If Rocky Mount Academy is to accomplish its goal of back-to-back EPIC regular season championships, there are games that the Eagles have to win and ones they should win.
They had one of the latter Tuesday night against Halifax Academy.
Rocky Mount Academy took care of business early, its starters didn’t play in the second quarter and only sparingly in the fourth, on the way to a 59-37 victory at Rocky Mount Academy.
“The first squad did what they were supposed to do,” coach William Harrison said. “They executed to a T.”
Rocky Mount Academy (10-3, 4-2 EPIC) raced out to an early lead as Dillon Crawford scored nine points and Will Fulcher added another six points in the first quarter alone.
The Eagles’ zone was crisp, and they were able to create turnovers for easy baskets. Six of the eight field goals in the first quarter were made in the paint.
“We take these games to build,” said Crawford, who finished with a game-high 18 points. “We are always trying to build and strive for that championship. These are the games we need to execute, so we get it right for the big games.”
The Eagles had to be crisp because one of those must-win games is coming Friday night.
On Friday, Rocky Mount Academy plays host to Kinston Parrott Academy, which the Eagles lost to in early December by just five points.
The Eagles only other conference loss was a 2-point defeat last Friday against Raleigh Grace Christian when Fulcher’s 3-pointer missed at the buzzer.
“In spurts it was good,” Crawford said of the Eagles’ play Tuesday. “We still have some things to work on because we have a big game Friday. We’ll get it worked on in practice.”
Halifax Academy 69, Rocky Mount Academy 46
Winners of seven of the past eight before Tuesday night, the Rocky Mount Academy Eagles were anything but what their recent history had shown.
The Eagles (7-6, 4-3) were disorganized from the opening tip and unable to hold on to the ball for much of the game.
“We were just out of sync (Tuesday),” coach Warren Bridgers said. “I don’t know if it was their defense or their height that intimidated us a bit. ... We were just a step slow.”
Rocky Mount Academy committed a season-high in turnovers according to Bridgers and was dominated inside by Halifax Academy’s Kelly Williams.
Standing 6-foot-2, Williams scored 31 points and all 11 of the Vikings’ points in the fourth quarter.
Rocky Mount Academy 59
Halifax Academy 37
HA 7 10 11 9 – 37
RMA 23 10 13 12 – 59
HA: Garrett Morris (15 points); Holden Strickland (8 points); Brandon Woody (5 points); Austin Starnes (4 points); Logan Slaver (3 points).
RMA: Dillon Crawford (18 points); Will Fulcher (11 points); Adam Bayless (6 points); Gibson Russell (6 points); Ford Jolley (5 points); Grimes Clark (4 points); Steven Sin (4 points); Jacob Hunter (2 points); John Harvey (2 points); Delano Miller (1 point).
Halifax Academy 69
Rocky Mount Academy 46
HA 22 13 23 11 – 69
RMA 14 6 13 13 – 46
HA: Kelly Williams (31 points); Hayley Wood (12 points); Ryanne Hillard (8 points); Jamie Harris (7 points); Anna Glover (7 points); Emily Conner (2 points); Stacy Morgan (2 points).
RMA: Emily Ferguson (14 points); AnnClaire Roberson (8 points); Catherine Coats (6 points); Stephanie Lossau (6 points); Carolyn Boddie (6 points); Katie Gutshall (6 points).
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org