Stanback’s free throws lift Rockets past West Hoke in OT

Rockingham coach: ‘Nobody wants to lose’

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

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ROCKINGHAM — Jahaye Stanback hit two free throws with 52 seconds left in overtime to lift top-seeded Rockingham past No. 4 West Hoke, 59-56.

The Rockets will host No. 2 Sandy Grove at 5 p.m. Feb. 12 inside the Rockingham Middle School gymnasium for the Southeastern Middle School Conference championship. The win moves the Rockets’ record to a perfect 12-0 while West Hoke dropped to 8-4.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Rodrick Newton takes on four Roaring Tigers at once for the Rockingham bucket.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Rodrick Newton takes on four Roaring Tigers at once for the Rockingham bucket.

It was a game alright — and a decision that almost went the other way. While everyone enjoys the spirit of competition, the Rockets weren’t unhappy when the Roaring Tigers’ Michael Holliday and Jailen Oaks fouled out in the extra period.

Especially Oaks. He made it clear from the start that if the Rockets were going to win, they’d have to stop him — a task at which they nearly failed.

Even when Oaks wasn’t scoring, he had an impact. Especially with the heat turned up. Tied at 52 points apiece entering overtime, Oaks’ layup put West Hoke on the board first for a 54-52 lead 11 seconds into the frame.

Bobby Terry hit the second of two free throws to pull the Rockets to within 54-43, and his jumper 21 seconds later — with 1:50 to play — gave Rockingham a 55-54 lead.

Enter Oaks. He was responsible for making sure the inbounds pass was received by an open player. Like a quarterback eyeing an open receiver, he nailed it, throwing a perfect spiral to Treontre Baldwin for what appeared to be an easy layup and a 56-55 lead with 62 seconds to go.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Jailen Oaks played the post better than anyone Thursday night in a 59-56 overtime loss to Rockingham.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Jailen Oaks played the post better than anyone Thursday night in a 59-56 overtime loss to Rockingham.

Nine point three seconds later, however, Oaks’ shove sent Stanback to the foul line for the eventual game-winner. He nailed both for a 57-56 lead.

Rockingham coach William Hunter was, like some of his players on the court, in awe at the Roaring Tigers’ No. 31.

“He’s doing things high schoolers can’t even do,” Hunter said. “He’s a pure big man.”

With 2:08 to go in the third quarter and West Hoke clinging to a 33-30 lead, Oaks grabbed the offensive rebound near the top of the key. He took one step towards the basket, but was blocked by Rockingham’s Jake Ransom. So he spun to his right — only to encounter defender Terry. No matter — not for Oaks. He took one smooth step to his left an put up the jumper from a foot inside the free throw line. He missed that particular shot, but the effort was something to watch.

A short time later — with 50.8 seconds to go in the third and West Hoke up 35-33 — Oaks again drove through the lane, right through Ransom and Stanback, for the field goal and a four-point lead.

Hunter credited his team for staying with it.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Jahaye Stanback stretches for two of his seven points.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Jahaye Stanback stretches for two of his seven points.

“Nobody wants to lose,” Hunter said.

For a while, no one was sure either team was going to. Rockingham led 13-10 after the first quarter and the lead changed to West Hoke’s advantage at halftime, 22-20. The Rockets pulled to within a field goal four times in the third quarter but the Roaring Tigers managed to up their lead five points after three periods.

From the outset of the fourth quarter, though, momentum seemed to shift towards the Rockets. Rodrick Newton and Terry led a 6-0 run for a 41-40 Rockingham advantage. But Oaks answered for West Hoke, delivering a sure-fire layup with 4:26 to play in regulation for a 42-21 lead.

Cameron Carraway’s free throw knotted the game 42-42 and D.J. Stephens connected on the Rockets’ only 3-pointer of the game for a 45-42 advantage. Stanback hit the second of two free throw attempts to up it to a four-point game. Terry’s jumper increased the lead to five point, 48-43, with 2:22 to go in regulation.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Bobby Terry in air for the Rockets. Terry finished with 15 points in the win.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Bobby Terry in air for the Rockets. Terry finished with 15 points in the win.

West Hoke scored six of the game’s next eight points, though — including two big buckets from Oaks — to pull within 50-49.  Newton nailed two free throws with 10 seconds on the clock for a 52-49 lead, and the Roaring Tigers still weren’t out.

Instead, they gave the ball to James Grace. Grace finished with five points but hit his team’s biggest field goal when he knocked down a 3-pointer from the left side of the key to knot the score at 52 points apiece and send the game into overtime.

Newton led the Rockets with 19 points, while Terry added 15 points and Stephens and Carraway each finished with nine. Stanback’s evening ended at seven points.

Oaks tallied a game-high 25 points to pace West Hoke while Holliday finished with 16 points.

Click image for larger version.

Click image for larger version.

 

 

 

 

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

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