NC wraps up second in region
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 12:00 AM
Both Neshoba Central basketball teams have wrapped up second place in the Region 3-5A standings and are looking toward the region tournament to be held at Ridgeland starting later this month.
"This has been a long time coming," Coach Jerry Byrd said. "It has been a long time since Neshoba Central finished the season in second place in the region standings. But we have worked hard and we have done it."
The Rockets went 2-0 last week as they wrapped up their region schedule with a 76-51 victory over Canton High School last Friday. They then wrapped up the week with an 80-70 win over Choctaw Central. The Neshoba Central boys stand at 16-6 overall and 3-3 in the region standings.
The Neshoba Central girls went 0-2 last week as they dropped two close games. They fell 34-33 against Canton, and 48-46 against Choctaw Central. Still, the Lady Rockets finished 3-3 in the region standings and stand at 10-9 overall.
The Rocket teams will be off this week. Next week, they play host to Northeast Lauderdale on Tuesday and host the Philadelphia Tornadoes on Saturday.
Byrd pointed to his two senior leaders, Grant Willis and Dylan Spears, as the key for the Rockets' success.
"I can't say enough about these two players," Byrd said. "We are a young team, made up mostly of ninth graders and sophomore who are playing on the Class 5A level. Our seniors keep us focused and accountable."
The Rockets' game with Canton was close through the first half. Neshoba Central led 12-7 after the first quarter. But the Tigers came back to outscore the Rockets 21-17 in the second quarter.
Leading 29-28 at the half, the Rockets came back to outscore Canton 18-7 in the third quarter. Neshoba Central carried a 47-34 lead into the final quarter. They would outscore Canton 23-13 in the final eight minutes to claim the win. TJ Benn led the Rockets with 18 points while Grant Willis added 17 points, Gary Willis 15, and Chayton York 14.
On Saturday, the Rockets led 19-11 after the first quarter in their game with Choctaw Central. Neshoba Central had a 23-20 scoring edge in the second quarter and led 42-31 at the half. The Rockets would extend their lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Warriors 24-16 during the eight-minute span. And then they held on for the victory. Benn led with 24 points while Gary Willis scored 17 points and Grant Willis and York both scored 13.
The Canton girls hit their free throws down the line and that would be the difference in a 34-33 decision over Neshoba Central.
The score was tied at 6-6 after the first quarter. Canton outscored the Lady Rockets 11-8 in the second quarter and led 17-14 at the half.
Neshoba Central would outscore the Lady Tigers 11-5 in the third quarter and trailed by one - 26-25 - going into the final quarter. Both teams scored eight points in the final eight minutes of play and Canton held on for the win. Katlyn Duke led the Lady Rockets with 15 points.
Choctaw Central led 9-7 after first quarter and that would be the difference as the game was evenly played the rest of the way. Hannah Williams and Danisha Marshall both scored 10 points to lead the Lady Rockets.