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Middle School Sports Report: Hamlet teams overcome deficits to sweep West Hoke; Cordova blanked by Carver

The Red Rams celebrate Paul McNeil's (20) 40-foot buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter Thursday.
Deon Cranford – The Richmond Observer.

Lady Red Rams survive scare

HAMLET – Deondra Morrison’s Lady Red Rams are the defending conference champions, and as such, will likely get everyone’s “A” game. 

Looking to upend Hamlet was a West Hoke Lady Tigers team which was coming off of a 44-15 victory over Cordova just three days prior.  When the two clashed on the hardwood Thursday, everyone in attendance was treated to a nail-biting, back-and-forth affair that came down to the game’s final shot. 

When the buzzer sounded, it was the Lady Red Rams celebrating a 36-34 win over visiting West Hoke.

At first, Hamlet appeared to be in some trouble.  The Lady Red Rams were limited to just six first-quarter points and trailed West Hoke 13-8 just moments into the second period.  That was the largest lead in the game for the Lady Tigers, and they didn’t get to enjoy it very long. 

Led by a 16-point first half performance by Ryelan Lyerly, the Lady Red Rams went on a 14-5 run to close out the second quarter and take a 22-18 lead into the break.

Throughout the second half, West Hoke managed to answer Hamlet’s attempts to pull away.  The Lady Tigers cut the lead to two points on a couple of occasions, but never managed to regain the lead. 

With nine seconds remaining, and trailing by only two points, West Hoke had one last opportunity.  After a three-point attempt rimmed out, the Lady Tigers hauled in back-to-back offensive rebounds before time ran out, but each put back attempt failed to hit its target.

Lyerly finished the game with 20 points for Hamlet, O’Rena Drake had eight points, Jamia Crowder netted six points and India Johnson netted two.

With the win, the Lady Red Rams move to 4-0 and into a tie for first place with rival Rockingham Middle School. They’ll travel to Carver Middle School on Thursday, Jan. 17, with tip of set for 4 p.m. 

Red Rams net a big comeback victory

HAMLET – Keith Parson’s Red Rams struggled early as well.  In the opening seven minutes, West Hoke stormed ahead to a 12-8 advantage. 

However, Hamlet only needed the final 51 seconds of the first quarter to flip the script and turn its four-point deficit into a four-point lead. 

The Red Rams put together a free throw and two layups from Xavier Wall and JV Drake to take a 13-12 lead with just eight seconds left in the first.  After West Hoke missed on the other end, the ball wound up in the hands of Paul McNeil, who launched a 40-footer that swished through the net as the first quarter buzzer sounded.

West Hoke took advantage of several Hamlet fouls and turnovers to outscore the Red Rams 17-7 in the second quarter and 14-11 in the third quarter to take a 43-34 lead into the final eight minutes. 


From there, McNeil and Drake took over.  The Red Ram duo combined to score 23 fourth-quarter points and the Hamlet defense limited the Tigers to just 10 points.  That run was just enough to erase the Tiger lead and earn Hamlet a huge 57-53 come-from-behind victory. 

McNeil led all scorers with 23 points, Drake followed with 14, Wall netted eight more, Jamarion Bryant and Tristan Wall each scored three point’s, and CC Wall, Z’Yion Baldwin and Ethan Locklear all chipped in with two points.

The Red Rams improve to 3-1 and will travel to Carver Middle School on Thursday, Jan. 17, to take on a very strong Eagles team at 5 p.m.

Cordova swept by Carver

LAUREL HILL – Despite coming away empty handed on the road at Carver Middle School, the Cordova Middle School boys’ and girls’ basketball teams gave a valiant effort against one of the best basketball programs in the conference.

In the girls’ game, the Lady Cavaliers (0-4) fell 32-21.  Although they only managed 21 points, they gave themselves a chance with a strong defensive performance keeping the deficit to single digits throughout most of the game. 

Janyla Harrington was the leading scorer for Cordova in the loss with 10 points. JaNiya Leak scored six points for the Lady Cavaliers and Deveah Wall added five more.

In the boys’ game, Cordova (1-3) managed to hang around against the Eagles, but fell just short on the wrong side of a 53-44 decision.  The 44 points scored by the Cavaliers is the most given up by Carver to any team this season.

Leading scorers for Cordova were Frazion Steele with 16 points, Jamaurion Wall had 11 points, Jamison Jones netted eight, Christopher Grey added seven, and Isaiah Lockhart chipped in with two.

The Cavaliers and Lady Cavaliers will travel to Rockingham Middle School on Thursday, Jan. 17, with game times of 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

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