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Basketball Playoffs: 5 Richmond County teams make cut, Lady Rockets No. 1 seed

RICHMOND COUNTY — The middle school boys’ and girls’ basketball playoff brackets have been finalized and five of Richmond County’s eight teams made the cut.

Making a return to the playoffs this season are the Hamlet Middle School boys’ and girls’ teams, along with the Rockingham Middle School boys’ and girls’ squads. 

Also representing Richmond County in the Southeastern Middle School Athletic Conference postseason tournament is the Cordova Middle School boys’ team.

Lady Rockets grab No. 1 seed, Rockets tabbed No. 2

The Rockingham teams were the top two Richmond County teams to finish the regular season, as both will receive a first-round bye.

Head coach Teresa Mason and the Lady Rockets finished a perfect 9-0, which gave the Rockingham girls the No. 1 seed. In boys’ action, head coach Julius Bowden and the Rockets recorded an 8-1 record, losing only to top seed West Hoke Middle School (9-0).

A season ago, the Lady Rockets also had the No. 1 seed and won their two playoff games, capping a perfect season with a championship game win over rival Hamlet. Rockingham has won seven of the last eight SEMSAC titles.

The Rockets will look to make it past the second round after suffering a “heartbreaking” playoff loss to Carver Middle School last season as the No. 3 seed. 

Both teams won’t play until Monday. The Lady Rockets will get the winner of No. 4 Carver Middle School (6-3) and No. 5 West Hoke Middle School (5-4), while the Rockets will host the winner of the No. 6 Carver (4-5) and No. 3 Cordova (6-2) matchup.

Hamlet girls seek return to title game, Red Rams looking for strong run

The Lady Red Rams (7-2) will look to return to the SEMSAC championship game like they did last season, when they lost to rival Rockingham. Head coach Mitch Coe and his team have been riding a hot streak down the stretch, and will host No. 6 East Hoke Middle School (4-5) on Thursday at 4 p.m.

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If the Lady Red Rams were to win, they would travel to face No. 2 Sandy Grove Middle School next week, a team they lost to in Week 2.

Like the Rockingham boys’ team, the Red Rams and head coach Keith Parsons will attempt to make it past the second round this season. Last winter, the Red Rams lost to then top-seeded East Hoke in the semifinals.

This year, No. 4 Hamlet will welcome in No. 5 Sandy Grove Middle School (5-4). Earlier this winter, the Red Rams earned a 47-36 win over the Panthers on the road. Tipoff between the two teams is set for around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The winner of that game will hit the road to play No. 1 West Hoke next week.

Cordova boys back in the playoffs

The Cordova Cavaliers have made the postseason for the first time in three years since becoming a school. This year’s team impressed behind the likes of Jamarion Wall and Jamison Jones to earn the No. 3 seed. 

At 6-2 on the year, the Cavs will play host to No. 6 Carver (4-5) on Thursday at 4:15 p.m. The winner will travel to No. 2 Rockingham in the second round.

Note: The Cordova girls and Ellerbe boys’ and girls’ teams didn’t qualify for the single-elimination postseason tournament. ROSports will provide coverage for each game this postseason. Deon Cranford contributed to this article.

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Kyle Pillar is a nine-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.