Fewer than 11 minutes into the game, Rocky Mount Prep held a 30-point lead.
Seven Jaguars finished in double-digit points.
In the first half, Jaguars center Deshawn Freeman had more dunks than East Wake Academy had made field goals.
Rocky Mount Prep scored 22 more points than the other three teams that played in the gym combined.
All the superlatives came to one conclusion: The Jaguars weren’t playing around in the independent schools’ eastern regional play-in semifinals, setting a school record for points in a 112-28 victory against East Wake Academy on Monday at Rocky Mount Prep.
“This is the first game we’ve played where we lose and we’re done,” Rocky Mount Prep coach Don Reams said. “We wanted to send a message that we’re coming to play, and we’re going to play hard and try to force the tempo.”
Rocky Mount Prep (17-3) did nothing but force the tempo against an overwhelmed and overmatched East Wake (10-14). The Jaguars were running from the opening tip, scoring the first 10 points and holding a 31-7 lead after one quarter.
Then in the second quarter, while already holding a 35-8 lead, Rocky Mount Prep went on a 20-0 run.
The Jaguars’ starting five was replaced by a second five-man unit, and there was no dropoff. Rocky Mount Prep earned whatever shot it wanted and fast-breaked the Eagles to death.
“We had to come in here and do what we had to do,” said Freeman, who scored a game-high 19 points. “Coach told us to come out and give 110 percent, and that’s what we did. We said we wanted them to be one-and-done every time.”
The Eagles scored in single digits in three of the four quarters. By game’s end, an East Wake possession that had a shot attempt was a success.
“I’m telling you, as far as athleticism and length, we haven’t seen anybody in our conference and anybody in the regular season like that,” East Wake coach Deneil Williams said. “... The talent level here just didn’t match up with ours.”
The Jaguars will move on to the eastern play-in finals on Wednesday, when they will play host to the winner of Durham Kestrel Heights and Chapel Hill Woods Charter. Should the Jaguars win that game, they’ll move to the play-in finals against western champion Charlotte Queen City Prep on Thursday.
“We know we have to play every game on the road if we’re fortunate enough to get past this week,” Reams said. “We have to be prepared. We gotta know that when we come to town, we’re going to play.”
RMP 35, CHWC 27
Whether it was from the lead changing in the fourth quarter or coach Warren Davis’ fire-and-brimstone speech, Rocky Mount Prep found motivation in a hurry, overcoming a putrid third quarter against Chapel Hill Woods Charter to win the eastern play-in semifinals.
The Jaguars (6-15) scored two points in the third quarter but rescued a spot in Wednesday’s eastern finals with a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter.
“It’s just a lot of simple things we’re not doing like rebounding and blocking out,” Davis said. “... I’m not happy at all. I think we’re a better team than we showed.”
The two teams combined to shoot 2-for-26 in the third quarter.
Keira Bryant led the Jaguars with 14 points.
Rocky Mount Prep 112
East Wake Academy 28
EWA 7 4 13 4 – 28
RMP 31 27 32 22 – 112
EWA: Terrance McCarthy (11 points); Colin Blank (6 points); Jacob Thomas, Isaiah Rowley (5 points); Brandon Williams (1 point).
RMP: Deshawn Freeman (19 points); Trinyal Sumler (17 points); Donte Samuels (16 points); James Bonds (14 points)Jacob Barrett, Gary Smith, Keneen Deberry (10 points); Aaron Oates, Markevion Pittman (6 points); Jermaine Jones, Jared Parker (2 points).
Rocky Mount Prep 35
Chapel Hill Woods Charter 27
WC 7 6 3 11 – 27
RMP 8 10 2 15 – 35
WC: Victoria Martin (11 points); Erin Durham, Angel Lewis, Diana Royer (4 points); Martha Farrell (2 points); Mary Rose Hall, Niamh Cahill-Billings (1 point).
RMP: Keira Bryant (14 points); Jasmine Sharpe (13 points); Danita Smith (6 points); Loria Pittman (2 points).
Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or npiotrowicz@