Monday, 11 February 2019 21:54

No. 3 Rockets lose "heartbreaking" playoff game at No. 2 Carver as season comes to an end

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Zion Baldwin (5) scored a team-high 16 points in the Rockets' playoff loss at Carver on Monday. Zion Baldwin (5) scored a team-high 16 points in the Rockets' playoff loss at Carver on Monday. Deon Cranford — The Richmond Observer.

LAUREL HILL In the boys’ playoff bracket, the No. 3 Rockingham Middle School Rockets were looking to make the championship game after beginning the season 0-2. On the road at No. 2 Carver Middle School Monday, Rockingham was edged by the Eagles 53-50, ending its playoff hopes.

Zion Baldwin led the Rockets in scoring with 16 points, and got 14 more from teammate Dakota Chavis. Jaden Jenks and Talan Stoner both added eight pints in the loss, as Emmanuel Gilliam rounded out the scoring with four points of his own.

“It was a heartbreaking loss tonight, but I couldn’t be more proud of my guys because they played with heart and pure passion,” head coach Julius Bowden said. “I told them to leave everything within them on the court tonight so that whatever happened, we can still would off with our heads held high. And that’s what we did the whole game.

“Ill shoulder any blame for the loss because the guys did exactly what they were told,” Bowden added.

The Rockets (6-4) used a four-game winning streak in the middle of the season to make a push for the playoffs. And while Bowden’s team came up just short of playing for a title, the first-year head coach is still calling his season a success.

“The season started out rough,” Bowden said. “We had a new coach, new players and 17 different personalities to learn. I’m a firm believer in the quote ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’.

“Once I shifted my focus on just trying to win games to building a relationship with my players, we all began to gel together as a team and went on a four-game winning streak,” he added. “The guys fought hard all year and we had to overcome some obstacles, but they never gave up -- not one time.”

No. 2 Carver will head to No. 1 East Hoke Middle School Thursday to determine the 2019 Southeastern Middle School Athletic Conference title. East Hoke knocked off Hamlet to advance Monday.

“We had the best assistant coach in Coach Keith,” Bowden closed. “I really appreciate the parents for all their support and encouragement throughout the season.”

Last modified on Monday, 11 February 2019 22:08
Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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