Rocky Mount Prep’s seven seniors wanted to go out in style.
Wednesday, the last game of the season on the Jaguars’ home court, sure was memorable.
With an introduction from former NBA Rookie of the Year and Rocky Mount High graduate Buck Williams and Rocky Mount Prep’s fourth straight 100-point game, the Jaguars’ 102-28 victory against Durham Kestrel Heights in the Eastern Independent championship game gave a lasting impression.
“It’s the last game at home,” forward Deshawn Freeman said. “Why not leave it on the court here.”
Freeman finished with a game-high 19 points and led a series of dunks.
The array of alley-oops and one-handed and two-handed throwdowns was capped by Freeman’s up-and-under two handed reverse windmill – well worthy of this past weekend’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
“We’re just taking it one step at a time,” Freeman said.
That’s exactly the sentiment coach Don Reams was hoping his team would have despite seven straight wins of 25 points or more.
“Even though you’re winning, and you’re winning big, you know that your execution has to get better,” Reams said. “... If somebody wants to run with us, they’re in for a long night.
“But if somebody is good enough to keep us from running, we have to be patient enough to work the ball.”
Williams’ introduction came as a congratulatory speech for Rocky Mount Prep senior Jacob Barrett, who surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career and was presented with a trophy ball.
“It’s a testament to any player to score 1,000 points,” Williams said. “I don’t care what level you score it on, 1,000 points is a lot of points.”
That’s in the past now, and Rocky Mount Prep is focused on the task at hand.
“Last year, we thought we were going to make it to the (state) championship game,” Barrett said. “But we didn’t. We fell short. We just have to make sure we go our every game. We can’t sleep on any teams, play every game like it’s our last.”
Rocky Mount Prep will play Charlotte Queen City Prep in both boys’ and girls’ action to determine the Independent champion, something the Jaguars have won three consecutive seasons.
“We can’t take (tonight) for granted,” Reams said. “If we lose (tonight), we’re done. We have to stay focused. I reckon that’s why I can’t be satisfied.
“We have unfinished business.”
Rocky Mount Prep 46, Durham Kestral Heights 42
Four games and four wins for Rocky Mount Prep coach Warren Davis, who took over for coach Trey Harrison after the first-year coach injured his patella tendon, and the Jaguars are further in the playoffs than they have ever been.
“We are considered the Eastern Independent champs right now,” Davis said. “That’s great for them. They’ve worked hard, and some of them have been here for four or five years.”
Rocky Mount Prep (7-15) trailed by 16 points at one point in the first half, then after cutting the deficit to three, fell behind by 14 points in the second half.
The Jaguars finally took the lead late in the fourth quarter on a jump shot by Keira Bryant, who was involved in a controversy late in the game.
Bryant was whistled for a foul in the fourth quarter. It appeared to be her fifth foul but was ruled as her third. She then hit a free throw to give the Jaguars a three-point lead before pulling down the game’s final rebound.
Rocky Mount Prep 102
Durham Kestrel Heights 28
DKH 11 9 8 0 – 28
RMP 23 27 30 22 – 28
DKH: Chris Perry (11 points); BJ McCullough (6 points); Quintae Hubbert (5 points); Hason Perry (4 points); Alek Brave (2 points).
RMP: Deshawn Freeman (19 points); Jacob Barrett (18 points); Gary Smith (12 points); Keneen Deberry (12 points); James Bonds (9 points); Aaron Oates (8 points); Donte Samuels (8 points); Markevion Pittman (8 points); Jermaine Jones (2 points); Jared Parker (2 points); Chris Perry (2 points); Alex Lynch (2 points).
Rocky Mount Prep 46
Durham Kestral Heights 42
DKH 13 9 13 7 – 42
RMP 3 13 13 17 – 46
DKH: Ciera Edmonds (19 points); Breyana Wiley (9 points); Amira Archer (6 points); Ryan Wilson (4 points); India Francis (4 points).
RMP: Jasmine Sharpe (18 points); Keira Bryant (16 points); Alyah Moore (8 points); Lori Pittman (4 points).
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or email@example.com