Kayla McKinion of Neshoba Central defends against Philadelphia's Yashica Clark during a recent game. Both Neshoba Central and the Lady Tornadoes will be competing in seperate games this Saturday during the Philadelphia Shootout.
Kayla McKinion of Neshoba Central defends against Philadelphia's Yashica Clark during a recent game. Both Neshoba Central and the Lady Tornadoes will be competing in seperate games this Saturday during the Philadelphia Shootout.
The Neshoba Central Rockets are off to one of their best starts in recent years.

But starting Tuesday, both Rocket teams entered their Region 3-5A schedule when they visited Germantown.

Both Neshoba Central teams compete in the early games of the Philadelphia Shootout on Saturday. The Lady Rockets play Noxapater at 10 a.m. while the Rockets take on Northeast Jones at 11:30 a.m. Then it is back to the region schedule as they visit Ridgeland next Tuesday and Canton High School on Jan. 17. The sites then flip as Neshoba Central hosts Germantown on Jan. 21, Ridgeland on Jan. 24, and Canton on Jan. 31.

"This is what we have been playing for," Neshoba Central Boys Coach Jerry Byrd said. "Our first 14 games were to get us ready for these six region games. We play against some very good competition and we'll have to play our best every night."

The Rockets dropped a 76-70 decision to Tupelo on Saturday during the New Hope shootout.

The Rockets led 12-9 after the first quarter.

Both teams scored 18 points during the second quarter and Neshoba Central led 30-27 at the half.

The Gold Wave came on strong in the third quarter, outscoring the Rockets 29-16 during the eight-minute span, and that made the difference. TJ Ben led the Rockets with 28 points while Gary Willis added 18.

The Neshoba Central girls also played in the New Hope shootout and dropped a 59-52 decision to Olive Branch. Olive Branch went up 31-27 at the half and held on for the win. Danisha Marshall and Hannah Williams both led the Lady Rockets with 12 points while Katlyn Duke added 10 points.

"As far as our region schedule is concerned, we are 0-0 and these are the games that will county," Coach Fred Morris said. "We are coming together and playing well as a team."