‘Our plan is to win’

Top-seeded Rockets swarm Anson in semifinal, land spot in title game

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Photo gallery – More than 600 images!

ROCKINGHAM — Keionna Love took the ball from the referee and stood at the free throw line.

Then she smiled. And she had every reason to do so, as her top-seeded Rockingham Rockets overwhelmed visiting Anson and by a 39-20 victory earned a spot in next week’s Southeastern Middle School Conference championship game.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Ralayah McCrae scored 13 of her game-high 15 points in the first half to stake Rockingham to a 22-4 halftime lead.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Ralayah McCrae scored 13 of her game-high 15 points in the first half to stake Rockingham to a 22-4 halftime lead.

The game will tip off at 4 p.m. on Feb. 12 inside the Rockets gymnasium against No. 2 West Hoke, which beat No. 3 Hamlet in another Thursday matchup. Rockingham improved to 12-0 on the season while No. 4 Anson dropped to 9-3.

Love went 5-for-6 from the charity strip in the fourth quarter to seal Rockingham’s victory.

While Anson was able to get Ralayah McCrae in foul trouble early, the game was rarely in doubt. And if there was any, the Rockets erased any remaining in a 12-1 second-quarter run that upped their lead to 22-5 at intermission.

Anson coach Chandra Allen said her Bearcats were able to hang, albeit slightly, with the Rockets through  first quarter as Rockingham was forced to back off its pressure defense. The Rockets led 10-4 after the first six minutes. Then Rockingham got its groove back.

While McCrae was in foul trouble, “we pulled back on pressure (defense),” Rockingham coach Theresa Mason said. “This changed our game plan a little.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Allexis Swiney and the rest of the Rockets' smothering defense was just too much for Anson.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Allexis Swiney and the rest of the Rockets’ smothering defense was just too much for Anson.

But not enough to keep Anson as a viable contender for more than the first quarter. McCrae got things started early in the second quarter with an easy jumper for a 12-4 lead, then another 18 seconds later for a 14-4 advantage. The Bearcats’ Revie Byars hit her only free throw of the game to pull Anson within 14-5.

Then the route was on, and McCrae and Allexis Swiney closed out the scoring in the first half for Rockingham, including McCrae’s three-point play on the bucket, foul and free throw.

McCrae led all scorers with 15 points. Swiney added 12 points while Taliah Wall and Love each chipped in with five points in the win. Emily Parsons tacked on two points for good measure.

Destiny Robinson led Anson with 11 points.

“Our plan is to win,” Mason said. “Ultimately, that should be everybody’s plan. That won’t change next week.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The Rockets' Savannah Lampley puts the pressure on the defensive side of the ball.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The Rockets’ Savannah Lampley puts the pressure on the defensive side of the ball.

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Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, Rockingham, Sports

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