Rocky Mount picked up two meaningful Big East 3A Conference victories against visiting Hunt on Monday night to kick off a three-game week for both the boys and girls basketball teams.
The Gryphons’ boys teams held off Hunt 67-64, while the girls used a big fourth-quarter push to earn a 66-49 victory.
The win by coach Pam Gainey’s girls team keeps Rocky Mount (11-2, 4-0), ranked No. 21 in The N&O area entering the week, atop the conference. No. 18 Hunt (14-3, 2-2) falls to third.
Rocky Mount got 35 points and 15 rebounds from senior post player Keyanna Spivey (17 of 24 from the free-throw line), while guard Michelle Gainey added 20 points and eight rebounds.
Never miss a local story.
“She’s always leading by example,” coach Pam Gainey said of Spivey. “You’re going to get pretty much the same effort from her every night.”
Hunt and Rocky Mount were tied at 41-all entering the final period, but the Warriors went minutes without getting a clean look at the basket while the Gryphons buried most of their free throws.
The Gryphons shot 30 of 45 free throws on the night, while Hunt was 11 of 25.
The night got off to an odd start – both teams were assesed technical fouls before the game for different reasons.
Hunt was given one for a delay of game. The scorekeeper was not present at tip time, which is 6 p.m. at Rocky Mount, because she hadn’t yet made it back from the JV game in the auxillary gym. All other Big East schools play their games in back-to-back-to-back-to-back “quads” with the varsity girls tipping off at approximately 6:30 p.m.
First-year coach Tiffany Parks did not know about the scheduling at Rocky Mount.
“It was kind of a bad start from the get-go,” Parks said.
After Rocky Mount shot its technical free throws (making 1 of 2), Rocky Mount was given a technical for a player’s undershirt. The white undershirt matched the jersey color, but it had a black Under Armour logo underneath the collar. The rule is that if there is one visible logo (and it can’t be more than one) it must be the same color as the shirt.
Rules for uniforms have been a point of emphasis by the National Federation of High Schools this year.
Hunt made 1 of 2 free throws and the game was underway soon after. With no time off the clock, each team had a point.
Both boys’ teams struggled shooting for most of the night – it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Rocky Mount (6-7, 2-2) topped the 40 percent mark (42.9), and Hunt shot 37.3 for the game. The win keeps the Gryphons in third place and closer to a .500 overall winning percentage, which is likely needed to make the playoffs as an at-large team.
Rocky Mount got 27 points from Joseph Blue while Shyeim Battle and Spencer Ramsey each had 14.
“Once we start making the high-percentage shots, everything else falls into place,” boys’ coach Michael Gainey said. “Defense is our biggest pet peeve right now. We’ve got to get better on that.”
For Hunt (4-13, 1-3), Jeremiah Ganaway had a team-high 21 points off the bench. K.J. Jones added 16 while connecting on 4 of 9 from behind the arc, and Michael Ellis had 11.