HAMLET — The cross-county rivalry between the Hamlet and Rockingham middle school girls’ basketball teams turned into a defensive battle Tuesday.
In what became a low-scoring affair for both teams in front of a packed gym, it was the visiting Lady Rockets who walked away with a 24-13 victory on the Lady Red Rams’ home court. C’Nedra Hinson led Rockingham with six points, including two free throws in the fourth quarter.
Entering the game, the Lady Rockets were looking to keep their perfect season intact. With the win, head coach Teresa Mason’s team improved to 6-0 on the year, and is still the frontrunner in the Southeastern Middle School Athletic Conference standings.
On the other bench, head coach Deondra Morrison’s Lady Red Rams were looking to rebound from a loss against Carver Middle School last Thursday. Falling to the Lady Rockets handed them their second-straight loss, and fell to 4-2 after a 4-0 start to the season.
At the end of the first half, the Lady Rockets held a 12-6 lead. Rockingham scored six points in each of the first two quarters, with field goals from Keyoni Nichols, Edrianna Davis and Jamyia Lindsey in the first quarter.
Lindsey, C’Niya Hinson and C’Nedra Hinson all added two points to close out the half in the second six-minute period.
For the Lady Red Rams, Deveah Wall was the only player to net points in the first quarter with a field goal. Hamlet got its offense moving a little smoother in the second quarter when leading scoring Ryelan Lyerly dropped a bucket, along with Jamia Crowder netting two points.
The only quarter Hamlet managed to outscore Rockingham was the third stanza, by a tally of 6-5. Lyerly added four more points to her game-high seven, and Orena Drake added a field goal. At the end of the third, Rockingham’s lead was cut to 17-12.
The rally was short-lived, as Rockingham took care of business down the stretch and outscored the Lady Red Rams 7-1 in the closing quarter. Nichols and C’Nedra Hinson tacked on free throws to ice the game.
“There was a lot on the line today,” Mason said after the game. “An undefeated season, playoff standings and home-court advantage. The girls knew that this was the most important game they had played thus far because Hamlet was fighting for a tie for first place.
“I was so proud of the way they played and the way they kept their composure under pressure,” she concluded. “They were able to make key plays when it counted the most.”
Lindsey and Nichols each ended the game with five points behind C’Nedra Hinson’s six points. C’Niya Hinson added four more. Three other Lady Red Rams finished with two points apiece behind Lyerly’s seven.
The Lady Rockets will head to East Hoke Middle School Thursday, while Hamlet will look to end its skid on the road at Anson Middle School the same day. Tip-offs are slated for 4 p.m.