The first quarter of Saturday’s contest lacked flash, pace and scoring, for that matter.
And it was just the way Northern Nash coach Rick Ruffin wanted things.
Neither team reached double digits during the frame, and although there was more scoring in the second quarter, underdog Northern Nash trailed only by five points at halftime.
Things went awry quickly.
The Knights took quick jumpshots and the Gryphons, who seemingly were waiting all evening to jump out on the fastbreak, began their dominance.
A close game turned into a blowout during the third quarter and early stretches of the fourth quarter as Rocky Mount High overcame a week-long layoff with a 69-44 victory against rival Northern Nash.
“We controlled tempo in the first half, we didn’t take quick shots, we moved the basketball and we tried to manage the clock to make it a low-scoring game,” Ruffin said. “That is what the kids have to understand. We have to control the tempo the whole game. It can’t be for 18 or 19 minutes.”
Rocky Mount’s Immanuel King paced all scorers with 20 points.
During a decisive third quarter, King was active on the boards and the Gryphons (10-5, 3-1) began hitting their shots.
Northern Nash (6-11, 0-4) managed only three field goals in the third quarter.
“We kind of got it together,” King said. “We came out a little rusty. Coach (Mike Gainey) said, ‘Bang a little harder. If they want to fight with you, fight back.’”