Friday, 24 January 2020 00:07

Rockets rout East Hoke behind 25 points from McNeil

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Rockingham's Paul McNeil (2) scored a game-high 25 points in the Rockets' win over East Hoke. Rockingham's Paul McNeil (2) scored a game-high 25 points in the Rockets' win over East Hoke. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — It was all gas and no breaks for the Rockingham Middle School boys’ basketball team against East Hoke on Thursday.

Fresh off an exciting win over rival Hamlet on Tuesday, the Rockets were fueled by a 25-point scoring performance from eighth grade forward Paul McNeil. 

Rockingham’s offense overpowered the Eagles, as the home team secured a 69-14 win.

McNeil was a force in the first half, netting 23 of his 25 points before halftime. He got off to a fast start, netting 16 points in the first quarter, all but two coming on field goals.

Fellow eighth grader Jada Zimmerman contributed 15 points in the win, netting nine in the third quarter. Seventh grader Keyonta Davis chipped in seven points, while AJ Covington rounded out the team’s top scorers with six points.

Jordyn Covington and Ahaiver McDonald both collected four points, while teammates Keidreion Crump, James Eason, Jaziah Liles and Bobby Little all added two points.

“My guys played with a lot of energy tonight,” head coach Julius Bowden commented. “I was pleased with our energy on defense. Jordyn, AJ and Ahavier played big minutes for us tonight.”

Rockingham nearly doubled East Hoke’s point total in the first quarter alone, rolling out to a 26-4 lead. Adding to McNeil’s 16 points in the frame was Zimmerman with four points, all coming on field goals.

Davis got on the board for the first time with a bucket, while Eason and Liles contributed their two respective points early.

Twelve more points in the second period, seven from McNeil, opened the game up 38-6 at the half. McDonald and Zimmerman recorded a basket each, while Jordyn Covington pushed through a free throw.

East Hoke’s highest scoring period came in the third, as the Eagles put five points up on the scoresheet. But Zimmerman outdid them by himself, hitting three field goals and a three-pointer. 

Jordyn Covington also splashed home a three-pointer, McNeil ended his scoring with a field goal and Little connected on both of his free throw attempts to cap the 16-point frame.

Rockingham netted 15 points in the final stanza for good measure, starting with a team-best six points from AJ Covington. Davis ended his night with a shot from downtown and a field goal, and Crump and McDonald each found the basket one time.

Rockingham (6-1) will look to stay near the top of the Southeastern Middle School Athletic Conference standings when it hosts Sandy Grove Middle School on Monday. Game time is set for 5 p.m.

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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