Five key moments in Rocky Mount Prep's season-ending regional loss

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Rocky Mount Prep's Kalil Baker, left, drives to the basket as Pamlico County's George Jones, right, and Quishaen Murray defend Saturday during the NCHSAA Eastern Regional 1-A game at Capel Arena in Fayetteville.


Sports Writers

Saturday, March 3, 2018

FAYETTEVILLE — The Rocky Mount Prep boys’ basketball team lost, 82-57, to Pamlico County in the East Regional of the 1-A playoffs on Saturday. 

It was the first loss of the season for the 25-1 Jaguars. The Hurricanes will face Winston-Salem Prep in the state championship game on March 10.

Here are five key moments that shaped Saturday’s outcome. 

Rocky Mount Prep’s hot start

For the first quarter, and into the second quarter, it looked like business as usual for the Jaguars, whose frenetic defense forced Pamlico County into numerous turnovers that culminated in a 10-point lead a minute into the second period. The hot start and early lead was, for the most part, fueled by RMP’s three role players, who scored 10 of the Jaguars’ first 14 points.

Pamlico battles back

Pamlico County’s girls’ basketball team played and won in Capel Arena right before the boys took on the Jaguars, which might have contributed to a noisy and sizable crowd for the Hurricanes. They were certainly doing their part during a 13-2 mid-second quarter run that flipped the game from RMP leading 21-11 to the Hurricanes taking a 24-23 lead.

Baker’s fourth foul

On the very first possession of the second half, Kalil Baker drove into the paint from the left wing and picked up a charge, his fourth foul of the game. He never picked up a fifth, but played the final 15 minutes of the game tentatively on defense, so as not to foul out of the game. The Hurricanes, specifically Lamont Murray, who scored 20 points, made it a point to drive at the standoffish Baker.

A fighting chance

For as careful as Baker was on defense while playing with four fouls, the senior was fearless with the ball in his hands. He scored 12 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, and for stretches was the only source of offense for the Jaguars. Baker scored eight points in the final 3:23 of the third quarter, driving to the basket and finishing in traffic to keep the score close.

Pamlico County goes for the kill

Though the Jaguars hung around, finding themselves as close as five points with five minutes left, they carried with them the persona of a fighter on his last legs. The Hurricanes went for the definitive kill with three minutes left, ending the game on an 18-0 avalanche characterized by a string of several straight defensive breakdowns for RMP.