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Middle Schools Sports Report: Girls Basketball

Rockingham's AAliyah Bethea is guarded by Ellerbe's Leslie Santiago and Kenley Smith. (Deon Cranford)

Lady Rockets move to 3-0 on the season

On Monday, Rockingham’s girls’ basketball team hosted Carver in its season opener.  It was another physical, defensive game for Rockingham after its hard-fought season-opening road win last week at West Hoke Middle, but the Lady Rockets were victorious 25-18.

Carver’s Khloe Radford scored the first four points of the game. Her early efforts combined with a 3-pointer from Zamiyah Watson and a putback from Asia Hicks helped to give the Lady Eagles 10-8 lead midway through the second quarter.

Rockingham’s Madisen Jackson took over from there.  She scored the next 9 points for the Lady Rockets and Kaniah Little added a layup, capping an 11-1 run that carried over into the second half.  That was halted by a three-pointer by Radford with 10 seconds left in the third quarter, but the Lady Rockets ballooned the lead to double-digits, 24-14, in the second half and held on for the win.

For Rockingham, Jackson finished with 17 points, while Little, Kaylan Parsons, Audicy Rush, and Addison Butler each scored 2 points.  Radford netted 9 points for Carver, with Hicks adding 4, Watson scoring 3, and Nora Teasley finishing with 2.

On Wednesday, Rockingham traveled to Ellerbe for the first game of the season between two in-county schools.

Ellerbe entered the game 0-2 after dropping its season opener on the road last week at Carver and falling to East Hoke Middle 23-14 on Monday in a game that they were leading in the second quarter.  Defensively, the Lady Wildcats are scrappy, but struggle to score, which continued into its showdown with Rockingham.

Despite forcing several turnovers, Rockingham used its speed and ability to attack the paint to shoot out to an early 12-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.  Rockingham’s first five baskets were scored by different players (Jackson, Little, Rush, Butler and Erin Drumwright).

Rockingham held on for a convincing 28-6 win.

Jackson finished with a game-high 11 points, Butler had 6, Little netted 5, and Rush, Drumwright, and Za’Ryah Williams each scored 2.

For the Lady Wildcats, Kenley Smith and Leslie Santiago each scored 2 while Kaylee Conner and Tanaja Harrison scored 1-apiece.

Rockingham (3-0) will next host Spring Hill on Jan. 12, while Ellerbe (0-3) not play again until January 19 when it travels to Anson Middle.

Hamlet splits in its opening week

Amonie McNeil scored 34 points in Hamlet’s first two games. (Deon Cranford/The Richmond Observer)

The Lady Red Rams of Hamlet Middle School started their 2022-23 basketball season with a 26-15 road win at Sandy Grove Middle School. 

Hamlet’s Amonie McNeil scored more than the Lady Panthers did as a team finishing with 19 points on the day.  Mackenzie Quick netted 3 points while Kellie Gomez and Dezyre Wilson each had 2.


“We are very proud of how our ladies played from tipoff to the end of the game,” Coaches Dorothy Hall and Anthony Hailey shared in a joint email following the game.  “Amonie gave us a spark with several steals leading to easy layups.  Down low, Desire played a huge role for us grabbing several rebounds which gave us the opportunity to score some fast break points.

“Our bench played an important role as well, causing several turnovers throughout the game. We are proud of these ladies and looking forward to seeing their improvement the rest of the season.”

On Thursday, the Lady Red Rams dopped a heart-breaking 24-23 decision to Spring Hill in its home opener.  Both teams played strong defensively with only 26 of the 50 combined first half possessions even ending a shot attempt and only 11 shots being netted.

After being outscored 6-0 in the opening quarter, Hamlet turned the tables and went on a 14-2 run in the second to take a 14-8 lead into the break.  McNeil scored 10 of the 14 points during the run with 8 of those coming off of fast break baskets following Spring Hill turnovers.

Spring Hill answered with another run of its own in the second half taking a 24-18 lead with just 9:50 left in the game.  Hamlet rallied in the final moments, but was one point short when time expired.

McNeil finished with 15, Kenya Bailey scored 4, Dezyre Wilson netted 3 and Mackenzie Quick added 2.

Hamlet (1-1) will travel to West Hoke on January 9.

Note: Anthony Hailey, Grover McDonald and Katie Quick provided stats and information.

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