After building a slim lead at the half, Person outscored the Cedar Ridge Red Wolves 35-24 in the second half on the way to a 70-57 victory in the Rockets’ season-opening game.
“We played pretty well for our first game,” said Charles Dacus, head men’s basketball coach at Person High School. “Cedar Ridge went into their fourth game. They played three times last week. They had experienced game pressure, something we hadn’t yet this season.”
While the Rockets had not played in a regular season game before Tuesday, they did participate in a couple of scrimmages: one against Riverside High School, and another against Vance County, who will be one of four participants in the men’s side of this weekend’s Courier-Times Classic.
“We had a lot of energy at the start of the game,” said Dacus. “We had some extra adrenaline, and I think we can attribute that to playing in front of our home crowd. We really played well at the start. Throughout the game, we got out in transition, recording seven or eight dunks. We ran the floor really well as a team. Defensively, we played really well, which got us going and helped us get easy baskets in transition.”
Dre Newman led Person in scoring with 16 points. He was one of nine different Rockets to score, and one of three to score in double-digits. JaSiel Bumphus recorded 13 points, Tae Bailey dropped 11 points, Jaylen Black and Tymaurean Outlaw registered eight points apiece, Kentrayle Holloway, Zion Norwood, and Terrance Thompson notched four points each, and AJ Terrell contributed two points to round out the scoring.
“We got tired in the second quarter,” said Dacus, referencing the fact that Cedar Ridge outscored the Rockets 18-16. “We were only up two at halftime. After that, we settled down and focused on our defensive effort in the second half. We started the third quarter well, maintaining a lad throughout the rest of the game. We settled in, and the first game jitters were no longer.”
Coming off their season-opening win against the Red Wolves, the Rockets started preparing for their opening game of The Courier-Times classic against the Bartlett-Yancey Buccaneers, which was played at 7:30 p.m. inside the Person High School gymnasium. The Bartlett-Yancey game was not over before presstime for this edition.
“Going into Friday, we want to clean up a few things offensively, which is very easy” said Dacus. “We want to shore up some rebounding issues. We want to work on shot selection by trying to get the best possible shot and not taking the first available look.”