough against one of the state’s elite teams.
Patton and Hall paced the scoring for the Lady Blue Eagles, each with 12 points. Carpenter scored seven points and had several key assists.
Clover picked up a key win in Region 3-AAAA, defeating Nation Ford 43-37 on Friday night.
Patton led the scoring for Clover with 14 points. Edmunds had another double-digit game with 10, and Sanders contributed eight.
Walker praised the Lady Blue Eagles play on the road. “Our kids fought back to win a tight game,” she said.
Walker said she is looking for renewed intensity and focus as the season winds down, and so is Edmunds, the team’s scoring leader: “We need to finish strong and put ourselves in a position to make the playoffs,” said Edmunds.
The Lady Blue Eagles host Fort Mill at 6:30 p.m. Friday before the boys’ game at 8 p.m. Next will be Rock Hill at home Tuesday before closing out the regular season at York on Feb. 14.